The recently collapsed Indian Arrival Day Monument at the junction of Palmyra has raised
many questions. The project which was estimated to be completed by May 5, for the upcoming Indian Arrival Day celebrations will no longer meet its deadline after the catastrophe that occurred on Tuesday evening.
Regional Chairman David Armogan said that the Government was tasked to prepare the site and complete the ground work for the monuments to be placed.
”I was made to understand a contractor was given this contract to make sure all things are in place for May 5 but that cannot happen”, Armogan posited. He lamented that “the government of Guyana, during last year had put out a public tender for the construction of those bases that have to house the monuments and that some contractor from Linden was given the contract.
The contract is in the vicinity of $70 million. This is to prepare and construct the base of the site but this is not likely”.
Armogan is of the view that work done by the contractor is substandard. He stated that it is a structural problem. He further mentioned that they have been trying to speak with the contractor at a regional level but he has remained tight-lipped on the matter.
“He keeps telling us that he has a contract with the Ministry of Public Infrastructure and he has to deal directly with that agency.”
However, when calls were made to the Ministry of Public Infrastructure they have since distanced themselves from the project. The Ministry says that the project falls under the Culture, Youth and Sport agency. When Kaieteur News tried to make contact with Marlon Chapman who claimed to be the Supervisor of the company on Wednesday and also claimed to be the contractor the previous day, he told this publication via telephone, “I don’t know what is going on” and hung up.
The Regional Chairman argued that problems as such will arise when contractors are not selected based on their past record. “There are contractors in this region that have the ability and capacity and know how to execute those projects.
“The money would have remained in the region but unfortunately we have a contractor
coming from Linden. Nobody knows about him. I have never heard about him.” He stated that projects are awarded based on the most responsive bidder, one who has the machinery, money and capacity to execute the job to the standard that is acceptable.
When this publication contacted the Ministry of Education, we were told that a response will be provided shortly by Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo on the issue.
During another visit to the site, the area seemed desolate with no workers in sight. Machinery that was reportedly rented from Eron Lall Construction & Rental Services was seen at the construction area, which gave an indication that the machinery does not belong to the contracted company.
Cumberbatch told reporters that the company will take responsibility for the mishap. He stated, “These men were working and someone made a faulty move and the thing collapsed”. He also refused to provide the name of the company but recent investigations by this publication revealed that the name of the company is Alternative Contracting Enterprise based in Mackenzie, Linden. The owner has been revealed as Derek Wilson. The company reportedly came into being in 2008.
With a second visit to the site, this publication noticed what seemed to be a “weak” foundation with three-inch concrete hallow blocks used to make the cone of the edifice. An experienced person in construction related that the steel rods looked extremely far apart, with no solid base to withstand the structure within, hence causing it to collapse.
The Design Consultant for the project is Innovative Engineering Consultancy Services. The Supervisory Consultant is FEPCam Inc.
The investigation revealed that the cylindrical wall was built with six-inch hollow blocks instead of a reinforced concrete in accordance with the design drawing.
Further, the vertical reinforcing base is placed mostly at block joints rather than in the core. The hollow core block work has also started to fail. It is showing signs of large cracks.
To compound the shortcomings, reef sand was used as the compacted fill. This material is high in clay content hence the slippage and subsequent collapse.
Tenders were reportedly put out late last year for the project with companies from Berbice also bidding, however, the company from Linden was selected.
The Monument is said to have cost in excess of $97 Million with the Indian Government making a contribution of US$150,000.
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