25 Buxtonians sign $56M in contracts to rehabilitate bridges

employment, training underway

Twenty-five contractors from the village of Buxton, East Coast Demerara were awarded contracts to rehabilitate 25 bridges in the community to the tune of $56 million.

The massive upgrade is a commitment made by the PPP/C Administration, following a ministerial community outreach led by Prime Minister, Mark Phillips back in July.

Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill and team inspecting the bridges in Buxton, East Coast Demerara

The signing ceremony was held at the Buxton NDC on Wednesday.

Public Works Minister, Bishop Juan Edghill said the project is a demonstration of the government’s pledge to bring development across the country.

As the government creates opportunities for employment for residents and increases community engagement, Buxton will not be left out, the minister assured.

“This intervention should not be taken lightly. You spoke, we heard, we responded. We expect that with the awards of these contracts your workforce will be from Buxton. So that would mean employment for young men and women during the period of this project,” he stated.

The NDC Chairman had initially highlighted 16 bridges that are in urgent need of rehabilitation.

However, upon further inspection by the ministry’s engineers, it was discovered that a total of 25 bridges would need to be rebuilt.

To this end, the ministry has awarded one lot to each of the 25 contractors.

Additionally, an engineer was assigned to overlook the process and offer advice to contractors so that the works could be effectively executed.

In order for contractors to acquire the knowledge to bid for government contracts, the public works ministry will also be facilitating training on Sunday from 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm.

The move is another measure by the government to assist persons to gain continued employment.

“We are starting you off this way so that the little profit that you may garner from this contract is to give you a seed to tendering for other jobs to get your foot going,” said Minister Edghill.

A representative from the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) and the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) will be present to teach persons how to apply for their business compliances.

Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill, Permanent Secretary, Vladim Persaud and contractors from Buxton, East Coast Demerara

Meanwhile, the Department of Public Information (DPI) spoke with several contractors who applauded the government’s efforts to provide employment for residents of the community.

Richard Samuels said “I feel very happy to know it is something that we were looking forward to for a very long time and to see how the government come on board. Because a lot of small contractors… we were frustrated that we were not getting work. So, we look forward to giving them work because a lot of the young men in the village are unemployed.”

Samuels also commended the training initiative.

“I am happy about that because a lot of us do not know how to fill up the contract, the whole procurement process and so on. So, the educational part of it is very important for us at this time,” he said.

Another contractor, Elroy Adams shared similar sentiments. “This is the first time this ever happen and we want to thank the minister for keeping his word and his promises. The more training the better for you, more education is better for you because knowledge is power.”

Tracy Garnett noted, “I feel so joyful and other young people should try no matter if they are woman… single parent they should try their best and see what they can do for themselves.” The ministry will also be providing the necessary building materials to execute the works.