A Chinese contractor agrees to foot a US $ 9M bill for additional work on CJIA
US $ 150M CJIA airport extension fiasco…
Kaieteur News – The Government announced yesterday that it is finalizing a new deal with the troubled Chinese contractor, China Harbor Engineering Company (CHEC), to the tune of US $ 9M for ancillary works to be completed at Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) .
The catch is that the contractor will only have to pay the bill.
Since taking office, Irfaan Ali’s government has been under pressure to resolve the nearly decade-long project.
CHEC has been contracted to build a new airport and modernize since late 2011.
But Guyanese would have to wait a little longer as the new agreement was signed, giving CHEC until the end of next year.
According to a statement from the Ministry of Public Works, the new work will include an extension of the airport’s residential corridor to accommodate two other passenger boarding bridges, providing a total of six boarding bridges to the airport that can serve aircraft such as the Boeing 777, Dreamliner, the AirBus and similar trans-Atlantic aircraft.
It will also mean that the terminal building will be extended to accommodate additional commercial space, including food courts and duty-free shops.
The expanded building will feature a modern airport façade covering the full length of the Exit Terminal, the statement outlined.
He also noted that CHEC had agreed to “rectify and complete all outstanding works” within prescribed timelines.
The new agreement was reportedly signed by Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Works Vladim Persaud, on behalf of the Government of Guyana and Liu Keliang, Project Manager for and on behalf of CHEC.
That contract was controversially signed back in late 2011 under then-President Bharrat Jagdeo and later passed through a short Donald Ramotar presidency.
In fact, it wasn’t until early 2013 that the turf turned. The project spread under the presidency of David Granger and is now inherited by the Irfaan Ali administration.
When the Granger administration took over in 2015, it claimed the plan needed modification. Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson had then said only seven percent of the work was completed, with claims for US $ 90 million equivalent to more than half the contract amount.
He blamed the PPP / C’s management of the project.
But the adjustments made were kept hidden from the public for several years and it was only after regular reports from this newspaper that several red flags relating to the project were revealed.
In addition, although various aspects of the construction work had been completed, several issues relating to the quality of materials and work needed to be addressed urgently. Those issues and more are listed among the reasons why the project has been delayed for years.
Now he is back with the new administration of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP / C) Civic led by Irfaan Ali.
The problems with the renovation only got worse over the years.
It was only in early July of this year that the CJIA sought proposals to complete additional work.
Invitations for advertised bids indicated that the airport needed a new fence for its public car park and an access control security hut. These proposed projects, which fall outside the US $ 150 million contract, are not alone.
There are also plans for a new car park worth ALL $ 122 million, a cargo facility, commercial center, office and car park, all advertised last year. However, much of the argument was that the additional projects should not have been excluded in the first place.
Many contractors had revealed that the quantity and quality of work being done to refurbish the port was inflated many times over … and it’s all for the taxpayers.
Furthermore, CHEC was caught illegally using its equipment in a private job.
Officials had reported that the company had used its trucks and other vehicles and possibly even sand from the airport project on the construction of MovieTowne in Turkeyen, East Coast Demerara.
CHEC trucks, more than 25, were given toll-free concessions and reported receiving tax waivers on at least six pickups and four SUVs. Somewhere along the line, the company’s sister company, China Harbor Engineering (T&T) Ltd (CHEC), was also successful in winning the contract to build the MovieTowne project in December 2014 for US $ 30 million.
However, CHEC appeared to have decided to use the equipment it has located at the airport, including the trucks, to work together with the MovieTowne project.
Under the terms of the conditions for granting concessions, equipment and vehicles must be used specifically for the purposes for which it was given – in this case the airport project.
For the airport project, CHEC was allowed to use three sand pits, two loam pools and two pagasse pools. We used a few pieces of equipment including a tower crane that came for the CJIA project at MovieTowne.
In fact, the MovieTowne Mall is complete and up and running while construction at CJIA is still waiting to be completed.
The company later denied the allegation and added that it is always seeking compliance, and will continue to make “compliance a priority for as long as we operate in this territory.”
However, the non-compliance continued only as the months went by and the PPP / C sought several avenues in seeking to force CHEC to complete the airport in accordance with the initial contract specifications.
The lucrative concessions that the contractor benefited from were suspended by the Guyana Finance Authority (GRA) after it failed to fulfill the contractual obligations.