Republic Street recommissioned after left in deplorable state for three years
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Housing and Water Minister, Collin Croal; Public Works Minister, Bishop Juan Edghill and Minister within the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development, Anand Persaud assisted in the cutting of the ceremonial ribbon for the recommissioning of the street on Friday (Delano Williams photo)
Housing and Water Minister, Collin Croal; Public Works Minister, Bishop Juan Edghill and Minister within the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development, Anand Persaud assisted in the cutting of the ceremonial ribbon for the recommissioning of the street on Friday (Delano Williams photo)

RESIDENTS of Republic Street, Bel Air Park and environs will now be able to enjoy a newly-recommissioned thoroughfare after having to traverse a road which was left in an egregious state for over three years because an errant contractor abandoned the site.

The street was dug out to facilitate the replacement of old pipe networks in the locality. In 2017, a contract was signed to commence the project; however, it was abandoned in 2020 with only 11.25 per cent of the works completed, but with 93 per cent of the contract sum being paid out.

During the ribbon-cutting ceremony to commission the street on Friday, Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal, disclosed that a contract was signed on November 20, 2017 to the tune of $108M, and then revised, taking the revised contract sum to $123M, for the project.

A section of the newly-recommissioned Republic Street (Delano Williams photo)

It was awarded to LGS Barnes General Building and Civil Engineering, and was intended to last for four months. However, on June 10, 2020, the site was abandoned with only 225 metres, representing 11.25 per cent of the 2,000 metres of transmission pipes that were to be installed, being completed.

Yet, $114M, representing 93 per cent of the contract sum, was already paid out to the contractor, when only $39M worth of physical works were executed on the site, reflecting an overpayment of over $87M under the A Partnership For National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) administration.

The matter was investigated after the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) assumed office on August 4, 2020 and Croal disclosed that legal proceedings are being instituted to recover the overpayment, and for the contractor to hand over the additional materials that were procured.

Notwithstanding having to recover over $87M on the original contract, a new contract was awarded on December 1, 2020 to the tune of $91M, of which the actual expenditure was $87M, for the completion of the works over a duration period of eight months.

The physical completion of the actual works which involved the installation of 710 meters of 22-inch HDP transmission main lines from Shelter Belt to Vlissingen Road, 659 meters six-inch PVC distribution main lines and the transfer of 248 service connections to newly-installed PVC mains was completed in August, 2021.

Flashback: The Northern Section of Republic Street after it was abandoned by the errant contractor and left in a deplorable state (Delano Williams photo)

Some $28M was also expended by the Guyana Water Incorporated to bring the road up to ‘crusher run’ level, after the pipes were installed, and the project was then taken over by the Ministry of Public Works to transform the street into an asphalt surface road.

The Ministry of Public Works commenced works on October 6, 2021 and completed their aspect of the project by October 13, 2021, paving 943 metres of roadway to the cost of $19.5M, 30 per cent cheaper than if the project was awarded to a contractor, Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill said, during the ribbon- cutting ceremony.

“The problem was one of mismanagement, bad contract administration, breaches of our financial laws and … corruption, because you were paying 93 per cent of a contract sum and less than 15 per cent of the work was completed,” Edghill said.

Residents of Republic Street had reached out to the Guyana Chronicle and expressed outrage at the deplorable state of the thoroughfare, which was filled with massive potholes and were irksome during the rainy season. One resident, Samantha Biles, took to the podium on Thursday to express gratitude for recommissioning of the street.

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