Gov’t continues to hold contractors accountable
While the government of Guyana is steadfast in its commitment to enhancing the nation’s landscape and infrastructure, it is equally stern in holding contractors responsible for failing to finish their projects within the allocated period.
One prime example is the contractor of the Leguan Stelling, Maraj Contracting Services, who has missed another deadline again to complete the structure, six years after the contract was signed under the previous APNU+AFC government.
And according to Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill, the contractor has requested more money from the government to complete the project despite the fact that a previously agreed-upon cost had already been approved.
“There is light at the end of the tunnel. In that the deck of the Stelling is now cast and the major infrastructural works are completed. However, when I arrived here this afternoon and from what I was told by the contractor, (Sattrohan Maraj), I would say that it is highly unacceptable to the cabinet and to the government,” Minister Edghill told the Guyana Chronicle during a visit to the island recently.
He added, “I was told that, in order for the minor works to be completed, that is, the installation of the link span bridge, putting in the guard rails, installing the lights, and getting the admin building fixed, the contractor seems to want to have more money; we are not paying more, and Mr. Maraj knows that.”
The contract for the rehabilitation of the stelling was signed in 2018 and since then, the contract sum has increased from $413 million to $607 million.
And according to Minister Edghill, “A decision will have to be made if Mr. Maraj cannot finish what is to be done.
“There are many contractors in this country who can get the job done; we don’t have a shortage of contractors.”
The new deadline for the completion of the project was July 2023.
He emphasised that after “sitting down, negotiating, and going through all the problems that we have inherited from the APNU +AFC in regard to this stelling, July 2023 was supposed to be the deadline. I am here, August 17, and it still has not been completed. I am not here today to hear about more money and fancy explanations; I am here to see that the final aspect of the work is finished. I want to tell the residents of Leguan that this is your completed stelling, but I cannot tell them that just yet.”
Even though the residents are using the stelling at the moment, Minister Edghill related that it is “unfair” and he is “unhappy” that the people of the island have to use an “unsafe” structure, especially in the nights.
Minister Edghill plans to meet with the government engineer on Monday to decide on the way forward; he made it abundantly clear that the company will not get “another dime” to complete the remainder of the work.