LAST WEEK, I described my reluctance to express opinions in these articles, choosing instead to provide the background information and allowing you to come to your own conclusions.
I also referred then to an online comment on the article, “St. Jude and the Art of the Con – Part 4”, which stated that it was “clothed with inaccuracies”. I pointed to the inescapable conclusion to be drawn from this statement that I had deliberately cloaked my argument in inaccuracies so as to promote an agenda. In ending the comment, the author, Mr. John Peters, admonished that I should make my point, but be accurate.
I responded to Mr. Peters online, correcting him and inviting him to point out any other supposed inaccuracies that he had found. He has not, but the damage is done as this opinion is in the public domain, and this is how reputations are destroyed.
This is not a spat between two aging engineers, but it is at the very heart of the fight for the soul of this nation and explains my reluctance to simply offer opinions. Because, in giving me “permission” to make my point, Mr. Peters highlights the issue with being opinionated — Mr. Peters is an engineer, and so readers might be encouraged to rely on his opinion even when there is no factual basis for doing so. So, I present the documented facts for the record and invite you to draw your own conclusion.
The statement in that article which Mr. Peters took exception to is this: “Notwithstanding that the notice of suspension does not conform to the requirement of the contract, (56 days notice is required), the reason given for termination of the consultant is not valid, as a need to review the project would necessitate suspension of the consultant’s services, not termination.”
This is Mr. Peters’ online comment: “The article is clothed with inaccuracies. The termination letter which was attached to the Report indicated that it was dated July 6th advising termination on September 3rd, which is in fact 58 days, more than the requirement under FIDIC Clause 27. Also, Clause 27 includes suspension and termination and thus the comments that the termination was not in accordance with the contract is an unfortunate inaccuracy by Mr. Prescod. Make your point but stay accurate, my friend.”
This is my online reply: “I can only advise that you re-read the article as there are no inaccuracies contained in it. I also trust that your misguided comment arises from haste.”
I have not stated that termination was not in accordance with the contract. Rather, I have stated that suspension was not in accordance.
You are correct that Clause 27 of the contract refers to both termination and suspension and, if you read it, you might notice that it makes no distinction between suspension and termination in respect of the notice required – it states that “The Client may suspend…or terminate the agreement by notice of at least 56 days to the Consultant”.
The Government’s correspondence dated July 6, 2016 suspends the Consultant’s services effective July 11 – five days’ notice is provided. There is no inaccuracy in the article, but the bigger point which your criticism may mask to others is that suspension of the consultant was required during the period of investigation unless this 10-day-old administration had a reason for termination – none has been provided, which is why you also should be demanding that the Audit report be published.
You also stated that the article is clothed with inaccuracies. I would greatly appreciate it if you would identify those inaccuracies, as otherwise you also will be guilty of misleading the public.
Rather than acknowledge his error, Mr. Peters replied online suggesting, erroneously, that the notice of suspension could not refer to Halcrow, which is also beside the point, and suggesting that I may have ulterior reasons for defending Halcrow. He does not identify any inaccuracies in my article.
Mr. Peters has previously expressed his views on the findings of the Technical Audit and on the performance of the Consultant, and asks rhetorically: “So is the Technical Audit completely wrong or has Halcrow failed in its contractual responsibility of duty of care …?” (The VOICE, May 6, 2017). While the implication of his question is obvious, I have merely pointed out that until that question is answered, there can be no basis for this Government’s termination of Halcrow last July.
Mr. Peters is entitled to his views, but he is not allowed to twist my statements in order to advance those views; neither is he allowed to smugly denigrate my character by making unfounded imputations of motive on my part. My concern in this matter remains with governance.
Because, if Government can terminate a “branded” consultant like Halcrow before establishing cause, what do you think is likely to happen to you and me?
So, keep demanding publication of that Technical Audit, and keep demanding that Government’s termination of Halcrow be reviewed in Court.