A HIGH Court judge has frowned on the Mayaro/Rio Claro Regional Corporation (MRRC) spending o $879,000 on cleaning the Mayaro public market for three years.
Justice Frank Seepersad, presiding in the San Fernando High Court in a lawsuit the MRRC filed against a contractor, said, “Statutory bodies like the claimant must exercise caution and care when executing contracts, and given the size of the market, the court cannot understand why the cleaning could not be undertaken in-house by corporation employees, given the relatively small size of the market."
Seepersad adjudicated on the MRRC's claim against garbage contractor Heeralal Rampadarath for $870,307, alleging he was paid the money to wash and sanitise the market, but did not. The MRRC contended that it is entitled to recover the money, adding that it had to do the work itself.
It also sought a declaration that Rampadarath had unjustly enriched himself because he was paid for a job he did not do. Attorney Anand Ramlogan, SC, represented the contractor. Kemrajh Harrikissoon SC, argued the case for the MRRC.
Rampadarath contended that his job under the contract was only to collect the garbage for three years.
In his judgement, Seepersad said under cross-examination, MRRC personnel admitted to being uncertain whether the scope of works Ramparadath was to do included washing and sanitising the market.
Referring to the evidence of Solid Waste Management Company Ltd (SWMCOL) procurement manager Curtis Doyle, under cross-examination by Ramlogan, Seepersad said it was the MRRC which was responsible for cleaning the market. This was supported, the judge added, by the fact that the tender notice from SWMCOL which invited bids, and subsequent letter of award, did not mention the contractor's responsibility to wash and sanitise the market.
Seepersad found Rampadarath was a credible witness and it would have cost extra had he bid to wash and sanitise the market.
The corporation was also ordered to pay Rampadarath’s legal costs.