The Ministry of Public Works has awarded a contract to the tune of $168M to local contractor, M&B Construction, for the repair of 100 meters of compromised sea defence at Dantzig, Mahaicony, Region Five.
Initially, Brian Tiwari’s BK International Incorporated was identified to complete the repairs on the 100 meters of breached sea defence, especially considering that the breach occurred close to where BK was conducting repairs.
However, because these repairs to the sea defence are so time-sensitive, along with the fact that residents have lost millions of dollars in livestock and damage to property, the Public Works Ministry thought it necessary to retender the project.
“I have gotten Cabinet’s ‘no objection’, and as far as I have been informed, works should have commenced,” said Public Works Minister, Juan Edghill, in an invited comment to Kaieteur News yesterday.
Minister Edghill had indicated that on August 20 last, the estimate for the fixing of the 100 meters breach could be about $145M. It is unclear, however, what is the justification for the variation of $28M between the previous estimate and the current contract total.
Notably, Junior Public Works Minister, Deodat Indar, had shared that this 100 meter breach could expand further, causing more damage and resulting in additional funds being expended. “That 100 meters,” Indar said, “in a couple of days can become 200, 300, 400…and it extends as the water keeps gushing into the riverfront, the oceanfront. So to stop the escalation, the speed to react is the most critical thing”.
In October of 2019, powerful high tides had devastated parts of coastal Guyana, with thousands of families living near the shoreline struggling to keep their belongings, livestock and farmlands from being damaged by saltwater as a result of the breached sea defence.
At the time, the Ministry of Public Infrastructure (MoPI) under the previous A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) administration had ramped up works with contractors along certain points at the Mahaicony foreshore. Close to $1B was spent to seal the breaches. Initially, the contract to repair severe sea defence damage was awarded to A&S General Contractors but was later transferred to BK International Inc., following poor works executed by A&S.
In June of this year, BK International was awarded a contract of $352M by the same previous government to complete “urgent flood protection works”, however, to date, little movement has been made on the 500 meters allocated to that contractor.
Notably, despite being the highest bidder for the project by the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB), BK International was awarded the $352M contract, some $74M more than its already relatively high bid offer. BK International was one of the three companies which bid to secure the contract. The other two companies are MB Construction which submitted a $235,744,500 bid and Colin Talbot Contracting Services which submitted a $247,599,600 bid, while the engineer’s estimate was $184,521,000. BK’s bid was $278,876,300 – some $31M over the next highest bid and more than $90M over the engineer’s estimate.
BK and the MoPI had defended this $74M increase, stating that an additional 150 meters were added to the original project, which took the scope of works to 500 meters.
Kaieteur News has made numerous attempts to view the contract between the government and BK but those efforts have been unsuccessful.
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