Dec 12, 2020 News
Delays in construction of St. Roses High, Yarrowkabra Secondary…
Kaieteur News – When asked by Kaieteur News why the Alliance For Change (AFC), when in government, had failed to hold BK International Incorporated and Courtney Benn Contracting Services Limited accountable for failing to complete the construction of two schools, General Secretary of the party David Patterson opted to provide excuses.
It was during an AFC press conference yesterday when Patterson was reminded that the government had terminated the contracts for the $412M St. Rose’s High School that was awarded to Courtney Benn Contracting, as well as the $827M Yarrowkabra Secondary awarded BK in early November. According to the termination letters, their termination followed after both contractors had failed to honour their contractual obligations.
It was against this backdrop that Patterson was asked whether the APNU+AFC should have been more aggressive with the handling of the aforementioned contractors.
In response to this, Patterson maintained that any contractor found “skirting” around their contractual obligations, these contractors had still failed on completing construction of the schools, which was slated for completion this year.
However, Patterson claimed that the delays in the construction of the St. Rose’s High were due to changes in the foundation of the school. He explained that following the demolition of the school, which took place in 2018, it was advised by consultants that the foundation need to be pile-driven, which then increased the project sum to $412,340,357. Only 9% of the works were completed.
He went on to say that because the Ministry of Education (MoE) lacked the technical expertise to make that decision, as well as had changes to the initial design, the contract that was awarded in 2018 was delayed.
To this he continues, “This is what led to us establishing the Inspection Division in the Ministry of Education for infrastructure. You know that we hired about 40 engineers about mid-2019. That case played the backbone, because what we found was that on the side of the government, there was no technical group who could make the decisions.”
Kaieteur News had reported in September that an advancement of $60M was issued towards Courtney Benn for St. Rose’s construction. However, shortly after the initial stages of a pile-driving exercise began in January 2020, the school’s Board of Governors observed that the contractor had abandoned the site. In fact, the School’s Board reported that the contractor had removed all of their construction gear and personnel from the Camp and Church Streets site, and was keen to note that no explanations were given to them by the contractor for their abandonment. Except for their termination, no actions were taken to reprimand the contractor.
With regards to the construction of the $827M Yarrowkabra Secondary School on the Soesdyke Highway, Patterson explained that the inexperience of the engineers attached to the MoE resulted in why the school could not be completed within its deadline. Even with receiving a $214M advance, only 5% of the scheduled works have been completed. Notwithstanding this, Patterson called on the government to continue the construction of the school.
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