Gov’t contacted ‘highest levels’ in China on CJIA expansion works

-administration determined to get value for money
-Minister Edghill

Minister of Public Works, Hon. Bishop Juan Edghill says the Government raised concerns at the “highest level” in China so that Guyanese are not short-changed on the project to expand the Cheddi Jagan International Airport.

Minister of Public Works, Hon. Bishop Juan Edghill

The Minister made this disclosure at a press briefing held on Wednesday at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre.

On Tuesday, the Government announced that China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) will cover the $1.8 billion in additional works on the CJIA.

“This matter of the airport in Guyana was a matter that was being addressed at the highest levels in China and as a result of that kind of action that we would have taken, whether it is the parent company, whether it is the China Exim Bank or the leadership of China, President Ali and his administration spared no effort in standing up for the people of Guyana to ensure that we get value for money and what we got here is the best that we could have gotten.”

Minister Edghill said the company has recognised that the Dr. Ali-led Government will not tolerate what was accepted under the previous administration. He said Government demanded specific performance of the original contract that led to the agreement.

Minister Edghill highlighted that under the original contract which was signed in 2013, there is a performance bond valued $2.7 billion (US$13.9 million) that the Chinese contractor has to keep operative. If they fail to perform, he said, the Government could tap into that bond.

“No money that was part of the original contract will be used for the additional works. The only monies that are remaining in the contract when we took office, was US$5 million ($1 billion) for an advance bond and US$1.2 million ($240 million) in retention bond.

The Minister added: “As a matter of fact, had we not gotten this signed agreement, we had out all the necessary mechanisms in place for demands on those two bonds… No monies from the original loan US$139 million from the China Exim Bank will be used to finance the additional works. China Harbour and their parent company has to stand that responsibility.”

The additional works that CHEC agreed to undertake entail:

  1. An extension of the Airport’s boarding corridor in order to accommodate two more passenger boarding bridges, providing the Airport with a total of six boarding bridges capable of servicing aircraft such as the Boeing 777, Dreamliner, the Airbus and similar trans-Atlantic aircraft.
  2. An extension of the Terminal Building to provide accommodation for additional commercial space such as food courts and duty-free shops. The extended building will feature a modern airport façade covering the full length of the Departure Terminal.
  3. China Harbour Engineering Company has further agreed to rectify and complete all outstanding remedial works within prescribed timelines.

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