CH&PA Board sole-sourced contractor, inflated original estimate by 124%
* for core homes ‘corrective’ works
Eyebrows are being raised over a decision by the Hamilton Green-headed Board of Directors of the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) to single source a contractor to execute ‘corrective’ works on several homes under the Government’s Core Homes Project.
A report in today’s Guyana Times said the board selected Ivor Allen, by way of round robin, to execute the works on the homes it listed as “moderate income”.
The board in an internal memorandum, dated June 10, 2016, stated that it had considered and approved Ivor Allen to be awarded the contract to execute the corrective works to 11 houses (lot numbers provided) at Providence, East Bank Demerara.
The newspaper reported that based on information it has seen, the Board of Directors of the CH&PA handpicked Allen, a close associate of the coalition government, A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC).
Allen was once the Chairman of Region Two under the People’s National Congress (PNC) and served as a Member of Parliament of that party up to 2006.
The PNC is the largest party in the APNU/AFC coalition government.
Meanwhile, further examination of several correspondences revealed a huge discrepancy in the cost for the works to be executed on the 11 homes.
A “Summary of Bills” puts the cost for the works at $7,467,227. However the internal memorandum issued by the Secretary to the CH&PA board put the cost for the same 11 homes (verified by matching lot numbers) at a whopping $16,727,623, a difference of over $9.2 million. This works out to an increase of 124 per cent.
When contacted, the Engineering Department of the CH&PA which has direct responsibility for the project refused to comment and directed all queries to Minister within the Ministry of Communities Valarie Sharpe-Patterson or Permanent Secretary Emile McGarrel.
Efforts to contact McGarrel and Secretary to the CHPA board Debra Edwards proved futile.
It is important to note that the Chairman of the CHPA Hamilton Green in April had declared that the Authority will be spending over $100 million on corrective works to core homes built by contractors under the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration.
“Bad roofs, leaking roofs, walls that are twisted, paint peeling, septic tanks porous, floors that were doing a special dance, among other things,” was how Green described some of the defects found.
His claims were quickly rebuffed by former Housing Minister Irfaan Ali, under whose stewardship the programme was initiated.
Ali had said that Green’s statement was “shocking” as he questioned the quoted $100 million Green planned to spend on fixing the ‘defective’ homes.
Ali said that CHPA had previously stated that corrective works on the Turnkey Homes would have cost about $20 million.
“How is this now estimated at $100 million plus?” Ali had asked. Ali explained that new works in the 1000 Homes Project was projected at just over $50 million, which included the completion of more than 200 homes that were delayed for a substantial time by the current administration which was in opposition at the time.
Ali further contended that some of the homes were completed almost three to four years now, while each of the homes had a defect liability period of one year in which the beneficiary can report any faults.
Observers are now questioning whether the “inflated” cost quoted by Green may be for corrupt purposes, when taken against the backdrop of the inflated contract approved to Allen.