What is the com­ple­tion date for the Cheddi Ja­gan In­ter­na­tional Air­port ex­pan­sion project?

Stabroek News - - Letters -

Dear Ed­i­tor,

The Cheddi Ja­gan In­ter­na­tional Air­port pre­vi­ously known as the Timehri In­ter­na­tional Air­port is well known to all Guyanese. Ed­i­tor this fa­cil­ity was opened to com­mer­cial traf­fic since 1946, over the years changes and de­vel­op­men­tal works were done to mod­ern­ize this air­port. The PPP/C with a vi­sion for the fu­ture of Guyana with new and de­vel­op­ing sec­tors un­der­stood the ne­ces­sity for this trans­for­ma­tional project. This was not a stand-alone project it was ac­com­pa­nied by in­vest­ments in an in­ter­na­tional brand ho­tel like the Mar­riott; the pro­vi­sion of cheap elec­tric­ity with the Amalia hy­dro-elec­tric scheme which with the sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tion in the cost of elec­tric­ity would have stim­u­lated agro-pro­cess­ing and man­u­fac­tur­ing; the need to ac­com­mo­date larger air­craft to lower the cost of freight and to have ac­cess to wider mar­kets for our many non-tra­di­tional ex­ports. This in­ter­con­nected group of projects was to­tally mis­un­der­stood and in­com­pe­tently han­dled by the APNU/AFC ad­min­is­tra­tion when they came to of­fice in May 2015. This has left us as a coun­try with a sit­u­a­tion where we are get­ting less and pay­ing more. This de­sign and build fix priced con­tract had en­vi­sioned eight board­ing gates (air bridges), a sig­nif­i­cantly ex­tended run­away, new ter­mi­nal build­ings, state of the art check-in and com­mu­ni­ca­tion fa­cil­i­ties, ad­e­quate con­veyor belts to ac­com­mo­date si­mul­ta­ne­ous multi ar­rivals and con­ces­sion ar­eas to fa­cil­i­tate tran­sit and other global trav­ellers.

This in­com­pe­tent group rene­go­ti­ated the con­tract, giv­ing us two air bridges and has now found ex­tra money from the na­tional purse to buy an­other two at a higher price, in a most ques­tion­able man­ner. The PPP/C has al­ready in­di­cated that we in­tend to call for a “value for money” au­dit on this project. Are the Guyanese peo­ple get­ting the right value for their monies spent?

Re­gard­less of all these ques­tions, the big­gest ques­tion I have to­day ed­i­tor is the real com­ple­tion date. On the Min­istry of Pub­lic In­fra­struc­ture web­site, they have a lovely de­scrip­tion of the project and I quote: “The Cheddi Ja­gan In­ter­na­tional Air­port Ex­pan­sion Project will be a be­he­moth in in­fras­truc­tural de­vel­op­ment. With a new sched­uled com­ple­tion time­line of De­cem­ber 2018...”

The shock of 21st of De­cem­ber may still be upon Min­is­ter Pat­ter­son and he may not have changed his cal­en­dar but we are in 2019 now sir. The project as of De­cem­ber 31st 2017 had spent US $111.79M (81%) of the US$150M al­lo­cated to the to­tal project cost. When is the pro­jected re­ally ex­pected to be com­pleted since an­other dead­line has been missed? What will be the fi­nal price? Will they be at­tempt­ing to ap­pro­pri­ate fur­ther fund­ing? These are all ques­tions the al­ready bur­dened tax­pay­ers of this coun­try need an­swers to, some­one please help.

Ed­i­tor I call on the peo­ple of Guyana to pay close at­ten­tion to this ca­bal dur­ing the lame duck pe­riod of gov­er­nance. Where their care­taker sta­tus must be em­pha­sized. At the time of the PPP/C gov­ern­ment, they said the project was over­priced and un­nec­es­sary. The APNU/AFC with their vi­sion­less ap­proach took it over and the world is now a wit­ness to their mal-ad­min­is­tra­tion and in­com­pe­tence. We have an in­com­plete, un­der-ren­o­va­tion smaller air­port with fewer fa­cil­i­ties at the time of pen­ning this let­ter.

Yours faith­fully, Bishop Juan A. Edghill PPP/C MP

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