Edghill asks pro­cure­ment com­mis­sion to probe D’Ur­ban Park project

Stabroek News Sunday - - LETTERS -

PPP/C par­lia­men­tar­ian Juan Edghill has writ­ten the Chair­man of the Public Pro­cure­ment Com­mis­sion (PPC) Carol Corbin to re­quest an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the award of con­tracts and the use of public funds for the D’Ur­ban Park De­vel­op­ment Project.

Edghill’s letter fol­lowed an­other last week to the PPC seek­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the con­tro­ver­sial Charlestown bond con­tract to Larry Singh, and an­other by fel­low PPP/C par­lia­men­tar­ian Gail Teix­eira re­quest­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the award of the con­tract for the con­sul­tancy for the fea­si­bil­ity study and de­sign for the new De­mer­ara River cross­ing.

The more than one bil­lion dol­lars spent on the D’Ur­ban Park project has not only raised con­cerns about the ex­pen­di­ture but the cir­cum­stances un­der which goods and ser­vices were sup­plied to the project, which was one of the ear­li­est un­der­taken by the APNU+AFC ad­min­is­tra­tion. It ap­peared to have pro­ceeded with­out any ten­der­ing and the shoddy con­struc­tion work that was un­cov­ered at the venue put the project un­der in­tense scru­tiny. Public monies had to be spent to re­pair the poor work.

Very lit­tle pa­per­work has been pre­sented by the govern­ment on the project and sums are said to be still out­stand­ing to some sup­pli­ers.

In his letter to Corbin, which was dis­patched last Tues­day, Edghill noted that the project was an­nounced to be a pri­vately fi­nanced un­der­tak­ing, with the de­vel­op­ment com­menc­ing in Septem­ber, 2015, in prepa­ra­tion for the host­ing of the 50th In­de­pen­dence An­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions. “The Na­tional As­sem­bly was in­formed that this project would be funded by pri­vate in­di­vid­u­als through an un­named pri­vate or­ga­ni­za­tion, and, that this project would be no drain on the public purse,” he said, while not­ing that there were no spec­i­fied bud­getary pro­vi­sions in the 2015 and 2016 na­tional bud­gets for the project.

How­ever, he said in April, 2016, Pres­i­dent David Granger man­dated the Min­is­ter of Public In­fra­struc­ture to im­me­di­ately as­sume full re­spon­si­bil­ity for the project and in Novem­ber, 2016, a to­tal of $406.7 mil­lion in public funds was sought and ap­proved by govern­ment from the Con­tin­gency Fund to pay con­trac­tors and sup­pli­ers of goods and ser­vices for work done at the project.

In De­cem­ber, 2016, he added, a fur­ther $500 mil­lion was sought and ap­proved for the project from the Con­tin­gency Fund.

“We were told in the Com­mit­tee of Sup­ply of the Na­tional As­sem­bly that the sums ap­proved would be given to the Home­stretch De­vel­op­ment Inc. (HDI), a spe­cial pur­pose com­pany, to honour its fi­nan­cial obli­ga­tions to con­trac­tors and sup­pli­ers,” he said, while not­ing that it was on that oc­ca­sion that the name of the com­pany was made public.

HDI was reg­is­tered on Jan­uary 22, 2016.

Edghill noted that from Septem­ber, 2015 to Jan­uary, 2016, there was no ac­count of the money col­lected, who col­lected it, who au­tho­rised the col­lec­tion, or how it was spent. He said while govern­ment had promised to ac­count for the do­na­tions re­ceived, this was not done.

An aerial view of Dur­ban Park (Stabroek News file photo)

Juan Edghill

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