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The Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall has sued Courtney Benn Contracting Services and CARICOM General Insurance Company for over $400M over the construction company’s alleged failure to reconstruct the St. Roses High School in keeping with the specified timeframe.
In the court documents, seen by Village Voice News, the Attorney General said in August, 2020, approximately two years after the contract was signed, it was revealed that less than 10 percent of the project had been completed.
“In August 2020, upon the request of the Ministry of Education, the Project Manager [Ron Eastman] did an assessment of all the words done by the First named Defendant under the Contract and concluded in breach of the said Contract and the Work Execution Schedule, the First named Defendant had only executed a total of nine percent (9%) of the whole works after a period of approximately nine (9) months elapsed,” Minister Nandlall explained.
He said based on the Project Manager’s report, all Courtney Benn Contracting Services did, during the nine month period, was to drive piles into the earth at the school’s location on Church Street, Georgetown.
It was explained that on August 18, 2018, the contracting company entered an agreement with the Education Ministry for the reconstruction of the High School at a fixed contract sum of $352.7M, however, on December 23, 2019, the agreement was amended to increase the contract sum by $59.5M to facilitate the cost for the construction of the Deep Foundation works, which included the driving of 224 timber piles and preparation of the reconstruction site by the company.
The Addendum amended Clause 34 of the Special Conditions of the Contract (SCC) allowed for the 15% mobilization advance to be increased to 20%, and such, the contractor was paid an additional $29.5M. In totally, Courtney Benn Contracting Services received $118.7M in advanced payment from the Education Ministry.
Giving the amendments, the contract was extended for a period of 20 months, and the new deadline was set as August 23, 2021. Though there is approximately seven month before the deadline, the Attorney General is contending that the contractor breached the agreement when he failed to complete the various stages on time and in keeping with an established scheduled.
He is therefore claiming damages in excess of $100M for breach of the contract, $41.2M as liquidated damages, another $105.8M due, owing payable by the contractor under the performance bond issued to the insurance company and $100M for aggravated damages.
The Attorney General is also seen an Order of Restitution from Courtney Benn Contracting Services in the sum of $67.3M, for the advanced payment made by the Education Ministry.
Alternatively, he wants an Order of Restitution against the insurance company for all monies owning on the Advance Guarantee and Performance Bond to the Government.