Nineteen sub-contractors, who were employed by Matrix International Ltd. (Matrix) in 2007 to assist with scrap-metal removal, were finally paid this week (19-23 April).
Company representatives collected cheques totalling nearly CI$281,000.00 from the Hon. Premier, W. McKeeva Bush, OBE, JP.
Though the Cayman Islands Government had no direct contractual arrangements with any of the Matrix sub-contractors, and is not legally obligated to settle any of the company's outstanding bills, Government decided to settle the debt to prevent the loss of small-business owners.
"Although times are financially tough, it is important that small businesses like you are paid," Premier Bush told the sub-contractors as they collected their cheques.
"Even while we were the opposition I said that government had caused a contract to be made and I felt it was wrong that everyone, except the small businesses involved, walked away from the deal with money. We're happy that you are paid what you're owed," he added.
Commenting on the payment, A1 Rentals Manager Tom Buckner said, "It feels great to finally collect this money."
Perry Ebanks of Perry's Roofing and Backhoe added, "It shows that some governments work and take small businesses into consideration."
In March 2007 the Cayman Islands Government entered a twelve-month contract with Matrix International Ltd. for the removal of scrap metals from the George Town Landfill.
In September 2007 the Government declared that Matrix had defaulted on its obligations after the company missed contracted payments. By November that year, Government had ceased all operations with Matrix.
Until recently this left several local sub-contractors, who had provided trucking services, heavy-equipment rental and labour to the company, unpaid.