With an estimated $700M already spent by the former administration to construct
the controversial building at High and Princes Streets, Georgetown – formerly the Guyana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) – the Government is expected to plug an additional $750M to carry out works there.
In an advertisement published in Sunday’s edition of the Kaieteur News captioned, “Extension of Tender Opening Invitation for Bids”, qualified contractors were invited to bid for the project, “Completion of the Administration Building”.
The Ministry of Social Protection appears to be the procuring entity, since the advertisement was published under the entity’s header.
While the advertisement did not specify the location of the administration building, an official from the Accounts Department of the Ministry of Social Protection, Lamaha and East Streets, confirmed the location to be the High and Princes Streets building.
The department is selling the bidding documents for the project.
Previous reports have indicated that the building was slated to become the headquarters of the Social Protection Ministry.
The complex was built in 2008 and would have come under intense scrutiny when numerous defects were noticed.
Kishan Bacchus Construction Company had carried out works on the foundation and on several
other parts of the project. It was later revealed that the building’s foundation contained sub-standard material and the ceiling was improperly designed.
The construction company would have secured the contract after the initial contractor backed out of the project. It is still unclear if anyone was penalised for the shoddy work.
The complex, which is approximately 65,000 square feet, is abandoned, with several sections overrun with vegetation.
A security guard was seen stationed at the building yesterday morning when this publication visited.
Last year, the Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman, disclosed that the Ministry of Public Infrastructure was examining how the current building could be used without posing a danger to people’s lives. He said that the building continues to pose an embarrassment to the past administration – the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C).
According to Trotman, both the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission and the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) would have together put over $400 Million into the building’s construction.
The situation is so bad that the “very minimum of persons and furniture would have to be put in the building for it to be used,” Trotman said.
A forensic audit report ordered by Government last year, had found that the building involved the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), the state-owned entity which handles investments. NICIL’s negligence resulted in some $350M in taxpayers’ money being wasted, the forensic audit report said.
The report has stated that Kishan Bacchus had operated without bond and owed over $50M for works he did not complete but had received payments.
It is still unclear if the contractor repaid this amount.
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