JIS News

The Office of the Contractor General (OCG) last week released an addendum to the Forensic Report on the Sandals Whitehouse Project in order to substantiate and or clarify certain statements in that Report. This addendum, which was tabled in the House, focuses on some eight arising issues that were not explicit in the Report, which was tabled in the House of Representatives on July 18 of this year.
The initial report had stated that the US$41 million cost overrun on the Sandals Whitehouse Hotel project in Westmoreland, was in keeping with the size and specification of the hotel, and was justified.
The addendum states, however, that documents, which were previously not made available to the OCG, were submitted on July 25 and July 27 by the Urban Development Corporation (UDC).
This submission contained project site and technical working minutes as well as cash flow and implementation schedules, “copies of which the UDC conceded were previously specifically requested by the OCG, but which were never before produced,” the addendum states.
According to the 86-page document, “the OCG believes that the interest of the public would be best served if it were to review, inter alia, these documents, record its view thereon and submit an Addendum Report encompassing same, pursuant to the provisions of Section 20 and Section 28 of the Contractor General Act.”
Section 20 of the Act deals with appropriate actions, which may be taken after a report is made, while Section 28 outlines the OCG’s responsibilities to make reports relating to the function of the Office.
The issues addressed in the addendum are: whether the OCG had conducted interviews with representatives of the private developing firm that worked on the project; whether Beaches Negril was used as the original benchmark for the Sandals Whitehouse Hotel design concept; and the impact on the original budget for the project.
Furthermore, the addendum seeks to clarify “whether the change in the design of the hotel from a ‘Beaches’ to a ‘Sandals’ concept contributed to the change in the project’s scope of works and ultimately the cost overrun”.
Another issue highlighted in the document is, “whether there was a reasonable expectation that some amount of cost overrun was to be anticipated because the budget was preliminary in nature and was based on approximate quantities”.
Other matters include responsibilities and liabilities for the cost overrun; a clarification of the “value for money statement”, which appeared in the OCG report; as well as a certain contract to a private company.