Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has clarified that while the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) expansion project contract did not initially cater for certain amenities; this was a deliberate strategy in order to create opportunities for local contractors.
At his press conference on Thursday, Jagdeo explained why the original CJIA contract did not contain provisions for commercial, office and cargo areas. According to the former President, the reason they took those things out is because they could have been done by locals.
“These were things being done by the Government, separate from the contract. We deliberately took those out. The idea was these could be done by local contractors. They shouldn’t be part of the contract.”
Jagdeo expounded that while things were not included in the contract, the Government should have implemented those that were. And according to Jagdeo, the Government ought to be held accountable for not doing its part to ensure that contractor, China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) delivered what it was contracted to deliver.
“Now we’re getting criticised for what’s not in the contract, rather than what was in the contract that this Government has changed, so we now have a rehabilitated terminal rather than a new terminal. And they reduced the size of the apron,” Jagdeo said.
“And we get criticised for what we didn’t put in the contract, but they’re not even achieving what we put in the contract.”
“An entirely new airport, pulling down the (terminal) building and building a new terminal and a huge apron for eight aircraft and eight air bridges… I can accept the criticism that maybe we didn’t put in office space. But why aren’t we holding this Government accountable for ensuring that the contractor delivers what we put in the contract.”
With only two air bridges catered for under the coalition Government’s modified agreement, they went to the National Assembly last year to request $346.5 million in supplementary funds towards the purchase and installation of two additional air bridges.