By Rehana Ahamad
DUE to various COVID-19 measures, contractors, particularly those residing outside of Georgetown, are fearful that their Expressions of Interest (EoI) to build the Guyana to Suriname Bridge would not arrive before the stipulated deadline of February 15, 2021.
As a remedy, the Ministry of Public Works for both Suriname and Guyana are encouraging electronic submissions.
“We have given potential bidders an option to submit electronically, and the reason for that is that some persons have reached out to us to say that because of restrictions due to COVID-19, there is a chance that their submissions might not reach to us in time,” Project Engineer, Patrick Thompson, told the Guyana Chronicle.
He clarified too that the electronic copies are only being accepted as a means of contractors meeting the already prescribed deadline, and will not serve as a replacement for the hardcopy submissions.
“They will still have to send the hardcopies, but they [potential bidders] will have the option to send electronic copies of their documents, in cases where persons are having challenges sending the hardcopy in time for the deadline,” Thompson posited.
According to the EoI notice issued on November 29, 2020, submissions are expected to comprise of three hardcopies and one softcopy that must be sent to both the Public Works Ministry in Suriname and here in Guyana – firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com respectively.
“In the event the electronic submission received on Monday, February 15, 2021 is not identical to the hardcopies transmitted by March 1, 2021, the electronic submission shall take precedence,” the notice affirmed.
The invited Expressions of Interest (EoI) is specifically for the provision of consultancy services for the “conducting of feasibility study and preparing detailed designs for construction of the bridge over the Corentyne River and approach roads connecting Suriname and Guyana.”
The notice outlined that, “The objective of the consultancy is to conduct a feasibility study including environmental and social-impact assessments and prepare detailed designs, drawings, cost estimates and bid documents for the construction of a bridge linking South Drain, Suriname and Moleson Creek, Guyana.” This particular assignment has a timeline of 12 months attached to it. Guyana’s Senior Public Works Minister, Juan Edghill, had said that if all goes as planned, the bridge linking Guyana and Suriname could be completed and put to use before the end of 2025.
TECHNICAL TEAM ASSEMBLED
Minister Edghill had previously told the Guyana Chronicle that a technical team has been assembled to ensure the competent and transparent execution of construction of the bridge.
That team is being mutually spearheaded by Minister Edghill and his Surinamese counterpart, Riad Nuiermohamed. While construction of the bridge is a joint initiative, Minister Edghill said that the contracted works will not necessarily be ‘shared’ by the two countries.
“Whoever is the contractor that wins the contract, they will do the work,” the Public Works Minister noted. This is irrespective of the nationality and/or location of the successful bidder.
“Whoever is the qualified contractor with the competence and skills and everything to build the bridge will be awarded the work,” Edghill said.
The EoI has specified that “following the assessment of the submissions, a shortlist of no less than three, and no more than six applicants will be provided with full terms of reference and will then be invited to submit technical and financial proposals to undertake the assignment.”
Minister Edghill had informed that all submissions would be examined by the technical team, and that bidders would only be selected if they satisfy the criteria agreed by both countries.
In the assessment of submissions, consideration will be given to technical competence, financial capability, qualifications, existing commitments, and importantly, the bidder’s experience on similar projects, both locally and regionally.
“The Governments of Suriname and Guyana reserve the right to accept or reject late applications or to cancel the present invitation partially or in its entirety. It will not be bound to assign any reason for not shortlisting any applicant and will not defray any costs incurred by any applicant in the preparation and submission of Expressions of Interest,” the initial EoI notice concluded.