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Alliance for Change (AFC) Member of Parliament and former Minister of Public Infrastructure, Mr. David Patterson, has flagged the awarding of contracts to persons/organisations with no experience in construction. Drawing attention to what is apparently a policy of the government, the party is calling on the Public Procurement Commission (PPC) to conduct a full investigation into the operations of the National Procurement Tender and Administration Board (NPTAB), with special attention paid to the bid evaluation and contract award process.
The AFC is contending since August 2020, with the return of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic to government, the quality of contractors awarded projects leaves much to be desired.
The public’s attention is being drawn to the company awarded the contract to build Bamia Primary School in Region 10 which has no track record in construction. According to the parliamentarian “in fact, the principals of the company are better known for the promotion of sporting and entertaining events.” Back in November 2021, the government awarded a $364 million contract to the unknown Statement Investment Inc, which was signed by Aubrey ‘Shanghai’ Major, promoter of football.
A contractor, who wished to remain anonymous, told Kaieteur News then the contract was awarded to ‘party affiliates’ of the current government, which smacks at corruption in the tendering system. According to the unnamed contractor, “It is like all you have to do is be a member of the party and you will get things, even if it is not within your portfolio and it is totally unfair to seasoned contractors. These people does be proudly walking around telling people you have to join the party to get things and as you can see, everybody is jumping fence, because it now becomes a bread and butter issue.”
In the same month Mohamed Enterprise was awarded a $614 million contract to build a new headquarters for the Guyana Fire Service on Homestretch Ave, Georgetown. The AFC, in flagging the construction experience of the company, is pointing out that Mohamed’s “main business activity is in the mining sector,” and notes when questions were raised about the business’ capacity to do the work, the public was told “the successful bidder constructed their own offices.”
In what appears to be a pattern, Patterson reminds that when queries were made about the previous experience of the company awarded the $150 million contract for the three-lane road Hunter Street, in West Ruimveldt, the response was “the successful bidder previously built roads in the backdam.” The contract was awarded to Vieira 66 Logistics and as pointed out by the AFC,” the principal’s previous experience is in the motor racing arena”
The Government is also being rapped for awarding contracts this year that show similar questionable characteristics as previous years.
Last month Kares Engineering signed a $566.9 million contract for the rebuilding of the North Ruimveldt Multilateral School. “This is yet another example of the questionable evaluation and award process arising from NPTAB.”
The parliamentarian notes that one can recall the last time Kares Engineering was awarded a contract with the Ministry of Education, headed by Minister of Education, Ms. Priya Manickchand, for the KATO Secondary School – “the project [was] so riddled with defects, that it was deemed unsafe for occupation, and extensive remedial works had to be undertaken.” Recent inspection, he said, reveals several issues relating to the poor construction of the KATO School still exists.
That Manickchand had sought to assure an independent engineer will be supervising the Multilateral school project, should be of little comfort to the public because an independent engineer was also assigned to the KATO School – despite being supervised, the final product was unacceptable, the AFC reminds.
In 2017, Patterson, then Minister of Public Infrastructure, flayed the company for what was considered shoddy work. Overall $1 billion of taxpayers’ money was spent with remedial work still to be done. The initial contract of $728 million was awarded in 2012, with the work commencing in 2013, and completion date set for April 2015.
According to the AFC, the party is compiling a list of all these questionable contract awards and will be formally submitting a request for the PPC to conduct further investigations into these.