Knightsman Security Limited has sued the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC) for nearly $14 million in unpaid security services at the Pechon Street and Water Lane terminals from January 2011 to June of that year.
Anton Young, executive chairman at Knightsman, in a series of letters, detailed his frustration with the city's council in seeking to collect $13,729,738 for services provided at the aforementioned locations, but admittedly, without a binding contract with the KSAC.
In the letters, Young said taking the matter to court was his only option.
Ironically, according to Young, it was Knightsman guards who, although not now providing security for the KSAC, intervened in the robbery of a KSAC official last month, when more than $3 million was stolen as the employee made her way to the bank with a lodgement.
Young said Knightsman was invited to submit a tender to provide services at the locale in a letter dated February 7, 2011, with applications to be submitted no later than February 18 of that year. The town clerk's letter invited tenders for security services in the markets and transportation centres downtown.
Two days later, on February 9, Knightsman responded, acknowledging the invitation and indicated copies of required documents, as mandated by the Office of the Contractor General, were included, along with the company proposal, scope of works and rates.
Knightsman offered its services for the new downtown transportation centre; the newly refurbished Coronation Market, and other markets in the downtown business district.
AGREEMENT UNDER PREVIOUS COUNCIL
Young, in an interview with The Sunday Gleaner, said the "arrangement" became effective during the stewardship of then Mayor Desmond McKenzie.
"The contract was indefinite. There was no contract period based on the arrangement that we entered into. No formal contract was signed based on the rush they were in when the bus park opened, and they (KSAC) never followed through, even though we asked for a contract," Young said.
"We started negotiations months before, but they didn't pay it any mind until the park opened. KSAC called us in a rush and said they wanted security the next day. Then they got another agency involved and we got caught in the middle. That back-and-forth argument lasted during the period we were there," he stated.
He said he believed the contract was terminated when he started asking for money.
In a letter dated June 13, 2011, the company's services were terminated via letter from Town Clerk Errol Greene, even as he acknowledged that the company has exercised great "patience and tolerance with the KSAC".
Greene's letter said, inter alia, "I wish to place on record unreserved appreciation to you and your staff for your efforts. However, it is regrettable that our present situation does not permit us to continue this relationship."
A year later, Young said he was still unable to collect and he was forced to again write the KSAC on March 6, 2012.
"People are killing me for their money and I don't have it to pay. So, I am suing for the total plus cost," Young stated.
On March 12, the KSAC, in response, said security services at the Water Lane and Pechon Street facilities were joint ventures between several government agencies.
"The Urban Development Corporation (UDC) is the agency responsible for undertaking the payments to you. We have written the UDC requesting that they deal with this matter expeditiously," said Greene in his response.
The UDC, in a March 23, 2012 response from Desmond Young and copied to Greene; then UDC Chairman Wayne Chen; Yvette Sibble, deputy general manager of legal services at UDC; and Peter Risden, senior portfolio manager at UDC; instructed Young to redirect the matter to the KSAC.
"KSAC shall be responsible for the provision of security and implement all necessary security measures," said the UDC, citing Item No. 3, Section A of the general conditions for the management and operation of the downtown transportation centre.
The UDC letter highlighted the section stating that "KSAC shall pay all fees, rates, expenses, utilities and outgoings, including property taxes".
Greene, when contacted by The Sunday Gleaner recently, said he was aware of the situation.
"Yes, there is an outstanding matter between ourselves and Knightsman. We had discussion with them up to last week, and we are trying our best to have the situation settled in an amicable way in the best interest of both parties," he told The Sunday Gleaner.