Sep 18, 2016 News
– $3.8B already expended thus far
Passengers who utilise the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) will soon be able to breathe a sigh of relief. The Airport is currently going through a transformation, specifically in the area of accommodation. This project is moving apace and is scheduled to be completed by the end of next year.
This was according to the Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson, during a recent media conference hosted at his Ministry in Kingston, Georgetown.
The US$150M expansion project includes the construction of a new terminal building, which is slated to be completed by March next year. The existing terminal building will be renovated to accommodate departures only. These works detailed in the project, also include the extension of the runway; the construction of a new diesel generator room; construction of a new fire pump station; the implementation of a new boarding corridor with boarding bridges and several relocation exercises which are currently ongoing.
The project is being funded through the EXIM Bank of China with the China Harbour Engineering Corporation (CHEC) carrying out the construction works. The MMM Group and CEMCO Inc. are the consultancy agencies that are carrying out the supervisory aspect of the project.
According to Minister Patterson, this project is moving apace, with all funds allocated for 2016 already expended. He said that at the end of August $3.8B had been exhausted.
The Project commenced on January 16, 2013 and works were expected to last for 32 months making the initial completion date – September 16, 2015. However, due to several delays, this deadline has been extended to next year.
Meanwhile, the issue of truckers working under hazardous conditions remains a sore one. Despite the progress of the expansion works, local truckers are still concerned. They say that they’re being underpaid, receive late payments, are exploited, have their vehicles damaged almost daily in addition to their bosses asking them to their lives on dangerous roads leading to and from sandpits.
Most of the contractors speaking to this publication said that in the contract signed with the Chinese company, it was stipulated that they would be paid 14 days after the 21st of every month, a stipulation that was never honoured by China Harbour.
Another monetary issue is the fact that they (contractors) are being underpaid. One contractor said that after buying fuel and paying employees, there is no money left to pay auto dealers from whom they would have purchased trucks to work on the Airport expansion project.
As a result, some have missed as many as two months of instalments and are on the brink of having their matter taken to court.
Another issue raised by the trucking contractors is that they are being paid the same price for trucking sand over longer distances than in the initial stage of the project. An example related was that in the beginning of the project, they used to truck sand from the pits to the area of expansion for a distance of one kilometre, now in the latter stages they are being paid the same money for carrying sand as far as five kilometres.
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