Dec 03, 2020 News
Kaieteur News – More than US$150 million has already been exhausted on the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) renovation project but, according to the Chinese Contractor, China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), more money would be needed to ensure that it is completed per government’s specifications.
The company indicated this in its revised work plan for the project that was recently submitted to the Public Works Ministry.
That request, however, did not sit well with Public Works Minister, Juan Edghill, who made it clear that the governing administration will be expending no further funds on the project.
“It is a solution that does not fit within the US$150 million programme that was signed as the original contract. We are coming from a position that whatever is the solution, it must not require the Government of Guyana to have to spend any more money,” the Minister told Kaieteur News.
“We have a count of US$150 million; US$138 million from China EXIM Bank, US$12 million from GOG, we have already gone pass the US$150 million because of the two extra air bridges. We have had to pay for some work in terms of getting the tarmac fixed. We had had to spend additional money outside of the contract to do other things, to get the airport running,” he said. According to the Minister too, any other solution posed by the contractor has to “somehow” be within the purview of the initial contract sum.
CHEC was given a final chance to submit the revised plan capturing the agreed upon terms in the initial contract signed, along with an outline of how the long list of defects at the country’s main port of entry will be fixed and a revised deadline.
The initial contract specified that Guyana’s new and modern port of entry should be one with facilities for eight air bridges, new terminal space to accommodate the absent air bridges along with aprons and taxiways to facilitate the completion of the extended runway.
According to the Public Works Minister, 200 issues have been identified for repairs in the revised work plan.
“Some of it,” Minister Edghill explained, “are works that have already been done, that have to be fixed that are not satisfactory; some of the things to be done are not yet done; some of the things are done but not done according to scope, and those are the things that have to be fixed, over 200 items that have been identified by the project engineer and project consultant to the contractor. The revised scope which we are defending, that’s the eight air bridges and others.”
However, to correct all of this, CHEC said, government would have to invest more money to see it done.
Previously, the Minister had indicated that “strict action” would be taken against the contractor if it had failed to submit the revised work plan lacking the key components from the initial contract.
With a new work plan submitted, demanding more money, Kaieteur News questioned the Public Works Minister on what would be government’s next step. To this, he said, “all the necessary actions to ensure compliance and to ensure that the interests of the people of Guyana are met will be taken.”
Contention continued 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 these 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 already more than US$150 million that taxpayers are expected to foot.
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