Dec 24, 2020 News
Kaieteur News – The People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) government could have opted to cash in on the close to US$15 million bond on the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) expansion project instead of penning a new deal with the Chinese contractor, China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) for a mere US$9 million.
Offering those comments was the former Public Infrastructure Minister, David Patterson.
His comments emerge just one day after government entered a new agreement with CHEC for supplementary works to be conducted at the country’s main port of entry after numerous delays.
Those works amount to US$9 million, a cost CHEC agreed to foot.
Since taking office, government was having hiccups with CHEC in efforts to ensure that the new and modernised airport it was promised, almost a decade ago, was delivered. But Guyanese would have to wait a little longer as the new agreement signed outlined an end date of December 2021.
However, Patterson opined that government could utilise the bond instead and retain another contractor to complete the works in view of the fact that on numerous occasions, CHEC breached contract obligations.
“On the face of it, this is excellent news, kudos to the team. However, the devil has always been in the details. At present, GoG is holding more than US$15M in retention and performance bonds for CHEC. These become payable on January 1, 2021 so if they do not fix all the issues by December 31, 2020, the bonds are redeemable on demand,” Patterson explained.
He continued, “If this agreement is for the GoG to redeem the bonds plus CHEC will invest another US$9M in additional works, excellent. I suspect this deal means that CHEC will be able to keep the US$15M and use some to do the additional works – versus GoG cashing the bonds and getting another contractor to complete the works.”
The CJIA expansion contract had passed through the Granger presidency where Patterson served and they too had issues with the contractor. When asked if actions would have been taken to reprimand CHEC for breaching contractual obligations, Patterson noted that the Coalition had planned to cash the bond and hire another contractor to complete the necessary works to deliver a new and modernized airport.
Meanwhile, government said the new works will include an extension of the Airport’s boarding corridor in order to accommodate two more passenger boarding bridges, providing the Airport with a total of six boarding bridges capable of servicing aircraft such as the Boeing 777, Dreamliner, the AirBus and similar Trans-Atlantic aircraft.
It will also entail the Terminal Building being extended to provide accommodation for additional commercial space such as food courts and duty-free shops. The extended building will feature a modern airport façade covering the full length of the Departure Terminal, the release outlined.
It stated too that CHEC agreed to “rectify and complete all outstanding remedial works” within prescribed timelines.
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