‘We are not discussing any extension’
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Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Deodat Indar, and Chairman of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) Board, Sanjeev Datadin, inspecting ongoing works at the airport on Wednesday (Delano Williams photo)
Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Deodat Indar, and Chairman of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) Board, Sanjeev Datadin, inspecting ongoing works at the airport on Wednesday (Delano Williams photo)

– Minister Indar tells China Harbour on airport expansion

THE state-owned China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) must work assiduously to complete works part of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) expansion project as no extension of time will be granted for the completion of the project, unless inevitably necessary.

This was made explicitly clear by Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Deodat Indar, after a tour of the airport on Wednesday to inspect ongoing works following a request for an extension of time by the company.

Indar emphasised that the government will not be entertaining any discussion for an extension, and at due time, an inspection will be conducted to assess the percentage of works completed before a decision is made to grant an extension, if necessary.

“The engineers will go back and they will do the certificate of completion to determine the progress works, at that point we will know what percentage completion, what are the issues and then we would have that discussion … right now we are trying to push the work as much as we can,” Indar said.

In December 2020, after four months of resisting the government’s request to have the CJIA expansion project completed in accordance with the initial contract, CHEC agreed to foot a US$9 million bill for additional work at the airport.

Based on the particulars of the agreement, there will be an extension of the airport’s boarding corridor to accommodate two more passenger boarding bridges, extension of the terminal building to provide accommodation for additional commercial space as a modern airport façade covering the full length of the Departure Terminal.

Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Deodat Indar; Chairman of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) Board, Sanjeev Datadin and other officials touring the CJIA as part of their inspection efforts (Delano Williams photo)

CHEC requested an extension of time to complete the project due to delay in freight and other miscellaneous issues; however, the minister explained that the issues will be dealt with efficiently in the most plausible manner to meet the project deadline.

“The timeline has been breached a number of times, you have issues with shipping and so on that are now bringing a new variable into the mix, but if you procure on time, you will get it on time,” Indar said.

“Apart from this contractor or any other contractor, the country has a lot of importers and everybody make sure they buy knowing very well that the lead time is longer now,” he added.

According to Project Manager of the CJIA Expansion Project, Carissa Gooding, only 20 per cent of the additional works have been completed with works ongoing on the New Arrival Terminal Building being 62 per cent completed and works on the Existing Terminal Building being 73.5 per cent completed.

HIGH PERCENTAGE
Speaking on whether it is possible for CHEC to complete the works within the allotted time, Gooding posited that the company can complete a “high percentage” and should be able to complete at least 60 per cent by December 31, 2021.

“They have to show us an increase of their resources and then we will look at what extension of time will be given but as it is right now our position is let’s see you increase your resources, show that you are progressing the work to achieve substantial completion which is 65 – 70 per cent at the end of this year,” she said.

Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Deodat Indar, and Chairman of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) Board, Sanjeev Datadin inspecting the airport’s airbridge corridor on Wednesday (Delano Williams photo)

The minister also inspected works being executed by CALCO Guyana for the construction of a new building attached to CJIA’s terminal building which will house a conference room, offices for the airlines and the other support agencies as well as storage bonds for the duty-free shops and concessionaires.

He did so against the backdrop of receiving a report of various issues with that project as well. However, even though the contractor was informed that the minister, and the Chairman of CJIA Board, Sanjeev Datadin, will be present to inspect the ongoing works, they were not present during the site inspection.

“We will have to have a meeting with them on Friday to understand what is going on with this company and how they are going to progress this work so that it doesn’t have a situation where you have slippages in the timeline, so I want to arrest this early,” Indar said.

The CJIA expansion project has been subjected to criticisms from the new government since it took office in August 2020. President, Dr. Irfaan Ali, and other officials of the government have said that Guyana will not be tolerant of unsatisfactory work and made it clear that the project will only be accepted if it is done in accordance with the “original contract” that was signed in 2011.

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