The controversy surrounding the Government Pensioners Association (Berbice Branch) building at Grant 2228, Vryman’s Erven, New Amsterdam has once again deepened.
This time, the body is again questioning the extent of recently- executed works on the building and the evident incompletion, resulting in the association not being able to occupy the building to carry out meetings, activities and events for old- age pensioners in the Berbice area.
After the article ‘Region Six administration exhausts $5M on Pensioners’ building foundation’ was published in March in the Kaieteur News, the Regional Administration scampered to meet with the body to iron out the issues.
According to Chairman of the association, Clement Johnson, the executives met with the Regional Chairman on May 20, “to discuss the way forward concerning the completion of the building”.
It was agreed at that forum that several additional works to the building would be undertaken, namely “enclose 10 feet on the eastern and northern side of the existing building; four rooms on the eastern end; a caretaker’s quarters; and grading of the entire compound”. Further works commenced promptly on May 23, 2011.
Further, it was agreed that the compound be fenced.
On June 8, Johnson spoke with the Superintendent of Works who related to him that he “had all the galvanized sheets at his disposal to undertake that work”.
After meeting again with Mr Zulfikar Mustapha on June 21, all of the promised works on the building were being carried out, except for the fence.
Mr Johnson aired his dissatisfaction with Mustapha, especially since he was told by the Superintendent of Works that all the materials for the fence were garnered.
Johnson wonders what has happened to all the zinc sheets for the fence. “I personally saw a large quantity of sheets stocked in the Regional compound, which have since disappeared”. Due to this, Johnson refused to take over the building from the Region since it was, again, incomplete of a fence, promised by the authorities.
Upon meeting with the Regional Vice Chairman, Denis Deroop on July 11, Johnson was told that “these works (the fence and tiling of the floor) cannot be undertaken at this juncture since no funds were available”. Deroop had promised the works will be carried out in 2012.
Mr Johnson then vented his frustration with the entire matter once more. “In late 2010, we were told that no funds were available to continue work on our building, yet funds could have been found to refurbish the Senior Accounting Offices in Vryman’s Erven where thousands of dollars were spent to upgrade same with a galvanized sheet fence all around”.
Johnson added that the said building is being “underutilized since the officer lives on the Corentyne”. He questioned what happened to the fence materials that were in the Regional Administration compound.
“The public needs to know what’s taking place. We are totally fed up but will not give in to acts which seek to stymie our activities”, he noted.
Several attempts to contact Zulfikar Mustapha and Supt of Works were futile.
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