Mon | Sep 24, 2018

WMC municipal building contract terminated

Published:Saturday | September 15, 2018 | 12:00 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer
McKenzie

WESTERN BUREAU:

The Westmoreland Municipal Corporation (WMC) will have to finance the completion of its new multimillion-dollar municipal building as the Government has terminated the contract with NR Diaram Construction Company after the company missed several deadlines.

The contract to construct the municipal building, which is valued at $78.4 million, was signed between the Ministry of Local Government and the principals of NR Diaram Construction Company in 2015.

"What I do know is that a decision was taken to terminate the contract and that the completion of the building should be undertaken by the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation," said Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie in a recent interview with The Gleaner.

MISSED DEADLINES

"The building should have been completed more than a year and a half ago," said McKenzie, who noted that the protracted delays were unacceptable. "They (the WMC) have been having challenges with the contractor. There have been several meetings that we have had with the contractor."

According to McKenzie, the contractor has failed to meet certain deadlines. He said that almost every commitment that they made has been reneged on. "There is also a commitment that I have given that it will not cost the ministry one cent more than what was already allocated for it."

The unfinished building, which is located at the intersection of Murray and Great Georges Streets in Savanna-la-Mar, is expected to be completed by the end of November this year.

In May of this year, NR Diaram Construction Company wrote to the WMC requesting a further extension of 80 working days, from May 14 to August 31, after it had missed its original deadline of November 2017. The company said that the absence of an adequate cash flow, late delivery of electrical and other materials, coupled with a terminally ill contractor, are among the myriad challenges that contributed to the delays in completing the project.

McKenzie said that he plans to meet with the leadership and officers of the WMC later this month to work out the details on how they can advance the work to complete the construction of the building.