Barrack chains Warrens building

Sanka Price,

Added 18 August 2014

albarackpadlock

GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES have been locked out of the Warrens Office Complex by the building’s owner, contractor Al Barrack, who said took the action for non-payment of rent. At 6:22 a.m. Barrack chained and padlocked the two front doors of the sprawling building after informing the two security guards inside about his actions and asked them to leave. Two workers also left. He went on to place padlocks at the back entrance and at the entrances to the complex. He claimed Government owes him more than $50 million in rent arrears as they have been occupying the building since 2009 and never once paid a cent. The annual rent is just over $10 million. “I am the legal owner of this building ...  and the Government is squatting,” said Barrack, declaring he had had enough. “When people owe for light, the company comes and cut it off and they have to pay... This is the same thing,” the determined Barrack said. Briefly explaining his actions, the contractor said the complex was built by him using his money as well as resources acquired from creditors, banks and otherwise, and he has got to start paying these people. “This thing has been going on for more than 14 years. That can’t be right. There is no respect for the Court’s ruling,” he declared. Barrack won the contract to build the complex but a dispute arose between the National Housing Corporation – which was responsible for the project – and his company, Barrack Construction, over some of the contractual arrangements. The matter went to arbitration by mutual agreement in July 2002. Barrack was awarded $34.5 million in arbitration four years later for his work on the complex, as well as the court costs and the arbitrator’s costs. The Owen Arthur-led administration promptly appealed that judgment but it was upheld by the High Court in July 2008. Since coming to office the Democratic Labour Party Government has moved from calling the judgment “frivolous and vexatious” to making positive statements that Barrack would be paid. However, to date he has not received a cent for the building or a cent in rent for those offices occupied in it.    

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