–authorities to initiate legal proceedings
THE Government of Guyana has, with immediate effect, terminated a contract signed with BK International Incorporated, for the construction of ‘Lot 2’ of the Good Hope Secondary School, on the East Coast of Demerara (ECD).
The company’s Managing Director, Brian Tiwari was officially informed of the termination by way of a letter issued by the Ministry of Legal Affairs, dated May 25, 2021.
In the correspondence seen by this publication, Attorney-General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, informed the contractor that the termination was being done in accordance with the general conditions of the contract, on the grounds of fundamental breach of the conditions stipulated in the contract, which includes, but are not limited to, failure to maintain a security as required and inordinate delay. The company was contracted in October 2018, to provide construction works to the tune of US$4.082 million. The latest deadline for the project was given as May, 2021, but that has not been met.
The Attorney-General, in his letter, asserted the government’s intention to pursue legal action against the errant company, to enforce all the provisions of the said contract. Further, the government plans to claim compensation and liquidated damages for the breaches.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education has also been instructed to take possession of the construction site.
When construction started in October 2018, the school had been earmarked for completion in January, 2020. However, now, over 15 months behind schedule, the school is still to be handed over to the Ministry of Education.
The company had once again committed to completing the project this month, but this has not materialised. The Education Ministry is pushing for the completion of the school in time for the projected reopening of the physical classrooms in September this year.
The construction of the school falls under the multi-million-dollar Guyana Secondary School Education Improvement Project (GSEIP), funded by the World Bank.
The Good Hope Secondary School is just one of six that was conceptualised under the project which has since been revised to cater for four schools.
The Westminster Secondary School at La Parfait Harmonie, on the West Bank of Demerara, is another school catered for under the GSEIP, and is scheduled to be the first one completed under the project.
The other schools being constructed under the GSEIP project are the Yarrowkabra Secondary School, which has also been hindered by construction woes, and the Prospect Secondary School, for which the ceremonial sod-turning exercise was recently done.
The new secondary schools are part of the government’s overarching plan to achieve universal secondary education. Universal secondary education entails every Guyanese child of the required age having access to secondary education.
The schools are each being built to accommodate approximately 1,000 students and will allow the Ministry of Education to eliminate all primary tops across the country.
In Guyana, “primary top schools,” are considered primary schools with a secondary school department, which is used as an alternative for pupils who did not attain enough marks at the National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) to be placed at a secondary school.
Though a traditional secondary school runs from Grades Seven to 11, classes at “primary top” schools run from Grades Seven to Nine, and the students are usually transferred to a secondary school after writing the National Grade Nine Assessment (NGNA).