Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson, noted today that he is not afraid of any audit the political Opposition wants to be conducted on road projects being executed by his Ministry.
His comment in this regards comes on the heels of a letter that was written by Opposition Parliamentarian, Juan Edghill which called for Auditor General, Deodat Sharma to conduct an audit into three major road works being done. The projects include the East Bank Berbice Road, the Mabaruma Road and the Port Kaituma Roads. Edghill said that the costs of the project are not only inflated but that the nation’s procurement laws were breached during the tendering process. He also claimed that the works are being executed at a substandard level.
But Patterson has responded to Edghill today saying that the projects can stand up to the test of any audit. The Minister also sought to remind that when the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) was in power, it had refused to consider such projects.
Patterson said, “For several years, the residents of East Bank Berbice suffered due to the terrible condition of that road, so much so protest actions were a common feature… The PPP/C government refused to repair the East Bank Berbice Road saying that it was not ‘economically viable,’ something with which the Coalition Government disagreed, hence, we embarked on upgrading the first stretch of road for the benefit of the residents.”
The Minister continued, “It is doubtful, that MP Edghill has ever visited the area because in recent interactions (I had with persons in the) community I have received the complete opposite response to that of MP Edghill (who said that residents were complaining of the substandard work that is being done). In fact, the residents were in high praise of the continued roadworks.”
The politician added that the roads in Mabaruma and Port Kaituma were awarded via public tender and have been ongoing since 2017. He said that the rehabilitation of Mabaruma Main Township Junction to Airstrip Road was contracted to MRK Construction for a sum of $82,127,200 and works commenced on Wednesday, May 10, 2017; while rehabilitation works of Port Kaituma to Matthews Ridge Phase 2 was contracted to International Import and Supplies for a sum of $403,081,200 and commenced also on Wednesday, May 10, 2017.
Additionally, Patterson said that both projects are 100 percent completed hence it would have already been under the review of the Auditor General. Patterson made it clear that there is no need for poetical grandstanding with a call for audits.