Residents of the community of Baracara, some 65 miles up the Canje River, are accusing the Regional Administration and specifically the Regional Engineer of Region 6 of disrespecting them and trying to foist shoddy and substandard work on the community.
The work in contention is the construction of a revetment, which is situated just outside the area housing the school which holds classes for primary and nursery children, the Health Centre and the recently commissioned community centres.
The cost of the work is in the vicinity of $7.1M.
But the residents are refusing to sign the documents that signal their approval of the work done, thus the contractor has been unable to receive his $7.1M payment
They had staged a protest which brought the work to a halt. But they said that on the advice of the Regional Engineer the contractor was told to resume work. However community members say that they will not sign any documents for payments since they were not consulted about the project.
According to contractual arrangements, residents in the area have to sign the relevant documents which indicated that they are satisfied with the work before the contractor could be paid.
Following the uproar, the Regional Administration assembled a team which included Senior Superintendent of Works, Ruhullah Ali, Works Committee member Mr. Erwin Abdullah, contractor Mark Gupta and some members of the print media.
During discussions with residents, it was decided that a lot more needs to be done.
Among complaints was the issue that concrete walkways which were in existence for years were destroyed and not replaced. It was also claimed that the contractor instead of fetching dirt to fill up the revetment just used a bulldozer to level the area, thus leaving a muddy basin in front of the school.
Headmistress Kim Sampson speaking to the media stated that although the work commenced from the entrance of the school, she was at a loss to know what was going on and was never told anything.
However to her surprise, two weeks ago, she met the contractor and was told that she has to sign some documents stating that the work was satisfactorily done in order for the contractor to be paid.
“Instead of Bullet Wood, they used Young Mora with plenty worm holes. The revetment is too close to the fence and building, the contractor should have brought dirt to fill the area but instead he graded the place, now the basin is let there”.
The teacher said that she will not be signing anything she doesn’t know about.
Another disappointment is that workers were brought in to do the work instead of using residents from the area.
Chairman of the Community Development Council, Marshall Thompson said that
he and a few other residents were employed as labourers for a few days on the project and were then laid off.
The residents said they are prepared to take the matter up with the President or Minister.
The contractor is to return to the area with his machinery, including a dredge, to complete the job, which will now cost approximately G$1M, but that will be at his expense.
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