ARTHUR CHUNG CONFERENCE CENTER BEING REHABILITATED ON 100% GRANT AID … no cost to national coffers
Ministry of Public Telecommunications, Guyana, November 1, 2016
The Ministry of Public Telecommunications (MOPT) wishes to debunk the speculation and suppositions contained in a few news items and columns printed recently in some local newspapers, and which was picked up by online media. These speculative statements intimated that the Government of Guyana was prepared to utilize public funds for the imminent rehabilitation of the Arthur Chung Conference Center, and they questioned the Government’s process of prioritization since other essential services are in need of capital injection.
The Ministry of Public Telecommunications wishes to assure the general public that just as the Conference Center was constructed and funded entirely by the government of the People’s Republic of China through the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation between 2004 and 2006, this rehabilitation project will be funded entirely by the same means – grant aid. The Conference Center was, in fact, a gift to the people of Guyana.
The terms and conditions for repairs to the structure were written into the agreements that were signed in 2004. The agreements state unambiguously that the same construction firm will effect repairs to the interior and exterior of the main and adjoining buildings at no cost to the people of Guyana.
Guyana’s only financial contribution is the provision of security services on site.
Structural repairs & upgrades
After ten (10) years of continuous use, wear and tear coupled with the vagaries of natural elements including shifting foundations and saline breezes from the close by Atlantic Ocean, took a toll on sections of the ACCC. The concrete stairways and upper level floors and ceilings are cracked in some places. On the ground floor, the foundation and walls are also showing widening cracks. Many of the three-inch thick ceramic floor tiles have come loose as a result of structural movement and undulation.
In addition to the structural works, the ACCC’s back-up power generating system that stopped working some years ago will be replaced as well as the entry gates, the fire alarm and first response systems, the driveway and much of the plumbing.
Indications are that the unaccustomed heavy flow of traffic in the Liliendaal area may not have been factored into the design specifications ten years ago. In any case, continued use of the center, as is, for any purpose, is tantamount to courting the high probability of accidents and physical injuries.
From 1st December, 2016, the Arthur Chung Conference Center will be closed for approximately eighteen (18) months. This schedule was crafted by the signatories to the agreements surrounding the donation and maintenance of the Conference Center. The MoPT reiterates that the funds for the rehabilitation works are not being provided by the people of Guyana.
We regret the inconvenience this closure will cause to the many organisations that utilize this facility on a regular basis. In the same vein, the Government of Guyana again expresses our gratitude to the Government and people of China for their most generous donation.
Catherine Hughes MP