Sep 15, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – After expending more than US$160M, the PPP/C administration is still pumping more money into the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) Expansion Project; with a tender now out to facilitate the rehabilitation of the existing roof at the country’s main port of entry.
According to the ‘Invitation to Bid’ notice published on the Department of Public Information’s (DPI) website on Tuesday, the Ministry of Public Works is inviting sealed bids for the ‘Rehabilitation of the Existing Roof – Option 3 at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, East Bank Demerara.’ The project is estimated to cost $23.3 million.
Even though the Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill, recently promised that, the total cost for the project will not exceed US$200 million that cannot be guaranteed, as the project is currently a work-in-progress.
Only recently, the Public Works Minister himself commissioned a new runway, complete with an Instrument Landing System (ILS) touted to reduce flights diversion by 90 percent. That aspect of the airport was completed at a cost of $518 million. It formed part of the wider expansion project being undertaken by the Chinese Contractor, China Harbour Engineering Corporation (CHEC).
It was only yesterday Kaieteur News reported that the Ministry of Public Works recently awarded a contract for US$2M to a local company named Total Solutions, for the supply of two additional air bridges for the long ongoing Cheddi Jagan International Airport project.
It was noted, however, that the Ministry paid some US$350,000 more for the two air bridges than the previous administration had paid for the same facility. The new air-bridges are for larger code D & E size aircraft. These are the wide-bodied aircraft, which are used for transatlantic flights.
During a recent interview, Minister Edghill had said that Guyana was supposed to receive an airport with eight air bridges, but due to the adjustments made to the contract by the previous government, the contractor only provided two of the air bridges, and two more were purchased, which ended up costing Guyana close to US$2M more.
The PPP/C government, he said, recently purchased two additional air bridges, bringing the total to six air bridges. The additional air bridges were also procured at a cost of US$2M.
Back in August, close to $600 million in contracts were signed to facilitate the construction of an office complex in the airport compound to facilitate airline offices and other engagements.
The country will have to wait until 2022 for the state-of-the-art facility it was promised more than a decade ago as delays presented by the COVID-19 pandemic impede its conclusion.
The airport expansion contract was signed in 2011 under then President, Bharrat Jagdeo, and was passed through the truncated presidency of Donald Ramotar.
When the David Granger administration took over in 2015, it claimed that the very defective plan needed adjustments. Then Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson, had said that upon assumption of office, the APNU+AFC administration had found that only seven percent of the work was completed, with claims for US$90M casting aspersions on the PPP/C’s management of the project.
Even with the sub-standard work, the former Junior Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Jaipaul Sharma, had revealed that the contractor spent more on certain aspects of the project than was laid out in the contract.
However, he had not shared whether the contractor spent more than the total contract sum. Sharma had also said that the former APNU+AFC government would have decided whether to penalise the company for “breach of contract.”
The previous government had also said that it would not spend a cent more on the project, but that proved to be untrue, as a change order that was seen by this newspaper indicated that the administration made at least one additional disbursement of $6.8M for the “extra time delay and costs for the prolongation of the project” by 807 days. The order also indicated that it was a payment, not for the first or second, but the third claim made by the contractor.
As the country awaits the completion of this project, which falls way below expectations, taxpayers are still obligated to repay a loan of US$138M to China, which forms part of the contract sum.
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