TRANSPORT MINISTER Mike Henry yesterday launched a broadside at the Office of the Contractor General (OCG) saying the agency was attempting to derail the Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme (JDIP).
Henry, who is also chairman of the governing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), said the OCG was manipulative and misleading in its publication of information about the JDIP.
The Greg Christie-led entity had issued a release earlier in the day stating: "One of the critical issues which is of prime concern to the OCG, regarding the JDIP, is that it represents the first occasion in the history of Jamaica that a major roadworks rehabilitation contract of this value and magnitude has been awarded by the Government of Jamaica to a single contracting entity, CHEC (China Harbour Engineering Company), and has been so awarded without competition."
CHEC is the main contractor on the JDIP and will execute the US$400-million infrastructure programme, which is intended to deal with the country's roads and bridges.
Yesterday, Henry said: "The nation's road infrastructure is now benefiting from this programme after almost 20 years of neglect in terms of rehabilitation and maintenance, and no attempt at sidetracking the programme, even with tacit support from a state agency like the OCG, should be allowed to succeed."
The OCG released a list of 15 subcontractors that have so far been engaged by CHEC to execute a total of 49 works projects, valuing $14.4 billion, in the first two years of the five-year JDIP.
75% to five companies
It shows that five of the 15 companies have so far amassed 75 per cent of the contracts under the programme. YP Seaton and Associates has received 26 per cent of the contracts, valued at $3.7 billion.
Build Rite Construction ($2.1 billion), Rogers Land Development ($1.7 billion), Dwights Construction ($1.6 billion), Alcar Construction & Haulage ($1.5 billion) and Asphaltic Concrete Enterprise ($1.1 billion) are the companies to have been awarded more than $1 billion in contracts.
Dr Wykeham McNeill, chairman of Parliament's Public Administration and Appropriations Committee, said the publication of the information by the OCG represented a victory for transparency.
"The fact that we have got the list of subcontractors is a good move," McNeill told The Gleaner.
"Once you have openness and transparency, half of your battle is won because once people know what is happening, it makes for better governance."
Shifting JDIP contract costs
The Office of the Contractor General yesterday released information under the Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme (JDIP) which sets out a half a billion dollar variation in contracts totalling $14 billion.
China Harbour Engineering Company Limited, which is the sole contractor for the US$400-million JDIP, has subcontracted much of the work to local contractors.