…over $39M for supervisory services
By Zena Henry
Minister of Agriculture, Leslie Ramsammy, had cause yesterday to urge several contractors who will be taking on $697.3M in drainage and irrigation contracts to complete their work within a timely manner and cost framework. The Minister noted that on too many occasions, when work sites are visited, no work is ongoing.
Minister Ramsammy spoke extensively of criticisms about previous work undertaken and urged the contractors to not cause any tension between themselves and the Ministry.
Of those who signed off on the hefty work contracts, were five construction firms and three supervisory/consultancy firms.
The Minister reiterated his appeal to the workers for all jobs to be completed within the time frame and cost. The longest time period of the projects is 10 months.
“I will be visiting sites regularly, along with the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) team, and hope to see work going on all the time. Too many of the sites I go to have no work going on sometimes.” The Minister even mentioned that on one site where he visited unannounced, he was told by a ground worker that he should have called before coming. Ramsammy charged however that, “it is my work; I am hiring you to do my work. I do not need permission to come on site.” “If I was not a nice person, there would have been problems,” he told the contractors.
They were therefore urged to maintain the “good track record” the agency has had for the last two years. He told the contractors that his hopes are that there will be ‘no tension between NDIA and the contractors.”
The $697.3M worth of projects will however service Regions two, three, and six.
The work is part of a five-year programme which commenced in 2011 and is expected to be completed in 2015. The total number of pumps involved in the programme is 39 – to be installed in various locations across the country.
The most recent projects under the programme were done in regions four, five and ten, the Minister noted.
The signing yesterday involved the construction of two sluices at Bagotville, and La Grange, West Bank Demerara respectively.
Two drainage pump stations will be built at Joppa No. 43 Berbice and Lima, Essequibo Coast, while there was also a contract for the provision of steel sheet piles to the NDIA for the construction of the pump station at Joppa No. 43, Eversham, Gangaram and Lima. Over $39M will be expended on supervisory services. The contractors; SRKN’gineering, Engineering and Agricultural Consultants Inc. and CEMCO will provide supervisory and consultancy services for the work at the various locations.
Ramsammy noted that despite the signing of these contracts in public, questions continue to arise on cost and the alleged secrecy in which the awarding of contracts are done, again, despite the identity of the contractors being known. It is for the purpose of transparency and the provision of information, he stated, that these contracts are being made public.
The overall programme is medium and long term and will ensure that the locations have enough pumping capacity for irrigation and drainage. Some locations will see the replacement of old pumps and the installation of new ones.
Some new sites will receive new pumps, while pumps will be installed at existing sites that need back up to increase capacity.
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