Jan 10, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – Continuing to disregard the government’s deadlines is China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC). This is after the Chinese contractor had failed on completing critical outstanding tasks at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) by a December 2020 deadline.
It was previously agreed upon that the contractor would complete 34 out of the 71 critical items at the US$150M airport by December 31, 2020. Concerningly however, CHEC has only managed to complete 13 of those 34 items as of January 7, 2021, as revealed by CJIA authorities.
Due to their inability to complete the tasks, Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill, has called on CHEC to adhere to strict timelines to complete outstanding works on the airport. But even with these calls of urgency, no penalties have been stipulated by the government if CHEC fails to honor those commitments.
Speaking at a meeting with CHEC officials at CJIA on Friday, Minister Edghill had said, “the new things to be done as well as the old items to be fixed have to be done together and if we find that there are slippages, I will have to make the necessary intervention because we cannot allow for last minute rush.”
Edghill continued, “The Government of Guyana, in good faith, entered into that agreement with China Harbour Engineering Company and we signed an amicable settlement agreement that requires actions on both parts. We have upheld our end of the bargain as noble and as sincere. As Government, we expect no less from CHEC.”
As part of their remedial objectives, CHEC was therefore pressed to submit to the Government, a Resource Allocation Plan no later than January 31. This plan will provide a guide for the Administration on how CHEC intends to execute its obligations within the agreed timeframes.
Additionally, the contractor was urged to complete the preliminary designs for the curtain walls, a corridor to facilitate the two air bridges and a superstructure for the building at the front of the airport. Preliminary designs for these items are due January 31 and final designs are expected in March.
“We need to have those because we need to get them agreed on, [So, we can] start procurement and we start work. We know how long the civil works have been taking you and we can’t have wishful thinking that if we start in October, we will finish by December 31 . It is not going to happen and we are not going to tolerate it,” Minister Edghill said.
Minister Edghill had also called for better communication among the contractor, project manager and project engineers as this is critical to swiftly resolve any issues that may arise. To this end, the Minister said he and the CJIA’s CEO, Ramesh Ghir, and the project consultant would meet all parties involved to iron out any issue.
Concerning ongoing works, Minister Edghill admitted that there might be challenges at the airport to execute contractual works while the facility is operational, but he maintained that the works must proceed. In this regard, he said, “there must be somebody who is working closely to ensure there is proper planning ahead of time so we can be able to make the necessary adjustments.”
In December, Government brokered an agreement with CHEC for the company to undertake $1.8 billion in works on CJIA at no additional cost to taxpayers.
This represented a major breakthrough for the President Irfaan Ali Administration as the PPP/C had criticized the APNU+AFC, in and out of the National Assembly, for reducing, the scope of the original contract signed in 2012, thereby short-changing Guyanese.
The project is years behind its completion date and the new agreement stipulates December 31, 2021 as the date by which all outstanding works must be done so that taxpayers could have value for money.
The additional works that CHEC agreed to undertake entail:
1. An extension of the airport’s boarding corridor 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, Dream liner, the Airbus and similar trans-Atlantic aircraft.
2. An extension of the Terminal Building 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.
CHEC has also agreed to rectify and complete all outstanding remedial works within prescribed timelines.
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