Aug 11, 2020 News Comments Off on Public Works Ministry yet to see BK’s $352M contract
Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill, yesterday indicated that he has not yet seen the $352M contract that was awarded to BK International Incorporated by the previous Public Infrastructure Ministry. This multi-million contract was awarded on June 16 by the then ministry headed by David Patterson, for BK to construct “emergency’ rip-rap sea defence works between Danzig and Content in Mahaicony, Region Five.
This project followed after powerful high tides had devastated parts of coastal Guyana in 2019, with thousands of families living near the shoreline struggling to keep their belongings, livestock and farmlands from being damaged by saltwater that had breached the coastland.
During an interview with Kaieteur News yesterday, Minister Edghill had stated that while he has not yet viewed the contract, but that he has received a briefing regarding it, while stating that the contract is currently under “active consideration”.
“But the bottom line is,” Minister Edghill maintained, “that the farmers, residents and the people must be protected by having the breach fixed, and the longer you take it could mean that the breach could only worsen.”
BK International Inc., owed by Brian Tiwari, had been awarded the contract on June 16. However, two months have passed and no significant work or mobilization has begun on the project by the contractor. This was confirmed when Kaieteur News had visited the project site on July 19 and then later last week when the junior Public Works Minister, Deodat Indar, had visited the same site.
Compounding issues is the fact that an advancement of $105M was made by the previous A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) administration to BK for the ‘emergency’ sea defence works.
However, BK International, in a statement to the press yesterday, provided details of the advancement that were contrary to what was told by Kaieteur News by Minister Indar. What BK specifically indicated in its statement yesterday was “The contract cost is $352 million. BK international was awarded $52 million as advance payment. This sum represents 15 percent of the contract cost.”
The statement further went on to state that BK’s chief engineer, Ganesh Sawh, had said that his team was issued a commencement order on June 22, 2020. However, according to the contractor, “there was a fault in the design provided to BK International” and “an approach was made to the Public Service Ministry and the correction was made on August 3, 2020.” With this, Sawh said that practical work commenced the very next day. Again, this is contrary to what was revealed to Kaieteur News by Minister Indar, who visited the site on August 7th.
During Minister Indar’s visit he was informed by Sawh that the breach would be fixed in 40 days’ time, contrary to what an engineer at the site had told Kaieteur News weeks ago, who at the time indicated that the seals would’ve taken at last two years to complete.
Nonetheless, Indar was quick to question the lengthy duration of the project, which he reminded, has cost millions in losses to farmers along the embankment. With this, Indar emphasized that this seal should have been in place since July.
Minister Edghill related yesterday that the ministry will be meeting with all of the contractors that have not been performing works on their projects. He shared that yesterday he met with Courtney Benn Contracting Services concerning a number of roads yet to be completed.
“We also met with the contractors for the Mandela and Sheriff Road construction” he said, and highlighted that the ministry is expected to convene a meeting with the contractors for the controversial US$150M Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA). These meetings” Edghill said “will be aimed at rectifying the issues at hand regarding their works.”
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