…project head, Alexei Ramotar, still mum on ongoing developments
With several hundred million dollars already expended to land a fiber optic cable in Guyana from Brazil, there is now
uncertainty about when and where the internet connectivity will be coming from now that the project is in deep trouble.
The cable, part of a bigger US$32M-plus project, was intended to provide bandwidth for the administration E-governance program.
Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon, made the shocking revelation when he appeared recently on state television to discuss the Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector.
The revelations by Luncheon would be another confirmation that the project is in deep trouble.
According to the Government spokesman, the difficulties encountered with the fiber optic cable that was being brought from Brazil “has indeed forced us to start considering bandwidth from sources other than the administration.”
Dr. Luncheon did point out that backbone of the project- the network which stretches across the coast connecting the various government agencies, to enhance Government agencies- has been completed but it needs the bandwidth.
The Brazil fiber optic cable was the critical component that would have brought internet connectivity.
Dr. Luncheon denied that the project was at “death’s door”, in response to Opposition Leader, David Granger, but he was unable to provide a timeline as to when and where the bandwidth to operationalise the project would be coming from.
Luncheon insisted that, as it relates to the ICT project, “what is intended cannot die.”
On the matter of when the project will be operationalised, Dr. Luncheon said, “I am thinking that once a source of bandwidth is accessible and that means both price and the technical aspects, we have big debates over bandwidth and the
way it is provided, but if price and the technical aspects can indeed be resolved then, there could be full operationalising.”
When contacted for clarifications on the state of negotiations to secure bandwidth for the project in light of the statements by Dr. Luncheon, project head, Alexei Ramotar, told this publication that the Head of the Presidential Secretariat had already pronounced on the matter and he had no comment to make further.
It was just days ago that Dr. Luncheon, during a Post Cabinet press engagement, conceded that the project had suffered failures. He added that it is in a remedial stage.
The official disclosed that contractors have been taken to court for the state of the project.
Dr. Luncheon was adamant that the project was not scrapped or abandoned. He said that he is currently involved in negotiations with a local firm and another from a neighbouring country on concluding the project.
“I for one am engaged in negotiations but I have to be hesitant in these days of prorogation. I am involved in discussions with a local firm and one from a neighbouring country to conclude the rehabilitation of the existing cable that traverses the over 200 kilometers from its entry point in Lethem to its termination here at Castellani in Georgetown… but in so saying (the project) is obviously in need of being remedied.”
The Cabinet Secretary said that some time, probably around 2011 and 2012 it was recognized that significant failures had occurred. He said that this is regarding contractors meeting their obligations with supervisory firms and commitments in the development and unfolding of the project.
He noted that while this is the case, his current discussions will see him giving direction on how renovation and correction of the defects that have been documented can be dealt with.
A Government source close to the project, had informed Kaieteur News that there was continuous breakage to the cable along the way.
The E-Governance project and the Brazil cable are part of number of other transformative projects which critics are accusing former President Bharrat Jagdeo of using to position his friends to take over the telecoms sector.
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