$1.3B in works excluded from CJIA contract

─Minister Edghill scolds Opposition for mismanagement of project

Minister of Public Works, the Hon. Bishop Juan Edghill says approximately $1.3 billion is needed to execute works that should have been included in the contract for the Cheddi Jagan International Airport expansion project.

The Minister made this disclosure to the Parliamentary Committee of Supply yesterday during Consideration of the Budget Estimates.

An assessment of the airport and revised contract revealed that there has been a significant reduction in scope of works from that in the original US$138million contract signed before May 2015.

Additionally, outside of the US$138M loan from Exim Bank of China, US$12million was to be included from the taxpayers’ coffers to execute the project.

“It is a matter that is under active consideration. We are not happy about it, but with our leadership and our approach to doing business, guided by principles and value for money and good partnership, we expect to get this project back on its feet to deliver for the people of Guyana,” Minister Edghill said.

According to the Minister, the APNU+AFC failed to deliver the project during its five-year stint in office, even though it was scheduled to be completed years ago.

“This project had its revised completion date [as] 31st December 2018. Original completion date was supposed to be since 2015. We are at September 2020 and we don’t have this project completed as yet,” the Minister highlighted.

Minister Edghill said the original agreement should have led to the materialisation of a new terminal with eight bridges, extended runway and aprons, along with power generation and fuel storage facilities.

“The state of affairs is that rather than having a modern airport, we had a rehabilitated airport [in the new contract] … A contract that was supposed to be ‘design and build’ became a rehabilitation work,” he said.

The former subject Minister and a team of officials had met with the contractor shortly after May 2015, leading to an addendum to the contract whereby numerous planned works valued US$23 million were omitted.

The result is that a new terminal was not constructed. Further, airlines operating at the airport lacked new office spaces. The Committee of Supply also learnt that the airbridges in operation at CJIA are often dysfunctional.

Minister Edghill lambasted the former Administration for requesting additional funds to build the airport that is still not up to par.  

Nevertheless, he noted Government’s commitment to continue to engage the contractor to rectify any issue to make a modern CJIA a reality.

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