Dump bid winner: We got scrapped

The company that originally won a multimillion dollar government contract for waste management at the George Town landfill is suing the Cayman Islands government, seeking to overturn a subsequent move to award the bid to another firm.

Wheelabrator Technologies Inc., which won a 2010 Central Tenders Committee recommendation for waste management and waste-to-energy engineering in the Cayman Islands, on Thursday challenged in Grand Court a June 2011 decision by then-Premier McKeeva Bush to circumvent the group and award the bid to the Dart group’s DECCO engineering company.

Naming the Queen, the attorney general, the Ministry of District Administration and the premier, Wheelabrator partner Peter Campbell, through attorney H. Phillip Ebanks, petitioned the court to mandate a judicial review of the move, seeking a new tender for waste-management services. The application for judicial review also seeks a declaration that the choice of Dart, its DECCO engineering company and the ForCayman Investment Alliance was illegal, as well as the awarding of unspecified damages and “other relief as this Honourable
Court thinks fit”.

If successful, the application could overturn the Dart group’s designation to both remediate the George Town landfill and build a waste-management facility in Midland Acres, just east of Bodden Town.

Reviewing the background for the lawsuit, Wheelabrator detailed its response to the original 2010 “request for proposals” by the ministry and the Department of Environmental Health. The tender sought “firms to build, design, finance, construct, own and operate a comprehensive solid waste disposal management and waste-to-energy facility”, managing all solid waste for up to 25 years on all three of the Cayman Islands.

The Central Tenders Committee, the suit states, recommended on 17 December, 2010, that negotiations should open with Wheelabrator Technologies Inc.

Dart’s engineering company, DECCO, the suit states, also responded to the request, but “its proposal was ranked either last or second-to-last” by the tenders committee from a list of at least eight bidders.

Despite the committee’s verdict, government opened negotiations with DECCO, awarding the contract to the company six months later, in June 2011.

The decision, described in court documents as “unlawful, ultra vires and illegal”, should be set aside because government “failed to comply with the 2010 Financial Regulations and the Public Management and Finance Law”, which stipulate that any local procurement ensures prices and quality are at least equivalent to any overseas’ bids, and that “the successful bidder shall be selected in accordance with the specified criteria”.

Wheelabrator, the suit claims, had a “legitimate expectation” following its selection by the Central Tenders Committee that it would be “permitted to negotiate in good faith for the award of the contract.

The decision to involve the ForCayman Investment Alliance was “unlawful”, the suit states, “because the decision-maker failed to take into account, as he or she was required to, that the provisions” of the law “had not been complied with” and that government, was in breach of those regulations.

Wheelabrator expressly avoids allegations of corruption, although saying such conduct by government could spark suspicions.

Finally, the suit says, Wheelabrator had delayed Thursday’s motion because of sporadic media reports and inconsistent government details regarding the date of the Dart/DECCO award, while correspondence with the attorney general, never formally closed, had informed his chambers of the ongoing situation.
 

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14 COMMENTS

  1. Will someone please explain what the hell was going on in this place and what is still going on.
    Before I could not understand why there was a split with the government in December, but now I see I was also thinking that the PPM had made a big mess in 05 to 09 but the UDP was just as bad. Both UDP and PPM need to step aside this election. There is too much mixed up underhanded undermining works in their pots.

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  2. Funny how so much comes up during the election season…It does seem strange that if they had a case it’s just now being pursued..

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  3. Dart owns Cayman Islands. Caymanians will soon be called Dartians. It’s a shame that one individual/company/group has been given unparalleled authority to ruin the islands in the name of development. Dart has no doubt invested a lot of money and created a lot of jobs but at a huge cost to the natural beauty of the islands. Soon we’ll have many more hotels but no beach left. Dart will in the near future be crowned the king of the Cayman Islands.

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  4. @sidk nice thinking, I doubt dart is thinking about being the ruler or king. Remember we only live once I hope Dart is able to fill his dreams. I am sure you prefer smokepots and kerosene lamps. You should be grateful he is willing to waste his money. Give me a brake Dart can go anywhere in the world he wants.
    Without Dart your island would of been busted long ago.

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  5. I get what you’re saying SidK but I’d say it’s more of a shame that so many sold off all their family owned land to the highest bidder for the almighty dollar. Make no mistake about it this is why Dart owns so much. All of Cayman was once own by Caymanians who thought they found a bunch of foreign suckers to buy their land which they looked at as useless swamp and sand covered land if they could farm it. If they had vision and built small resorts, cottages or Bed and Breakfasts instead of selling out to huge developers, they as well as their offspring would be reaping the rewards today. And if this type of tradition had keep up over the years the landscape of Cayman would be much different than it is today. But it’s too late for that now because the landscape of Cayman has changed and now it’s more of a Metropolitan Island than Tropical Island, with high 10 Story Hotels instead of B and B’s at least in the GT SMB Area sand on the beach is imported and the majority of Mangroves have been replaced by high tech Seawalls, not that it still isn’t beautiful but it has changed. Knowing this you can either sit around and reminisce about how things used to be and wither away while the world passes you by or realize the times you’re in and make moves to position yourself to excel in the these changing times. There is still plenty of land in Cayman not owned by Dart and with new business coming in as well as the changing landscape people should take advantage of this buyer’s market and invest into their own little part of Cayman before there’s nothing left to buy or it’s just gotten way to expensive.

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  6. Of course Dart got the bid for the contract for the dump . It would have been very interesting to have been a fly on the wall when he and McKeeva met up. Wonder what other surprises are in store.

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  7. NJ2Cay – What you are missing is that Caymanians did not have the capital to make those developments on their land. It was not about thinking foreigners were suckers for buying the land; at that point they were in survival mode. They needed farm land far more than beach land or swamp.

    Actually, it is quite the opposite: many foreigners would have considered Caymanians suckers for selling it so cheaply.

    It is very easy to make judgements about others when you are not in their circumstances.

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  8. Good point speaker, I didn’t look at it that way. Makes since, they would have been much better off starting partnerships with them or leasing the land. But I guess that probably wasn’t put on the table at the time.

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  9. speaker
    You make good points. But many Caymanians did have the capital to invest in supermarkets, home improvement businesses, restaurants etc.
    Beach land was considered to be so worthless that it was only good for cemeteries and Sunday outings, not for home building.

    As to the main point of the article,something stinks about the taking away of the contract from the original bid winner.

    A friend of mine is in business in Cambodia. His lawyer told him that he could get him a driving license without any need to pass a test.
    My friend said, but what if I have an accident and kill someone. The lawyer said that it would not be a problem unless it was someone wealthy or well connected.
    He still refused the driving license.

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  10. Question regarding the tendering process. Is the government legally bound to deal with the winning bidder no matter who it is? For example if a company placed a bid that was far better then everyone else’s but was known for shoddy work or failure to complete projects is the CIG still supposed to deal with them because of the process..

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  11. Can we have a ‘driving test’ for MLA’s and Ministers so they can show that they know how to run the country.

    This is going to be costly, both financially and in terms of reputation, and yet is far from an isolated incident (Tom Jones and the Schools project).

    The tendering process has a twofold purpose;-

    – To ensure that the people of Cayman get the best value for (government i.e. Taxpayer) money.

    – To provide an open and accountable process which protects the Ministers and Government from suggestions of impropriety.

    The Cruise terminal is another example of the consequences of failing to follow the process.

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