The Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ) is demanding that more information be released about the controversial contract for the supply of used vehicles to the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).
PSOJ President Howard Mitchell has taken the position that this is the only way to rectify the damage to public confidence that has already been done in the issue.
National Security Minister Robert addressed the House of Representatives on Tuesday, but this has not appeased the PSOJ.
Mr Mitchell, a guest on RJR’s Beyond the Headlines Tuesday evening, argued that based on all that has taken place, full disclosure is the best course of action, starting with the details of the contract.
Those contract details should include “the process by which the contract was awarded, the time it took to award the contract, the time it took for the NCC (National Contracts Commission) to review and come back with the recommendation, the criteria for the product to be delivered,” he said.
Furthermore, he said, the country should be told what will be done with the cars, “because if the cars are not the right kind of cars we’re going to be incurring expenses in replacing them, or in attempting to repair them.”
Mitchell’s comments followed an address to Parliament on the matter by National Security Minister Robert Montague earlier in the day and his subsequent appearance on Beyond the Headlines as well.
In that interview, Montague said, based on the contractual dispute now developing between the Ministry and the car company, court proceedings appeared to be inevitable.
“I am very positive - because we're going to be treating with the contract and some of the issues therein – this matter is going to be ending up in court,” he declared.
The National Security Minister has been under pressure since news broke that O'brien's International Car Sales and Rental, which was contracted to supply 200 used cars to the JCF, had only delivered 30 so far.
In addition, the company is now seeking a tax waiver to clear some of the vehicles that have not yet been delivered.
Questions have arisen about whether O'brien's had sufficient experience in handling such transactions in the first place, and whether the National Security Ministry was aware of its capacity to deliver prior to the granting of the contract.
Mr Montague, in the radio interview, declined to address that aspect of the matter, but expressed confidence the issues will be resolved.
He stressed that the Ministry was determined to protect the government’s interest in the matter, and had decided to enforce the performance bond ($40 million) since the contractor “has not performed on the contract.”
He added that the Ministry’s legal officers were pursuing other matters pertaining to protecting its interests in “the other issues surrounding the remainder of the contract and the contract itself.”