Oct 22, 2020 News
– was given five-day deadline since August
By Shikema Dey
Kaieteur News – Chinese contractor, China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), continues to display blatant disrespect to the governing administration as it has not yet submitted the revised work plan for the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) US$150 million and counting renovation project after being given a five-day deadline back in August.
That deadline was granted by the Ministry of Public Works, since August 28 after a visit by President Irfaan Ali. However, when asked yesterday if the contractor met the deadline, Public Works Minister, Juan Edghill answered in the negative.
He said, “I have not seen as of now a work plan that will give us what His Excellency, President Ali, requested when he visited the airport.”
That revised work plan is expected to capture the agreed upon terms in the initial contract signed by the contractor and the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C), which was also in government back in 2011. It is also expected to outline how the long list of defects at the country’s main port of entry will be fixed and a revised deadline.
The multi-billion dollar contract has been in the hands of CHEC during the PPP/C tenure from 2011-2015. The project should have been completed in December 31, 2018 but substandard works turned what should have been a state-of-the-art airport into merely a renovated facility.
When asked about government’s next move, Minister Edghill said, “There is a continual engagement between the government and CHEC to deliver an airport that is in keeping with what we envisaged and that engagement is continuing and the contractor has been advised that, that engagement will take place at the highest level from the office of the President.”
CHEC has been under fire for the shoddy works done at the airport, on multiple occasions. In fact, government was forced to cease the heft duty-free concession handed to the company after it failed to adhere to its contractual obligations.
While the initial cost for the renovation stood at US$150 million, the governing PPP/C will still have to pump an additional US$6.5 million to ensure that the almost 10-year-old project is completed to international standards.
Notably, contention continues to grow over the cost of the airport, after in January of this year, recent invitations for bids advertised in the daily newspapers had indicated that the airport needed a new fence for its public car park and an access control security hut. These intended projects, which stand outside of the US$150 million and counting contract, are not alone.
There are also plans for a new parking lot valued at $122 million, a cargo facility, a commercial centre, an office area and a parking lot, all advertised last year.
It has been argued, however, that the projects should never have been left out in the first place, as contractors have told Kaieteur News that the amount and quality of work being done to renovate the terminal building since it began could have been done for US$5 million – 30 times less than the more than US$150 million that taxpayers are expected to foot.
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