Agri Ministry ignores court order to halt $200M pontoon project
A local contractor has raised red flags over a multi-milliondollar contract for the supply of four pontoons to the Ministry of the Agriculture for use on the East Demerara Water Conservancy (EDWC).pon According to Friendship, East Bank Demerara-based Engineering & Construction Inc. (ECI), despite the Chief Justice’s order quashing the Ministry’s award of a contract to another company and compelling it to reconsider its decision not to enter into a contract with ECI unless cause can be shown why the order should not be made absolute, the Ministry ignored the Chief Justice’s instructions.
ECI has since stated that it has launched a complaint with the World Bank, which is funding the construction of the four pontoons for use by the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), an arm of the ministry.
The case was filed against the Ministry of Agriculture, the Minister of Agriculture, its Permanent Secretary, Dhaneshwar James, Project Coordinator of the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Attorney General.
According to court documents, on August 23, 2016, Chief Justice, Yonette Cummings-Edwards, issued an Order Nisi quashing the Ministry of Agriculture’s decision to disqualify ECI and award a contract for the supply of pontoons with mud bins to Guyana National Industrial Company Inc. (GNIC).
The court order in August said that the ministry must within two weeks reconsider its decision to disqualify ECI, unless cause is shown why those orders should not be made absolute. ECI is represented by attorney-at-law Devindra Kissoon of London House Chambers. The court matter is continuing, but already GNIC has this past week delivered one pontoon and is promising to complete and hand over the remaining three by the end of the month despite the existence of the Order Nisi preventing the same.