Doubts over HVC need addressing
Saturday 2nd March 2013, 2:00PM GMT.
JUST two days after a local company revealed that it was in financial difficulties it has gone bust and three jobs have gone.
What makes the demise of Building and Technical Services (CI) Ltd more noteworthy is that it claims to be owed more than £300,000 – something that is denied – by Harbour View Construction, which is just about to be awarded a States contract to build the £24m. mental health and well-being facility to replace the Castel Hospital.
If the calls that have been received by this newspaper are anything to go by, however, BTS is not the only business claiming to be owed money by HVC.
In addition, States members have also been receiving calls expressing reservations about HVC being the preferred contractor because of the number of alleged unsettled debts either it or its predecessor Charles Le Quesne (Guernsey) Ltd apparently have.
Before States members agreed to approve HVC for the mental health contract, they were assured in the Billet d’Etat that financial and legal due diligence had been done to establish the likely future viability of the company to complete the project.
What is now being asked is whether the alleged debts helped to boost HVC’s financial profile to enable it to secure a lifeline contract with the States.
What is clearer is that a considerable number of local sub-contractors and suppliers have concerns about the wisdom of awarding the contract to HVC and others are saying that they will not work for or trade with the company.
Without naming any businesses, the Housing minister spoke in the States this week about how this sort of situation could require Housing to issue licences for labour simply because available local staff had decided to boycott HVC. Would that be acceptable?
The States has taken steps to secure taxpayer money over the mental health contract and also says that action will be sufficient for local subcontractors.
Among the trade, however, there is disquiet that enough has been done to protect their interests.
Before the contract process goes any further, government and the building sector need to know exactly what they’re getting into.
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