Procurement issue leads to switch in contractor for Bodden Town school hall

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An issue with a construction company’s bid led the Cayman Islands government to switch to another contractor to build the new assembly hall at Theoline McCoy Primary School in Bodden Town.

The decision was the latest hiccup in the process to construct the long-awaited school facility.

Back in October 2020, Bodden Town East MLA Dwayne Seymour received confirmation from Education Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly that the primary school would get the new building, saying the expansion was “long, long overdue”.

At the time, officials expected the contractor to be picked in December, construction to start in the first quarter of 2021 and for the project to take 14 months to complete.

The school hall went out to tender on 30 Nov. 2020, with the original deadline for bids being 11 Jan. 2021.

The tender period was pushed back and eventually closed on 19 Feb. 2021, according to the government’s procurement portal, which still lists the bid as being ‘closed’ (rather than ‘awarded’.)

In June 2021, the project went to the government’s Public Procurement Committee, which elected to defer approval of the request because “the required template was not used in the procurement process”.

The committee approved the project at its next meeting in July.

In September, officials returned to the committee, seeking to change the winning bidder from Phoenix Construction to Edgewater Development. According to the minutes of the meeting, officials “noticed that [Phoenix] had not provided a compliant bid, and some of the scope were not priced in that bid”.

The committee deferred the application and instructed officials to provide further information, including legal advice, confirmation from Phoenix that it accepted the project withdrawal, and a letter from officials explaining what caused the error and what measures have put into place to prevent it from happening again.

The committee again reviewed the application in its October meeting and voted to approve the project with Edgewater as the contractor.

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