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I was pleasantly surprised after reading on December 30, 2022, that the Government of Guyana entered into a loan agreement with the Bank of China for $160.8M Euros for the construction of the New Demerara Harbour Bridge.
In November 2021, the Guyana Chronicle reported Cabinet’s “No Objections” for the Ministry of Public Works to engage the lowest bidder out of nine, China State Construction Engineering Corporation Limited; based on a Design-Build-Finance (DBF) model, at a cost of US$256.6 million for the construction of the same bridge.
In February 2022, during the interesting interview carried by VICE News, where several revelations involving “corrupt practices” by a high-ranking member of the PPP/C, Mr. Bharrat Jagdeo bravely announced that the contract with China State Construction Engineering Corporation Limited was rescinded, claiming the cost was too “high.” He further iterated at the interview, “that the government will now move to the second ranked bidder for the project because we have to get the cost down.”
In May of 2022, the Guyana Government signed a US$260M contract with China Railway Construction Company Limited for the construction of the new Demerara Harbour Bridge.
Editor, as a taxpayer and a Parliamentary Representative I have concerns about this project. The initial bidder was classified the lowest bidder in November 2021 at US$256.6M, how then can the Government of Guyana claim that they have moved to the second lowest bidder with a cost of US$260M to reduce costs? Clearly there is a misrepresentation of facts surrounding this project and I demand a public explanation from the Government of Guyana.
Further, with this new signing agreement between the Government of Guyana and Bank of China, am I to believe that the US$100M will be funded by the People of Guyana? Editor, I take this opportunity to remind Guyanese about the huge failed and questionable contracts for projects of the PPP/C administration. Lest we forget, I name a few: the US$200M non-functional brainchild of Bharrat Jagdeo, called the upgrading of the Skeldon Sugar Factory; The failed $US900 million Amalia Falls Project awarded to a company with no expertise for such a project; The Marriott Hotel, another project built at a cost of US$51 million; the $US32 million bungled fiber-optic cable project headed by Mr. Ramotar. Then, finally, there is the famous US$138M CJIA expansion project with China Harbour Engineering Company which the PPP/C government entered without any feasibility studies. This is yet to be completed.
Editor, is the Public Procurement Commission integrally involved in the procurement of goods and services being sought by the PPP/C government? Where are the checks and balances? In the absence of regular Parliamentary Sittings, this regime has shown full contempt for Parliamentary Democracy and Principles.
I conclude by reminding readers that this New Demerara Harbour Bridge is shrouded in secrecy and reeks of lack of transparency and accountability.
Member of Parliament