Canouan-based construction company CCA Limited has promised to pay all sub-contractors it now owes.
Last Wednesday, May 17, Lincoln Bobb, the owner of Bobbâs Construction, complained to SEARCHLIGHT that non-payments and partial payments by CCA Limited for services rendered have so damaged his operation that he now has only three employees, compared with 12 last year.
Bobb explained that as a sub-contractor hired by CCA Limited, he was responsible for preventative and remedial maintenance and finishing. He said that everything was good in 2016, but in January and then again in February, payments were made late by the company.
Around April 5, he added, he received a letter from CCA Limited, announcing that they would now make payments monthly instead of every two weeks and all outstanding sums would be settled on May 10.
But according to Bobb, on May 9, he got another letter telling him that he would not be paid on May 10 as promised. As a result he withdrew his services.
Up to last week Wednesday, the builder revealed, his workers had logged 56 days without being paid and as a result, he and two other sub-contractors who were experiencing the same issue had planned industrial action. However, it was not successful, he said, because some critical players appeared afraid to join the action.
Bobb said he is not sure what the other sub-contractors are owed, but CCA Limited was indebted to his company by more than EC$20,000 and he is no longer able to pay his employees from his own pocket.
âI owe people. Some people gone back work and they not being paid, because to me, I think they afraid to speak outâ, Bobb said.
He explained that as a sub-contractor, he reported directly to technical director of CCA Limited, Peter Earnst, who when questioned, always gave a commitment to pay, but never a payment date.
âThis is disturbing and has been going on too long,â he said. âI need for it to get rectified. If they pay and give me work, Iâm willing to work; if not I have no problem if they pay me and fire me.
âI want my money. People crying out secretly because of fear they would lose their job. There are foreigners getting paid and locals not getting paid,â Bobb charged, noting that he was talking about CCA Limited, which does substantial business in the northern part of the island, and not the developers responsible for the southern end of Canouan where âeverything is goodâ.
âI canât understand why we, as sub-contractors, canât get pay and people who working with CCA directly are getting paid…,â said Bobb, who worked with CCA Limited for 10 years as an individual before forming his own company.
CCA Limited provides construction, architectural and maintenance services on Canouan and when contacted on Wednesday, Earnstâs personal assistant told SEARCHLIGHT that her boss had asked her to respond by saying that the payments are being processed and âawaiting finalizationâ.
She could not give a precise payment date, but assured that outstanding bills would be settled. CCA Limited is the construction arm of the Canouan Resorts Development Limited (CRDL).