A government investigation into an embarrassing collapse of a monument at Palmyra, East Berbice late April has found several things wrong including the fact that no geo-technical surveys were conducted.
One phase of the project- which includes landscaping- has now been handed over to BK International for completion.
The project has also been taken over by the Ministry of Public Infrastructure for completion.
“The Government of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana is deeply disappointed in the recent collapse of the base of the Indian Immigration Monument at Palmyra. This project commenced under the former PPP but was stalled for several years,” the statement said.
It was explained that the Coalition Government resuscitated the project to allow for its successful completion to “honour our foreparents who came from India.”
Following the collapse of the base of the monument, Cabinet said it took a decision that the Ministry of Public Infrastructure (MPI) would assume responsibility for the oversight of the project.
It was disclosed that the construction of the base represented Phase 2 of the project.
Phase 1 was the construction of the access road – approximately 60 per cent of which has been completed to date by the contractor for this phase – Civil Engineering Works (CEW).
Phase 3 concerned landscaping and works have since been suspended. BK International has been contracted for Phase 3.
It was found that in the Phase 1, contracted to CEW, the budgeted amount was for $43,027,544
However, for this phase, only $26,522,000 has been paid.
The second phase, contracted to Alternate Contracting Enterprise (ACE), was for a budgeted $42,232,239. Only $22,803,000 has been paid out.
According to the government’s statement, it was found that for Phase 3, the budgeted amount was $8,250,270 with over $7.3M paid out so far.
The project, totaling over $93M, had been handled by the Department of Culture, Youth and Sport, which falls under the Ministry of Education,
“Following the transfer of documents related to the project from the Department of Culture, Youth and Sport, Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson and Minister within the Ministry Annette Ferguson called meetings with the supervisory consultants (FEBCAM), the design consultants Innovative Engineering Consultant Services (IECS), the contractor, Alternate Contracting Enterprise (ACE), the MPI Work Services Group Technical Team and other stakeholders.”
It was found that a design report for the project was not prepared.
“IECS was not the initial designer of the project, Design Consultants Services Limited was.
Geotechnical surveys to determine soil properties and design requirements were not done. IECS requested geotechnical investigations but was advised that this was not budgeted for,” the government statement disclosed.
Shockingly, it was revealed that workers were forced to use assumptions for the soil data in lieu of geo-technical surveys.
“It is important to note that this project commenced under the previous PPP administration and thus this aspect of the project was concluded prior to the Coalition Government coming to office. Further, the site for the monument was also selected by the previous administration with former Minister Dr. Anthony then at the helm of the sector.”
FEBCAM, it was found, revised the project design without adequate engineering analysis.
“The monument base was to have been constructed using a four foot wide footing. Block walls were to have been in-filled with structural concrete, not mortar.”
The internal monument base was to have been eight-inch thick reinforced concrete wall and not block work infilled with mortar.
It was the infilling with mortar which was done and which subsequently failed.
It was disclosed that the MPI Work Services Group Technical Team is engaged in conducting a comprehensive and thorough design review of the project, inclusive of geotechnical surveys. Specialised geotechnical surveys services are being contracted.
“It is important to note that the monument donated by the Government of India weighs a substantial 17 tons, therefore geo-technical analysis is vital. Preliminary information suggests that the construction methodology used in the construction of the base of the monument was flawed which resulted in the collapse of the structure.”
The statement said that the Coalition Government remains committed to the completion of the project and the erection of the Indian Immigration Monument at the earliest possible time.
“The Coalition Government is also committed to taking up the offer from the Government of India to provide technical expertise for the erection of the monument and will pursue this accordingly. Further updates will be provided at the appropriate time.”
The monument collapsed in late April, raising questions about the quality of work and the level of supervision.
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