Tue | Dec 12, 2017

JUTC head says he will not resign, despite opposition pressure

Published:Thursday | October 26, 2017 | 12:00 AMEdmond Campbell
Paul Abrahams, managing director, Jamaica Urban Transit Company.

The management of the Jamaica Urban Transit Company Limited (JUTC) is brushing aside calls by the Opposition People's National Party (PNP) for the resignation of the board of directors and the managing director, Paul Abrahams.

Opposition Spokesman on Transport Mikael Phillips yesterday accused the JUTC of breaching procurement guidelines in the awarding of a contract valued in excess of $50 million to a company in which the brother of a member of the board has an interest. He claimed that the board member is also chairman of the finance committee.

According to the opposition spokesman, the contract was awarded to Millennium Security Limited (MSL) to provide services in property loss and recovery assessment, accident investigation, and damage assessment. He said that it also covered services in disciplinary hearings for all worker- and workplace-related infractions.

Phillips said that the company was paid a deposit for the first year of the contract. He called on the contractor general to launch an investigation into the matter.

 

NO CONTRACT

 

The opposition spokesman also called on Transport Minister Mike Henry to disclose whether the contract had been taken to Cabinet for its consideration and approval.

However, in his response, Abrahams said that the company had no current contract with Millennium Security Limited.

"We wish to make it pellucidly clear that there is no current contract with MSL. Whatever is being alluded to by the opposition spokesman does not exist. There is no contract. Neither is MSL providing any security services to the JUTC," the bus company said in a statement yesterday.

"We entered into discussions with MSL, who submitted a proposal, which was presented to the board for review. We wish to make it clear that when the matter was being discussed, director Clement Ellington recused himself from these discussions. The board subsequently gave management approval to engage Millennium under a six-month pilot project."

It was not clear when the pilot project commenced or how much was paid to MSL for its services.

The JUTC further divulged that during the internal preparations to engage MSL, it was observed that the value of the proposed services would fall within the parameters that required competitive tender. The process was halted, and the company, by way of publication in The Gleaner (October 21, 2017) and The Observer (October 24, 2017), invited interested persons to submit bids.

Additionally, the JUTC noted that during discussions regarding accident investigations, there was an agreement with MSL to provide additional security services on a temporary pilot basis to protect spare parts, which appeared to vanish from the company from time to time. It said that the service was only temporary and came to an end on September 20, 2017. It said that an invitation to tender has been published for additional security services.

edmond.campbell@gleanerjm.com