National Security Minister, Robert Montague, says his ministry will be meeting with O’Brien’s International tomorrow in an attempt to negotiate the payment of taxes on 66 used vehicles for the Constabulary Force.
The vehicles are still on the wharf. They’re a portion of the 200 vehicles which were to be delivered to the JCF earlier this year.
Minister Montague is maintaining that the government will not break procurement guidelines or pay the duties using taxpayers’ money.
The National Security Minister says he’ll not rush to cancel the contract because it will cost taxpayers.
He has instead invited the contractor, O’Brien’s International, to a meeting in an effort to resolve the matter.
O’Brien’s International was contracted earlier this year to provide two-hundred used vehicles for the JCF.
However, months later and after two extensions only 30 of the vehicles have been delivered.
The scandal has drawn sharp criticism from both the Opposition PNP, civil society and the private sector.
The PNP –which has criticized the Minister for not doing enough due diligence– is urging the Security Ministry to cancel the contract and take the matter to court.
But, Minister Montague who has admitted that O’Brien’s bungled the contract says he’s learned a valuable lesson from the matter — ‘Do not extend contracts’.
And, the Minister, who’s also Chairman of the governing Jamaica Labour Party, says the owner of O’Brien’s International Clement Ebanks got no favours from him.
Mr. Ebanks has admitted to being a supporter of the JLP.
Meanwhile, the Minister says despite the problems with the contract the policy of providing used cars for the JCF will continue.