May 17, 2016 News
The company that will build, own and operate the Waste-to-Energy Plant, that is proposed to be constructed at the Haags Bosch Sanitary Landfill, behind Eccles, East Bank Demerara, could get Cabinet’s go-ahead, as early as the next two weeks.
Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan in a recent interview with the Government Information Agency (GINA), disclosed that within the next two weeks, the Ministry in conjunction with the Ministry of Public Infrastructure is set to take before Cabinet, “the papers that will allow for the signing of the contract, for the firm, to build, own and operate the facility.”
Minister Bulkan explained that the company that has been selected “brings the technology, as well as the investment to utilise the solid waste that is delivered there (at Haags Bosch) and to dispose of it in an environmentally friendly manner, (that is, using it to produce electricity).”
The Minister noted that the construction of such a facility, will “take away the current situation, where the government has to create funding for the management and operations of our municipal dumpsites and landfills.”
In the process, the facility will also create renewable energy, utilising solid waste, he added.
“We (Government) inherited as a result of the dysfunctional system of local government, a very ineffective system for solid waste management…the most visible of these is the Haags Bosch.” He pointed out that what should have been a sanitary landfill, “regrettably and unfortunately” was not managed as such, and “there were many deficiencies.”
When the Waste-to-Energy Plant at Haags Bosch actually comes into operation, Bulkan said, “I will personally take great pride, and I would see that as a signal achievement of central government on the part of the Ministry of Communities; the role that we have played in fast-tracking and bringing that to fruition.”
After the construction of the facility at Haags Bosch, the Ministry will look to replicate the effort in other communities across the country, the Minister said. He also said that on a smaller scale, the Ministry continues to be engaged in providing environmental solutions to waste management to the municipalities, as well as the Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs) across the country.
The Ministry of Communities, as part of its responsibility for integrated solid waste management, in February, had invited suitable firms, for construction of a Waste-to-Energy Plant.
The invitation stated that the facility will be operated under a Build-Own-Operate structure at the existing Haags Bosch Sanitary Landfill, and it would utilise some 350 tonnes per day of municipal solid waste to generate electricity, that would in turn be sold under an energy purchase agreement which will be negotiated.
Several proposals were received by way of the public tender, for the project. These were evaluated and a “suitable firm” selected, the Government statement said.
Haags Bosch came into being during the period of the PPP/C Government in 2007, which decided that it had to find an alternative site to Le Repentir, which was becoming problematic.
Around 2007, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) loaned Guyana US$18.07M for the Haags Bosch project with BK and Puran Bros winning the tender in 2009.
While it was agreed that the construction would be for US$9.7M, this was reduced to US$7.7M because of cash problems facing the Ministry.
Construction began in 2010 at the site which was officially opened on February 1, 2011.
Government had been funding the operations.
However, the dumpsite ran into problems when the contractor, BK International, claimed that it was owed monies for one and a half years.
Aside from this, BK had filed claims against the ministry for breaches in the contract for US$8M.
The matter came to a head last year when the administration of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic on February 27, terminated BK’s contract for the construction and operations of the landfill. It was said that the company missed deadlines and committed other breaches.
On March 13, 2015, BK through his lawyer, Davindra Kissoon, filed a lawsuit asking Chief Justice (ag) Ian Chang, to overturn the decision of the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development to terminate the contract.
CEO Brian Tiwarie, in court documents, claimed that he was owed hundreds of millions of dollars for the construction and for the daily management of the Eccles site. The management period ends in 2019.
The new administration has started negotiations to settle with BK.
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