President chides contractors, engineers for overwhelming delays, errors in infrastructural projects

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By Kurt Campbell

President Donald Ramotar addresses the conference. [iNews' Photo]
President Donald Ramotar addresses the conference. [iNews’ Photo]
[www.inewsguyana.com] – President Donald Ramotar has registered his disappointment with the instances of mistakes and delays in local infrastructural projects, both public and private, at the hands of contractors and engineers.

The Head of State acknowledged the difference in the Guyana situation, particularly the country’s low lying coastlands, however he noted that there are still far too many mistakes in the local construction sector.

He was at the time delivering the feature address at the opening of the 4th Annual Engineering Conference hosted by the Ministry of Public Works in collaboration with the University of Guyana on Thursday, February 6.

The conference is being held under the theme: “Building Guyana’s Future step By Step” at the Guyana International Conference Center.

“Too often we hear contractors give excuses for delays, we see sinking bridges and eroding roads… what is there is lack of planning,” the President told the gathering.

Public Works Minister, Robeson Benn addressing the participants at the conference. [iNews' Photo]
Public Works Minister, Robeson Benn addressing the participants at the conference. [iNews’ Photo]
He also believes that there is a lack of supervision in the construction of national infrastructure and urged that it be corrected forthwith.

“Sometimes I think there are too much cozy relationships between contractors and engineers… I’m tired of excuses, we have to save money and save time.”

He pointed specifically to delays in the construction of the Four Lane Highway along the East Coast of Demerara. Ramotar also underscored the importance of cross fertilization of ideas and the exchange of experiences, adding that he was particularly pleased with the collaboration between the Ministry (which implements major projects and has many experiences) and UG (which is responsible for enriching the population educationally).

The President said new infrastructure is needed and important to both accelerate and stimulate growth. “This is where engineering becomes necessary to develop the quality of what will be at the center of this drive… infrastructure generates considerable amounts of economic activity.”

Meanwhile, UG’s Vice Chancellor Professor Jacob Opadeyi explained that as engineers it is important to get it right because unlike other professions mistakes in the construction sector shows and there are consequences for that.

He said it is not only important to share good experiences but also bad ones as the country moves in a collective direction to reduce errors. He said the collaboration is particularly a value that cannot be underscored and pointed to the benefits to be derived for the entire country.

Also delivering remarks at the opening was Works Minister Robeson Benn; he is hopeful that coming out from the conference there can be a holistic review of engineering locally in a bid to advance heavy construction by making the work progressive and improving the delivery of services.

He encouraged professionals in the sector to find ways to synergize what is done locally since he believes the country is poised  for a great leap in that field.

Today’s event will set new standards of excellence in Guyana and brought together a wide range of local and international experts and innovators in the field of engineering, road safety, renewable energy and maritime administration and hundreds of engineering professionals, contractors, consultants, suppliers and students.

Throughout the day there will be several presentations on a number of ongoing developments in Guyana and is intended to provide participants with the opportunity o interact with policy makers in the sector.

 

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