… but Permanent Secretary told GINA $455M
The Government Information Agency (GINA) reported that the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Dr. Frank Anthony, has rebutted claims made in an article in last Saturday’s Kaieteur News that the “long awaited Olympic-sized swimming pool, the price tag of which moved from $316 million to $455 million and which was scheduled to be completed this month, is nowhere near completion.”
GINA reported that Anthony stated that the pool will be completed by the end of September and since his last visit, substantial work has been done at the construction site.
“Water and electricity have been established, among others and the pool is already filled with water and ready for public use,” Minister Anthony is quoted by GINA as stating
According to the statement, Dr Anthony said that the contractors are currently putting together the “final touches” on the facility, which will be completed in a matter of weeks.
The GINA statement noted that as the time draws closer for the contractors to hand over the facility, the grass mound will be cleared and ready for use, as specified in the contract that also stipulates that the contractors must complete all the landscaping of the compound, including the fence.
“I do not understand the writer’s anxiety or claim of shoddy work. If the media would like to have information on the project, they just need to refer to the Ministry and the correct information will be provided, but don’t go and sensationalise the issue. The writer should have sought clarification before making such false accusations.”
Dr Anthony, according to GINA, further argued that if the writer (of the KN article) was genuinely following the steps of the construction, he/she would have acknowledged the reason for the increase in the price, even though it is “far below the $455M that was claimed by the newspaper”.
Interestingly, the Minister has set yet another deadline, “the end of September”, for the completion of the facility. On June 9, Minister Anthony did state that in three months’ time (September) this would be the case, and Kaieteur News will on this occasion hold him to his word.
With respect to “substantial work” being done at the construction site since his last visit, Kaieteur News cannot say definitively when was the last time Dr Anthony visited the site, but from the last time he did so with the media (in late July), to when this newspaper went to the site last week, very little has changed.
As regards the cost, GINA quotes Anthony as stating that the amount is far below the $455M that was claimed by this newspaper. This is indeed a strange utterance and the source is even more bewildering.
Why so? Well, in a GINA release (an official word from government) dated June 11, 2010, under an article captioned “Olympic size swimming pool to be ready in two months” it is stated that, “Permanent Secretary, Sport Ministry, Alfred King, said that the pool costs approximately $455M”.
Dr Anthony’s own Permanent Secretary told GINA the cost, so it is indeed puzzling that the government agency is not aware of the cost, or at least did not check to inform the Minister that this had been publicised.
Kaieteur News and the nation await the next 23 days with great anticipation.
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