As Guyana gets ready to take possession of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) from the Chinese contractor, there are more revelations about how the US$150M was spent.
It has long been established that many of the costs placed in the contract documents signed between the Government of Guyana and China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) were astronomically inflated.
For example, according to the 2011 contract, Guyana agreed that CHEC would install 36 of the 46-inch screen monitors for the Flight Information Display System.
Each was worth a whopping US$6,548.90 each ($1,310,000). In total US$235,760.40 ($47,152,080) would have set aside for those 36 of the 46-inch TVs.
On the local market, each at 2011, when the contract was signed, would have cost about $300,000.
That is only one of the many examples of the inflated prices.
Well, there is one other major cost that the Chinese company reportedly got Guyana to agree to.
Under the agreement, CHEC would have received access to sandpits. There were no costs to the pits. The pits are located in the vicinity of the runway which was being extended.
The Chinese reportedly placed a cost of $7,000 per truckload for moving sand from the pit to the runway area.
In fact, says Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson, CHEC claimed it ferried one million truckloads of sand to the runway and other areas of the airport.
This works out at a massive US$35M in sand alone that CHEC would reportedly charge Guyana for the project.
CHEC had wasted thousands of truckloads on the northern end of the runway but abandoned a large part of that area because of poor soil conditions.
Guyana agreed to absorb part of that cost, Government has admitted.
Patterson, when asked, would not speak about the new designs for the entire airport.
Government had said that it was forced to reduce the scope of works for the project which really started in 2013 and was supposed to be completed in 2015.
The minister was a few weeks ago responding to questions from Kaieteur News about the costs, during a visit to the Saffon Street office.
To ferry those sand, CHEC would have been using trucks it would have imported into Guyana using duty free concessions.
The extended deadline for the Chinese contractor, CHEC, would have been the end of last year.
It was further extended to this month-end.
Among other things, there was supposed to be a brand-new two-storey terminal building to replace the aging one that was unable to cope with the crowds.
The old terminal was supposed to be torn down.
However, this administration decided to keep the old building and renovate it. It built a way smaller building to the south of the old one to cater for the arrivals area.
The new building would have boasted energy-efficient solutions including a glass roof and skylights worth $1.1B.
The project has been drastically modified by the Coalition Government.
There are no details whether Guyana is still obligated for the US$138M in loan it took from China.
The project involves a Chinese contractor and now spans three administrations and is largely shrouded in secrecy.
What is known is that the contract was halted in 2015 when the Coalition Government came to office. The contractor was allowed to restart work.
However, what Guyana is now getting is not what is reflected in the contract.
Guyana has taken a loan of US$138M from China with the additional US$12M coming in counterpart financing from the Government.
The Opposition, too, has been silent on a contract, which it signed secretly with CHEC in Jamaica.
CHEC itself has been largely left unregulated.
It reportedly used its resources granted under concessions for the airport project to simultaneously work on the MovieTowne project.
That project is complete. The airport is not.
A few weeks ago, Kaieteur News in a front page comment, had asked for Government to come clean on the airport project, including making the new designs available.
The project is the largest ongoing infrastructural one.
There have been no answers as yet from the administration.
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