-to import another 50 “specialist” Chinese
China Harbour Engineering Company Limited (CHEC), the contractor for the multi-billion dollar Timehri airport project, is moving to lay-off 20 labourers and bring in more specialist workers to meet the December deadline.
Yesterday, a senior official of CHEC confirmed that a decision has been taken to let the labourers go as they were “weak” in their performance.
As of yesterday, the Chinese contractor and CJIA were advertising for an English translator, Office Clerk, operators of loaders, bulldozers, excavators, land levellers, road roller, truck drivers, brick layers, carpenters, electricians and maintenance workers.
According to the CHEC officer, currently there are 150 local workers and 120 Chinese on site.
It was pointed out that under the contract, CHEC was allowed to have Chinese comprising up to 60 percent of the work force. Currently, there are more locals on the ground.
The Chinese official noted that on a daily basis a local foreman would produce a report on who worked and for how many hours. Also reported on is how much work was completed.
A recent assessment, it was explained, found that the project would be in trouble as about 20 of the local workers were found to be “weak” and not performing as expected.
Last Friday was payday and the news of the layoffs was reportedly relayed to the workers.
The affected workers may be given until month-end.
CHEC has been given until yearend to complete the runway and the new Arrival terminal.
It was disclosed, yesterday, that the Chinese company will be seeking permission to bring in another 50 Chinese, who are specialists, to help accelerate the work. The Chinese workers would concentrate on the terminal building.
Last month, officials said that the US$150M project was more than 60 percent complete.
The Arrivals building was said to be 30 percent complete.
The project is progressing without any change to the original plan, according to several Ministry of Public Infrastructure (MPI) officials, including Minister David Patterson, during a media update/site visit.
The US$138M loan agreement was signed on November 11, 2011 between the Government of Guyana (GoG) and CHEC. The project is being funded through the Export-Import Bank of China.
The Guyana Government procured the services of engineering consultants – the MMM Group and CEMCO Incorporated – and undertook the relocation of airport facilities, moving the total cost of the project to US$150M.
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, the deadline was adjusted to December 1, 2017.
As of last month, payments the sum of US$85,185,888 had already been paid out. Of this sum, US$10,752,685 came from local funding and $74,433,203 from the EXIM Bank of China.
The runway, currently measuring 2270 metres (m), is being extended by 710 metres (m) to the north-east and 840m to the south-west.
The initial design of the runway catered for one end of the structure (northeast) to be extended. However, the contractor ran into problems after terrain was found to be not suitable for the full extension.
The works on the south-western end of the runway is 80 percent complete with more backfilling needed. The engineer said that some five million cubic metres (m3) of sand would have already been dropped on this end of the runway with an additional one million cubic metres left to be dumped.
The administration, on taking power in May 2015, had halted the project, finding that poor supervision and overpayments were major problems.
Following negotiations, CHEC was allowed to restart without the country having to pay more. However, there were reportedly some design changes.
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