Brick­dam lockup ex­pan­sion to fi­nally be com­pleted by year-end

-Ram­jat­tan

Stabroek News Sunday - - LETTERS -

The pro­tracted ex­pan­sion of the Brick­dam Po­lice Sta­tion lockup should be done by year-end, ac­cord­ing to Min­is­ter of Pub­lic Se­cu­rity Khem­raj Ram­jat­tan.

Ram­jat­tan last Thursday told Sun­day Stabroek that his min­istry has in­vited bids from qual­i­fied per­sons to ex­e­cute a $16.4 mil­lion cap­i­tal project that will fo­cus on fix­ing the ven­ti­la­tion sys­tem and the wash­room fa­cil­i­ties at the lockup, which has been un­der­go­ing re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion over the past four years.

An ad­ver­tise­ment was pub­lished in the Wed­nes­day edi­tion of the state-owned Guyana Chron­i­cle invit­ing per­sons to bid. The ad stated that the bid­ding will be con­ducted through the Na­tional Com­pet­i­tive Bid­ding (NCB) Pro­ce­dures spec­i­fied in the Pro­cure­ment Act and is open to all bid­ders sub­ject to pro­vi­sions of Sec­tion 111 (El­i­gi­ble Coun­tries) of the Bid Doc­u­ment.

At an AFC press con­fer­ence last Thursday, Ram­jat­tan in­di­cated that be­sides prob­lems with the ven­ti­la­tion sys­tem, there were also is­sues with the de­sign of the fa­cil­ity.

He told re­porters that dur­ing a visit sev­eral weeks ago a par­lia­men­tary se­lect com­mit­tee had seen the prob­lems first­hand. He ex­pressed cer­tainty that once works are com­pleted, the lockup will be in a “far bet­ter state” as it would be a modern fa­cil­ity.

Over the years, there have been reports of in­hu­mane con­di­tions at the lockup. The for­mer PPP/C ad­min­is­tra­tion had al­lo­cated mil­lions of dol­lars to re­ha­bil­i­tate the fa­cil­ity.

In May, 2013, the then Min­istry of Home Af­fairs—now re­named the Min­istry of Pub­lic Se­cu­rity—in­vited bids for the con­struc­tion of the up­per flat of the lockup, which was es­ti­mated to cost $53,781,901. It is un­clear who won the bid and how much money has been spent. How­ever, ear­lier this year, the Na­tional As­sem­bly ap­proved an ad­di­tional $20 mil­lion for the ex­pan­sion project.

In Oc­to­ber last year, fol­low­ing a com­plaint made by act­ing po­lice com­mis­sioner David Ram­nar­ine, Ram­jat­tan had ex­plained that there were flaws in the de­sign for the lock­ups, which would have ren­dered it air­less. As a re­sult, he said, gov­ern­ment had to set aside money to rec­tify that prob­lem.

Ram­nar­ine had said that the ex­pan­sion was “drag­ging on for too long” and that the sit­u­a­tion was tax­ing the force’s scarce re­sources to shut­tle de­tainees, in­clud­ing high-pro­file sus­pects, to other fa­cil­i­ties on a daily ba­sis.

Mean­while, Ram­jat­tan also said last Thursday that the min­istry has started the process to have the 911 sys­tem up and run­ning once again.

Last De­cem­ber, dur­ing the con­sid­er­a­tion of the bud­get es­ti­mates, he had ex­pressed con­fi­dence that this would be done by the end of Jan­uary this year. How­ever, he said on Thursday that rooms have been pre­pared and that train­ing has com­menced. He said that Dig­i­cel has al­ready pro­cured the equip­ment and Guyana Tele­phone and Tele­graph Com­pany (GTT) is in­stalling a fi­bre op­tic ca­ble.

In March this year, Min­is­ter of State Joseph Har­mon an­nounced that Cab­i­net had given its no ob­jec­tion to the award of a $27.9 mil­lion con­tract to Dig­i­cel for the pro­vi­sion of a 911 busi­ness so­lu­tion emer­gency ser­vice sys­tem for the Min­istry of Pub­lic Se­cu­rity.

Months ear­lier, the Pri­vate Sec­tor Com­mis­sion (PSC) and Ram­nar­ine had ex­pressed con­cern over the qual­ity of the 911 ser­vice be­ing pro­vided by GTT.

Khem­raj Ram­jat­tan

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