Sep 26, 2020 News
According to the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira, some $650M worth in equipment to upgrade the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) is yet to be delivered by the company awarded to do so. These and other concerning details were shared by the Minister on Monday, during the consideration of budget estimates, specifically the Department of Citizenship under the former Ministry of the Presidency (MoTP).
During the consideration of the estimates, member of the Opposition and former Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr. Karen Cummings had asked why the hefty $711M had been allocated in 2019 for furniture and equipment under the Citizenry Department.
It was in response to this that Teixeira explained that, “Apparently this number, which is large in sum, relates to equipment that was ordered to do with the upgrading of the CJIA immigration passport arrangement for passport issuance, border scanners and so forth.”
She indicated that $650M of the $711M was ordered from Canadian Bank Note (CBN) to build the airport’s capacity in a modern and efficient way. The smaller amount of $100M, the minister noted, was spent on support equipment such as scanners and computers which arrived in February of this year.
“I don’t have a copy of that contract in my possession,” Teixeira told the National Assembly’s Committee of Supply, and went on to note that the items for the renovation and expansion of the airport were single sourced.
Notably, the bill for CJIA expansion project, already at US$150M is one that continues to climb as Minister of Public Works Juan Edghill, recently disclosed that an additional US$6.5M is needed to complete the almost ten year old project.
Though the contract for these additional works has not yet been awarded, Minister Edghill last week had highlighted during his second budget presentation that the works are “needed” since the current state of the $150M airport is heavily deficient and dysfunctional.
Edghill related to the National Assembly on Friday that the initial contract was reduced from 9,000 square meters to 4,046. Even with the reduction in the scope of works, the contractor, China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), still could not meet the deadline for the handing over of the airport on several occasions.
The Public Works Minister emphasized that the airport expansion, which was expected to be enough to transform the port into a regional transit hub, needs to be fixed to an advanced standard. The government maintains, however, that the completion of the airport by China Harbour is the first priority. “That is one thing,” Edghill said, “but even if we complete everything on that contract we still have to go ahead and do these additional works.”
These new works, measured to cover 4,954 square meters, is estimated to cost GY $1.3 billion, while the supervision and the consultancy for the design of the new project will cost GY$69M.
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