Used Car Contract for JCF Embroiled in Controversy

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The controversial contract for the procurement of 200 used cars for the Jamaica Constabulary Force is under more scrutiny.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Dianne McIntosh today told a meeting of Parliament’s Public Administration and Appropriations Committee, PAAC, that only 30 of the 200 vehicles have been delivered.

She also revealed that the Ministry may start a new tender process for the delivery of the outstanding vehicles.

And Nationwide News understands that the matter is now being investigated by Contractor General, Dirk Harrison.

The contract — valued at just under $427-million — was awarded to O’Brien’s International in January of this year with a deposit of 50-percent already paid over.

However, to date, after receiving almost $213-million, only 30 of the vehicles have been delivered with another 50 awaiting clearance from customs.

This is months after the due date for the vehicles to be delivered. The PAAC heard that the suppliers, O’Brien’s, have been granted two extensions of the delivery date.

PAAC member Mikael Phillips described the entire episode as messy.

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According to Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Dianne McIntosh, O’Brien’s International cited issues with sourcing, procuring and clearing the vehicles for its failure to deliver the vehicles.

PAAC Chairman, Dr. Wykeham McNeil, was shocked to hear that O’Brien’s inadvertently left-out the various charges required to clear the vehicles from their final bid document.

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According to Ms. McIntosh, O’Brien’s says it’s unable to absorb the charges and asked for a waiver from the Finance Ministry to clear the 50 vehicles now at the wharf. But the Finance Ministry refused the request. According to her, the National Security Ministry was told that it’s liable for the taxes.

However, Mrs. Macintosh is contesting this. She argues that it’s stipulated in O’Brien’s contract that they pay all duties and charges.

The Ministry of National Security is to seek advice from the Attorney General on the matter. Contractor General, Dirk Harrison, has also requested all documents relating to the contract.

Dr. McNeill is also advising the Security Ministry not to make another payment to O’Brien’s until the Attorney General has reviewed the matter.

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Ms. McIntosh says another public tender process may be opened for the remaining vehicles.

Meanwhile, Members of the PAAC were incensed to hear that requirements under the contract were adjusted without it being returned to public tender.

Director of Procurement for the Ministry of National Security, Milton Morrison, told the PAAC the requirement for the vehicles not to have a continuously variable transmission system was changed after the initial public tender.

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This means that only those entities who submitted initial bids would’ve been aware of the adjustment.

PAAC Chairman Dr. Wykeham Mcneill argued this was unfair to others who may have had an interest.

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Meanwhile, former National Security Minister, Peter Bunting says his successor, Robert Montague, should be held accountable for the failure of O’Brien’s Car Rentals to execute the terms of its contract.

Earlier this year, Bunting clashed with National Security Minister Robert Montague in the House of Representatives about the contract given to O’Brien’s.

He questioned the company’s capacity and cautioned the Security Minister that due process had not been followed before the contract was issued.

Mr. Bunting says he’s not surprised at the update given to the PAAC today.

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Mr. Bunting says the failure of O’Brien’s to quickly execute the terms of its contract has had consequences.

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Peter Bunting was speaking today on behalf of Opposition Spokesman on National Security, Fitz Jackson, who’s off the island.

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