Pres. Ali demands quality work from contractors

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President Dr Irfaan Ali on Monday hauled in a number of contractors executing works throughout the country for a meeting, laying down his government’s expectations while at the same time listening to concerns.

The meeting with the contractors was held at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC) on Monday afternoon, with contractors currently executing major capital projects and relevant ministries and government agencies.

During the meeting, the President discussed his government’s expectations when it comes to the execution of the projects and the quality of work. He also took the opportunity to remind the contractors of the rapid developmental trajectory that Guyana is on and pointed to the future where there will be a significant increase in capital projects both from the public and private sectors.

The President was joined by the Senior Minister within the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr Ashni Singh and Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, who also addressed the meeting.

Also present were the Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand; Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hugh Todd; Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha; Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal and heads and representatives from the various government agencies.

There is a plethora of ongoing contracts being executed. There is work on the Sheriff-Mandela Road extension, as well as work on a roundabout that will connect the four-lane highway being built under the Ministry of Housing and Water from Eccles to the Mandela four-lane highway, providing commuters with alternatives to the East Bank of Demerara (EBD). In fact, President Ali paid a visit to the site of the four-lane highway only a few days ago.

The expansion project, which covers approximately seven kilometres of road between Sheriff Street and Mandela Avenue, involves the relocation of utilities; the installation of lane and shoulder improvements; placement of sidewalks and paved shoulders; traffic signals, traffic signs, streetlights, drainage; a pedestrian overhead walkway; culverts, bridges, and a roundabout.

The project was launched in 2018 but faced many setbacks under the former A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Administration. Public Works Minister Juan Edghill had explained that in August 2020, there was no work being done due to the COVID-19 pandemic and because of non-compliance with environmental standards which resulted in the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) being forced to cease disbursements to the project.

The project was eventually restarted in September 2020 and the Dr Irfaan Ali-led People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Administration had anticipated an August 4, 2021 completion. That has since been pushed back to the end of November.

There is also work on the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), which is being executed by China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC). Shortly after taking office last year, the Dr Irfaan Ali-led Government had entered into an agreement with the contractor for additional works to be carried out at the airport. Having missed several timelines already, it was agreed that these works would be completed by December 31, 2021.

Applications from the Chinese company for extensions have been denied.

The new works involve an extension of the airport’s boarding corridor in order 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, Dreamliner, the AirBus and similar trans-Atlantic aircraft.

It would also see the terminal building being extended to provide accommodation for additional commercial space, such as food courts and duty-free shops. The extended building would feature a modern airport façade covering the full length of the departure terminal.