IDB halts crucial funding for Sheriff-Mandela road project citing delinquent contractor

DPI, Guyana, Monday, November 18, 2019

Through a Facebook post on social media, Minister of Public Infrastructure Hon. David Patterson has stated that the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has “suspended disbursement” to the Sheriff-Mandela road expansion project due to the negligence of SINOHYDRO Corporation Limited (the contractor).

According to Minister Patterson, the halt in funding was due to, “numerous serious health and safety infractions as well as traffic management failures by the contractor.”

These issues persisted even though the contractor was engaged on the grievous shortcomings. “SINOHYDRO was warned on several occasions to rectify these issues but unfortunately to date, the majority of failure identified have remained outstanding,” he noted.

According to the Public Infrastructure Minister, the suspension of funds from the IDB comes as no surprise since he has consistently stated his dissatisfaction in the contractor’s performance.

In this regard, the Ministry led an urgent intervention to arrest the situation. “[The Ministry of Public Infrastructure] has commenced actions to address the defaulting issues since some of these failures pose serious safety risks to the general public,” Minister Patterson commented.

Regrettably, SINOHYDRO ’s noncompliance with the required working conditions for staff has led them to lay off one of their workers. Minister Patterson has debunked claims that this was due to the Ministry’s tardiness in paying the contractor for the past three months. Rather, the Minister clarified that poor performance of SINOHYDRO on the IDB’s performance audits has resulted in the current situation in which funding withheld by the financing body.

Nevertheless, Minister Patterson has called on the contractor to take responsibility for its own disregard of its contractual obligations that has now caused an employee to be without a job. On Tuesday, November 19, the Public Infrastructure Ministry will issue a full statement.

The $6.4Billion (US$31M) project involves rehabilitation of pavements, construction of bridges, culverts and a pedestrian overhead walkway, traffic and drainage upgrades. Sheriff Street will see a two-lane roadway with a concrete median separating the two lanes complemented by sidewalks, cycle lanes and parking. While Mandela Avenue will become a four-lane with a central median, with combined sidewalk and cycle lane.