Aug 11, 2020 News Comments Off on Minister Edghill questions where $200M In asphalt went
Minister responsible for Public Works, Juan Edghill, yesterday revealed to Kaieteur News that some $200M is owed to the Demerara Harbor Bridge Cooperation (DHBC) for asphalt procured by the previous A Partnership For National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) administration. This hefty debt has raised further concerns with Edghill as he now questions which projects the tonnes of asphalt went to complete.
It was during an interview with Kaieteur News yesterday afternoon when Edghill highlighted that he became aware of the debt when he had assumed office, only some days ago. In fact, it was on Thursday last when the General Manager of the DHBC, Rawlston Adams, had convened a meeting with Edghill, at which point he indicated that the previous infrastructure ministry had owed the Demerara Harbor Bridge $200M.According to the Public Works Minister, the asphalt, which is assumed to be in tonnes, were procured one month leading up to the March 2, General and Regional Elections. The last procurement of asphalt, notably, was dated at July 31, two days before the Guyana Elections Commission had declared Dr. Irfaan Ali as President.
Meanwhile, General Manager of DHBC told Kaieteur News last evening that all of the orders were made by the Chief Roads Officer under the then Public Works Ministry. “They” Adams said, “would usually write to us requesting for an order and would ask us to deliver for the different road projects.”
When enquired about whether DHBC had informed the previous ministry about balances that were outstanding, Adams responded in the affirmative. “We would tell them everyone month what they owed us,” he said, while adding that the then ministry has always been late on their payments.
Compounding issues is the fact that the previous APNU+AFC failed to make themselves available for a takeover and transition meeting when the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) had assumed office. With this Edghill had expressed “If you have a handover then you have an institutional passage, but now we have to go into everything and we don’t want it to look as though we are conducting a witch hunt.”
Nonetheless, the minister indicated that he’s working to receive the details regarding the procurement of the road-building material.
“We have to see the justification for that expenditure,” Edghill said, “that it was indeed procured and on what terms,” while also adding that the $200M debt just shows the “slack management of the DHBC
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