It’s time for the people to decide whether they got their money’s worth. The government must release the modified design on the Cheddi Jagan
International Airport (CJIA) renovation to the public, immediately, says Leader of the political Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo.
With $30B (and counting) going into a renovation that some contractors say could have been done for just $1B, Government has a lot to answer for, on that airport renovation.
It’s awful enough that the original design excluded a cargo facility, a parking lot, an office space for airlines, and a commercial centre. The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has accepted some criticism for that since the original contract was inked by Jagdeo’s administration.
He has claimed that those facilities were left out so that the construction works could be procured locally.
But now, even what was left inside that original design isn’t all there. The government claimed that, when it assumed office in 2015, it noted several issues with the plan as it was.
Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson, said that Government found a mere seven percent of the work done with China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) laying claims to more than half the money –US$90M.
It claimed that drastic changes needed to be made. It then made those changes and didn’t even announce them until recently.
Instead of a brand new terminal building for the Arrivals and Departures along with a longer runway, there was renovation of the old terminal buildings and a smaller structure for the Arrivals.
The number of passenger bridges has been reduced from eight to four and the fancy, energy–saving glass roof that CHEC, the contractor, promised is now zinc sheets.
The Opposition insisted that Government illegally modified the fixed price contract with CHEC.
It seems that time after time, the airport encounters some new issue. One day, it was flooding. Another, it was air bridges that were out of order.
And throughout this, travelers have been required to pay an additional fee, which will automatically be included in the ticket price, from July 1, 2019.
Kaieteur News has compared the airport pre-renovation to the current structure, but it’s up the citizens, now, to determine if Guyana got its money’s worth.
In an interview with this publication yesterday, Jagdeo said that if the modified design is released, the people will see massive alterations to it.
“The Minister keeps creating the impression that he did better than what the original contract was. So this will disprove his entire assertion,” the former President said.
Jagdeo added that because of this, Patterson is extremely unlikely to release the modified design.
Calls have been made before, by the political opposition, for the modified design to be released, and government has not done so.
During a recent press conference, Kaieteur News posed the question to the coalition’s lesser partner, the Alliance for Change (AFC) whether it would hold Patterson accountable and demand the release of the modified design, in light of the structural issues CJIA currently faces.
Cathy Hughes, Minister of Public Telecommunications, said that Patterson would be “on top of” any issues being faced at the airport, and that she would raise the question with Patterson, asking him to respond to the publication.
Minister Hughes had stressed that Guyana has a terrible history of corruption, but that this administration is committed to working on and changing it.
Yet, when Kaieteur News brought up the topic last Thursday with Hughes, she said that she hasn’t spoken to Patterson about the release of the modified design. She had said “Why don’t you ask Patterson?”
Jagdeo once said that it’s likely there has been collusion by the government and the contractor. What do you think? Should Government release the modified design?
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