The Government of Guyana will be doling out more than $380M for the continuance of works to the Leguan and Bartica Stellings this year. Public Works Minister, Bishop Juan Edghill, in providing a status report at the request of Opposition Member of Parliament and former junior Public Infrastructure Minister, Annette Ferguson, noted that the projects were found to be in dire straits when the PPP/C government came into office in August 2020.
The Minister told the Committee of Supply that the Bartica Stelling contractor, despite collecting 90 percent of the contracted sum of $434M, only completed 15 percent of the works. Edghill questioned the rationale behind such a lapse, concluding that “squandering” was rampant. The minister told the House that the government is working assiduously to complete this project.
“The people of Bartica still don’t have a stelling. So, this budget is making appropriations for us to be able to have the stelling completed at Bartica. I want the people at Bartica to know, that the PPP/C administration will spend $217M this year and we will continue next year, for the completion of the Bartica Stelling that was messed up and mismanaged by the previous administration,” he remarked.
Regarding the Leguan Stelling, the minister cited “irregularities” in the arrangement with the contractor, whose contract was initially terminated by the PPP/C government on the grounds of poor performance. In expounding on the irregularities, Edghill said that “supply” was not included in the piledriving segment of the contract, which meant that the contractor was only being paid to plant the piles and not source the materials. The onus was placed on the government to supply these piles. This, Edghill said, was inconsistent with other stelling works and indeed, projects of this nature and magnitude.
Subsequent to contract termination, Edghill said that challenges surfaced when his ministry sought to secure a replacement.
He contended that the project was so “messed up” that no other company wanted it. The Minister said that a new contract was inked with the same contractor with stricter terms and conditions. He reported that works are now progressing, while reaffirming the government’s commitment to ensuring prudent management of projects funded with taxpayers’ dollars.
Nevertheless, Edghill noted that some $168M will now have to be spent to fix the Leguan Stelling, “thanks to the mismanagement”.