Min. Manickchand displeased with incomplete $490M works at UG

– urges contractors to stick to deadlines
– defaulters will face penalties

Minister of Education, Hon Priya Manickchand, today, said she is dissatisfied with the pace of close to $490 million of infrastructural upgrades ongoing at the University of Guyana’s campuses as they are all overdue.

The Minister visited the Turkeyen Campus to inspect three projects being undertaken there. These are the construction of a pump house, a new building to house the university’s Bursary and Human Resources Department as well as an upgraded sewage facility.

The projects were awarded in 2019 under the previous administration and have far exceeded the contractual timelines. In addition to these, a contract was awarded for the construction of a medex centre at UG’s Tain Campus in East Berbice-Corentyne. This project is also incomplete.

Minister of Education, Hon Priya Manickchand along with Permanent Secretary Mr. Alfred King engaging the contractors

While engaging the contractors at Turkeyen, Minister Manickchand was adamant that the Government would not tolerate projects going over the stipulated timeframes and defaulting contractors will be held accountable.

“The Ministry is taking a very firm view on all of this because we know once money is allocated for something, it must have meant that there was some kind of assessment that was done to determine there was a desperate need, and to allow people to not act as they have bound themselves as per their contract, is a failure on any managers part and it will not continue to happen.”

Minister Manickchand acknowledged that while the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the country, some of the projects should have been completed as they were awarded long before the onset of the pandemic.

The contract for the construction of the pump house was awarded in February 2019 with a four-month timeframe while the contract for the construction of a new bursary building was awarded in December 2019 with a ten-month time frame. The contract for the sewage facility started in December 2019 with a one-year period to complete the works. The medex’s facility at Tain should have already been completed since the six-month contract was awarded in October 2019.

It was noted that none of the projects are 50 per cent completed.

Minister Manickchand appealed to contractors to consider all factors when bidding for projects as delayed completion would disenfranchise the beneficiaries.

Permanent Secretary at the Ministry, Mr. Alfred King, Head of Buildings Unit, Mr. Ronald Eastman, UG Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Paloma Mohamed, Director of Estates and Maintenance, Mr. Bjorn Williams and Deputy Director of Maintenance, Mr. Carmichael Thorne were also part of the inspection team.