PORT MOURANT, CORENTYNE – A new contractor signed an agreement with the Basic Needs Trust Fund for the completion of the Port Mourant Market.
Region Six Chairman, Zulfikar Mustapha, said work recommenced mid-December. According to him, he visited the site last Thursday and the main tarmac has already been completed.
Contractor Sattaur of Essequibo is expected to finish the $36 million project by January month end. The scope of work is to complete the tarmac, washroom facilities and fencing.
The initial $98 million contract was awarded to Hassan N. Pasha of Chateau Margot on the East Coast of Demerara early 2009 to rebuild the facility.
However, work halted sometime in August 2009, allegedly after payment problems. Efforts to contact Pasha for a comment were futile. According to Mustapha, the first contractor wanted more money for the job after placing a tender for a different amount.
“After Pasha did that, I understand that it went back to the Tender Board after consultation with representatives of the Caribbean Development Bank. For this new contract, Mr. Sattaur was the most competitive bidder at that time, and the agreement was signed last year. I want to ensure the market is completed on time because all the vendors are now scattered on the road.”
Mustapha said that after the completion of the facility, no roadside vending would be permitted.
In September, a source had indicated that additional money was needed to complete some features in the Port Mourant Market, and that caused a fall out and work on the project stopped.
“That is a $200 million job they want done with $100 million. The drawing changed from when they started. There is also a problem with getting material and transporting the material,” the source had said.
Back in September, even though construction work had stopped, the Regional Chairman had insisted it was moving apace and was on schedule.
The project is funded by the Caribbean Development Bank through Basic Need Trust Fund and the Government of Guyana.
Work began on February 15th, 2009 and was expected to run for nine months – November 15th. The initial job was for the construction of a modern market, approximately 15,000 square feet with appropriate sections. New features should consist of an office and permanent market staff along with other amenities.
The Administration is also hoping to enclose some stalls, especially in the haberdashery section. The hucksters are expected to shoulder the responsibility of building their own compartments based on the specifications supplied by the Regional Democratic Council.
The Regional Chairman said, the present design catered for 450 stalls, like the previous facility, but the Administration is exploring the possibility of acquiring 300 more.
The old market could no longer cater for the amount of vendors plying their trade, especially on Saturday, the biggest day, and many vend their ware on both sides of the Corentyne Highway in the vicinity of the facility. This resulted in traffic congestion each Saturday. Persons come from all parts of Guyana – including the East Coast of Demerara, East Bank of Essequibo and the Upper Corentyne and the East Bank of Berbice on Saturdays to sell their produce at what the Chairman said is one of the largest open air markets in Guyana.
According to Mustapha, the previous facility was some 20-years old and had deteriorated.
Meanwhile, vendors continue to complain about how they are affected by the slow progress of the project thus putting a strain on their livelihood.
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