Sat | Dec 16, 2017

More delays hit Falmouth's Tax Administration building

Published:Wednesday | November 29, 2017 | 12:00 AMLeon Jackson
Haughton

WESTERN BUREAU:

Despite an initial assurance that the new $136-million Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) building that is under construction in Falmouth, Trelawny, would have been completed by the end of August, it is now clear that it will not be ready before next year, based on a request for an extension by the contractors.

A source close to the project recently told The Gleaner that when officials of the TAJ inspected the building last month, it was discovered that the building, which was designed in accordance with Falmouth's designation as a National Heritage Trust site, had a number of glaring flaws.

"TAJ is refusing to take over the building," the source said. "They are arguing that accepting the building in its current state would mean that the responsibility of correcting the flaws would fall on them."

Meris Haughton, chief corporate communications officer at the TAJ, had promised to get an official statement from the organisation's's management. However, several weeks have elapsed, and still no statement.

 

THREE-MONTH EXTENSION

 

When ground was broken for the project in April, the public was told that the building would be completed by August. The date was subsequently shifted to October because of the slow pace of the work.

With the TAJ refusing to accept the building with the flaws observed, the contractor asked to be given a three-month extension, which was granted. It now means the project will continue into next year.

The delay has not gone down well with businessman Richard Shirley, a prominent stakeholder in Falmouth. He is of the view that contractors should be penalised when they fail to meet deadlines.

"Until our contractors are made to pay for missed deadlines, they will continue to pay scant respect to agreed and signed contracts," said Shirley.

Falmouth's mayor, Councillor Collen Gager, said the challenge being faced by the contractor has nothing to do with the Trelawny Municipal Corporation, whose responsibilities do not extend beyond the approval of the plans and ensuring that requisite building standards are followed.

Once the new building is completed to the satisfaction of the TAJ, it will move operations from the rental on King Street to the new location, which is on Cornwall Street.