By NEIL HARTNELL
Tribune Business Editor
A security firm’s principal says he intends to “pursue members of the former Christie administration” through the courts for “politically targeting” his contract to monitor hundreds of accused.
Stephen Greenslade, president and founder of ICS Security Concepts, told Tribune Business that the previous government “took away my company’s ability to earn from the huge investment” it made in the first ankle bracelet monitoring contract without good reason.
While not identifying any ex-ministers and officials who he might go after, Mr Greenslade emphasised his determination to seek redress through the judicial system, saying “justice will not go undone” even if his children have to take on the cause.
He added that he would turn his attention to local litigation once the ongoing dispute with ICS’ former foreign partners to the contract, Track Group (formerly Secure Alert), was settled in the US courts or via arbitration (see other article on Page 1B).
Mr Greenslade said the former Christie administration’s failure to properly extend the ankle bracelet monitoring contract beyond 2013, instead allowing it to continue on a month-to-month basis for three more years, exacerbated the differences with his partners and resulted in them failing to upgrade the system with “next generation technology”.
“The Government at that time really targeted that programme for political reasons,” he told Tribune Business. “The Christie administration targeted that programme politically; there’s no other way to address it. That’s the fact.
“Most of the claims made against it were untrue. The issue of the upgrade came in the heat of the moment when we were trying to ward off the then-government and political attacks on the programme.
“When we discovered the need for the upgrade we were on a month-to-month contract. Our partners refused to do the upgrade because of the month-to-month contract. That caused more strain on the contract, but that was intended by the former government.”
Mr Greenslade continued: “I’m still not at rest with how to deal with that. We’re just trying to get through the litigation stage with Track Group and, as long as we’re not statute or time-barred, I will instruct my attorneys to pursue individuals in the former Christie administration that took away my company’s ability to earn revenue from that investment. That’s my plan.
“It was a huge investment by I.C.S. in The Bahamas. If I don’t get it complete, my children will. It’s not going undone. It was a gross wrong against my company. That’s not going to go undone in terms of justice.”
I.C.S. lost the ankle bracelet monitoring contract when it was put out for renewal by the former Christie administration and subsequently awarded to Migrafill, which is headed by former assistant police commissioner, Grafton Ifill Snr, in late 2016.
The ankle bracelet monitoring contract was hailed as a landmark initiative for The Bahamas’ criminal justice system when it was first unveiled in 2010-2011, billed as a way to supervise accused criminals released on bail and ensure they complied with the conditions imposed on their movements/activities by the courts to keep Bahamian society safe.
Besides preventing such persons from engaging in further criminal activity, the ankle bracelets’ introduction was also designed to reduce overcrowding at Fox Hill Prison by enabling the release of remand prisoners while awaiting trial.
However, concerns over the ankle bracelets’ effectiveness surfaced almost immediately. Several persons wearing them were murdered, while it was reported that the bracelets’ could be removed by those wearing them and/or disabled by placing tin foil around them.
I.C.S. is now embroiled in a dispute with its former US and Puerto Rican partners over the revenue-sharing arrangement from their deal, with the Bahamian security firm alleging that it was
“deceived” over how close the relationship between those two entities was.
Asked whether problems with I.C.S’s partners, Track Group and International Surveillance Services (ISS), had impacted the contract, Mr Greenslade acknowledged to Tribune Business that this was true “to an extent”.
“The extent is when they upgraded the platform and implemented next generation devices in other jurisdictions, they didn’t do the same in The Bahamas,” he revealed. “That caused glitches we may not have experienced had they followed through with their commitment to upgrade The Bahamas as well as they did in the US and other territories.”
Mr Greenslade added that I.C.S. had “won the case” at arbitration, after the arbitrator changed a $689,614 award in favour of Track Group to zero - something the US firm is now appealing in the US federal courts.
“The arbitrator made a mathematical error that he corrected, and that’s what caused the amount to go from that award to zero,” he told Tribune Business. “That was the difference with the overpayment we made to Track Group.
“Our case was that they deceived us from the outset - the failure to declare the change in ownership and the relationship between the two companies. They gave us the impression they were two separate companies other than the ties of coming together as manufacturer and distributor to sell the product [the ankle bracelets] in this territory.
“We found out their relationship went much deeper, and they contrived their presentation to get a bigger portion of the revenues in The Bahamas. My thing is we were deceived through and through. We presented our case and the arbitrator agreed with us. That’s where we are.”