Govt. signs secret deal to expand CJIA
… Upset Chinese contractor revealed info
An unspecified deal for which a Chinese bank is putting US$138 million (G$27.6 billion) has been signed to expand the country’s lone international airport, but the Guyana Government has not said a word of the deal.
Yesterday, a spokesperson for the Chinese company, China Harbour Engineering Company said that the Guyana Government is annoyed that the company has gone ahead and announced the signing of the project. It has since moved to block the company from releasing any further information.
CHEC announced on its website that it had signed a contractual agreement with the Guyana Government to be the official contractors on the Cheddi Jagan International Airport expansion. The company said that the project will be funded by the China Exim Bank to the tune of US$138 million.
According to the company, the agreement signed will see the construction of a modern terminal building and the extension of the runway by 1,066 meters to reach a total of 3,336 meters.
The company’s Regional Director, Zhongdong Tang, and his team said they are enthused about this new project, which now makes Guyana the seventh country in the Latin American region in which the company will be making significant developmental impact.
“China Harbour is eager to get started on this project in Guyana. We are capable and prepared to help with the development of the country,” Mr. Tang said.
“We are dedicated to render hard work and the best of our engineering skills to the projects we have agreed to execute while passing on our knowledge of engineering to the people of these countries,” he continued.
Public Relations Officer of CHEC in Jamaica, Jennifer Harmon, said that she was asked by her company not to reveal any more information about the project and that in fact her decision to reveal the signing to the Jamaica Observer was ill-advised.
She said that the Guyana Government would release any information to media here.
As such, Harmon said she could not share any information or photographs of the signing with Kaieteur News.
Minister of Finance, Dr Ashni Singh, did not return calls by this newspaper for clarification on the matter.
The project was not opened to bidding. No such advertisement was placed on the government’s procurement website under the Ministry of Public Works through which the airport is administered.
Minister of Public Works, Robeson Benn, could not be reached for comment.
The Jamaica Observer reported that the Guyana project would be CHEC’s fourth major project in the Caribbean since it set up shop in Jamaica last year.
The newspaper said that the company had secured projects in Cayman, Mexico and the Bahamas since September.
The Chinese firm established its regional headquarters in Jamaica last year April after signing an agreement with the Jamaican Government in 2009 to be the general contractor under the Ministry of Transport and Works and the National Works Agency for two main projects — the Palisadoes Shoreline Protection and Rehabilitation Works and the Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme (JDIP).
The JDIP is a five-year, US$400 million island-wide public works programme funded by a loan of US$340 million secured by the Road Maintenance Fund from China Exim Bank at an interest rate of three per cent to be repaid over 20 years.
CHEC regards itself as a world-renowned international contractor that is a subsidiary of China Communications Construction Company Ltd (CCCC).
It has 40 overseas branches and offices with business activities covering more than 70 countries and areas.
The company is currently employing over 7,000 domestic and international staff to undertake 10 billion USD worth of projects.
Founded in 1980, China Harbour operated as a group company before its merger with China Road and Bridge to create CCCC in 2005. CHEC is now the major international operating division of CCCC group which was ranked 21st among the Global 500 Companies in 2011 and the 11th in 225 Top International Contractors (ENR) , equivalent 1st among all Chinese international contractors.
In August, speaking with Caribbean Business Report, Regional Director of CHEC, Zhongdong Tang, said that the company had a team in Guyana, among other countries, “looking for opportunities.”