-project only 15% complete after one year
By Richard Bhainie
MORE than one year since being awarded a contract for the construction of rip rap sea defences at Andrews, Essequibo Coast, contractor, BK International, despite receiving more than $80 million, has completed only 15 per cent of this project.
This was discovered by Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Deodat Indar, during a visit to the site in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), on Sunday. Based on documents seen by the Guyana Chronicle, the contract was awarded in the sum of $124.8 million under the former A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) administration. And, of this amount, some 70 per cent has already been paid over to the contractor. The project was slated to commence officially on January 21, 2020, with a duration period of seven months, concluding on August 21, 2020.
Minister Indar was, however, informed by the engineer for Region Two, district one, Saeed Mohamed, that the said contract was further extended to December 31, 2020. Even with the initial and extended deadline passing, Indar was also informed by the district one engineer that of the 1,000 feet of sea defence work contracted to be executed, a mere 160 feet of the work has been completed thus far.
A representative from BK International, who was present at the site, explained that the delay was consequent to the contractor diverting equipment to another site located in Mahaicony, on the East Coast of Demerara, due to the urgency of works there. The representative also lamented the difficulties in sourcing materials because of restrictions implemented to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Indar responded to this by saying that when contractors bid for and are awarded contracts, they are doing so based on their inventory of equipment available to execute the works within the contractually agreed upon time. Therefore, in this case, adequate equipment should have been available to complete the works at Andrews.
The minister denounced the contractor’s lackadaisical attitude towards the execution of the crucial and urgently-needed works, expounding that it is to the detriment of residents, who are left to suffer. Considering this and other delayed projects being undertaken by BK, the minister elucidated that he intends to take stern action against this contractor.
It was reported recently that the government terminated the multimillion-dollar contracts for the construction of the Yarrowkabra Secondary School and the reconstruction of the St. Roses’ High School.
In two separate letters, Attorney-General Anil Nandlall notified both contractors, BK International Inc. and Courtney Benn Contracting Services Ltd., about the termination of their contracts.
In BK’s case, the former APNU+AFC government had entered into a contract with the company through the Ministry of Education, for the construction of the Yarrowkabra Secondary School, just off the Soesdyke-Linden Highway. The contract was fixed at $826.5 million, and the scheduled date for completion of the work is March 12, 2021.
“Thus far, your company has only completed five per cent of the schedule of work. As a consequence, your company has committed a fundamental breach of the terms of the contract, and as a result thereof, the Government of Guyana hereby exercises its right to terminate the contract with immediate effect,” said the Attorney-General in a letter to the company.
The grounds for termination were cited as the failure to comply with the schedule of work, and the inordinate delay in the completion of work on the project. The government, according to Nandlall, will activate the provisions in the contract regarding the enforcement of 10 per cent of the contract sum as liquidated damages, and the surrendering of the performance security as a result of the company’s fundamental breach of the contract.
Similarly, the government enforced the same provisions on Courtney Benn Contracting Services Ltd, as the company has only completed nine per cent of the scheduled work on the reconstruction of the St. Roses’ High School.