Patterson says CJIA to be fully operational this week

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Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson has said that the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Timehri(CJIA) will be in full operation this week.

He noted that once a warranty is provided for the heating, ventilating and air conditioning system, the airport will be fully operable.

However, Patterson explained that while it is necessary to obtain the warranty certificate, the Government will accept it since there is a defect liability period.

This means that the contractor will remain liable under the building contract for a certain period after practical completion of his services in this regard.

The expansion of the CJIA has been ongoing for a number of years, and while the APNU+AFC Government has repeatedly blamed the former administration for not including necessary plans in the project during the initial stages, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has stated that the absence of those necessary plans is a deliberate strategy to create opportunities for local contractors.

He said in May that while several aspects were not included in the contract, the Government should have implemented those that were already there.

According to Jagdeo, the Government ought to be held accountable for not doing its part to ensure the contractor, China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), deliver what it was contracted to deliver.

Meanwhile, as of January, 2019, CHEC has been paid US$132 million. When payments to the consultant and local contractors are also factored in, that sum rises to US$142 million. Government’s contract with CHEC expired in December of last year.

In 2012, under the PPP/C Administration, Guyana secured a US$138 million loan from the China Exim (Export-Import) Bank to fund the expansion and modernisation project, for which the Guyana Government was slated to inject some US$12 million.

Nevertheless, millions of dollars had to be pumped into the expansion project after issues started to surface. The Govt had approached the National Assembly for supplementary funding to offset additional expenses that were already incurred.

In addition to the additional sums of money, there were several delays in the time set for operation to commence at the main port of entry.