After 14 months…
It’s been more than a year since the construction of the De Willem river drainage sluice valued at $154m began in region three. Now while it is yet to be completed apparently works have grounded to a halt.
Yesterday when Kaieteur New visited the location, save for some goats having free reign, there was no one manning the site and neither was there any ongoing construction works either.
One resident who lives in close proximity to the koker said, “Is about two months dem ain’t really do no work here except they deliver some boards and them men gone from here a little while now.”
A truck used for mixing cement was parked a few meters away from what looked like a living quarters and one of its doors was padlocked while the other was secured with wire.
The louvre windows to the hut were open and a mosquito net was evidence that the building is used for sleeping.
But there was no answer to the many calls at the door.
Several yards away existed evidence of incomplete work. There were a large number of pall boards and posts at the location. There were also some stone piles and mud and sand mounds that residents said were to be used for filling the land.
Along the drain leading to the sluice on both sides, more than 36 posts were already driven into the earth.
Closer still, it was observed that while the sluice was closed the walls in the channel are rough concrete. On the outer and inner walls of the sluice are several cracks which one resident dubbed “substandard works that may never be completed.”
With no contractor or a representative at the location and no security there either, the residents in the environs for the most part laughed when told that the contract for the works is $154m.
They welcomed the idea of a functioning koker, as it would prevent flooding during the rainy season but some opined “this one might just turn out to be a monument of wasted millions”.
One 30-year-old man said that construction began just before Easter last year and all seemed well. However, he like other residents is puzzled that it’s been close to two months since any major work has been done at the site.
“If this is $154m in works then something wrong cause the thing start to crack while one part start sinking and they had to put in some extra stuff to keep the two walls from closing in.”
He questioned how it is that the same contractor is working on another project at Parika while the works are incomplete at this koker.
Noting the cracks one woman recalled hearing some workmen casting blame on the project engineer and accepting the fact that “they working with the engineer orders.”
At Parika, yesterday, Suresh Sukul a representative of SRK N’gineering confirmed that his group is in charge of the construction of the De Willem Drainage Sluice.
Another man at the location advised Sukul to not say anything but Sukul explained that the works at the De Willem Sluice, ground to a halt because his team “is waiting on some information regarding some revetment works to be done.”
“What they (residents) are calling cracks are not really cracks. Is some additional work the men had to do on the sluice.”
He also said that he is not aware of any sinking at the location and could not say how long it will be before work resumes at the site. Neither could he say when the works will be completed for handing over.
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