The APNU+AFC Government and its Public Infrastructure Minister, Mr. David Patterson approved changes to the agreement for the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) expansion which led to Guyana losing US$30 million worth of value on the project.
This was relayed by Vice President, Hon. Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo during an appearance on Kaieteur Radio’s ‘Guyana’s Oil and You’ programme Wednesday evening. His comments were in response to statements by Mr. Patterson which were shared by fellow panelist and Kaieteur News publisher Glen Lall. The former minister’s statements appeared in today’s edition of the newspaper.
Mr. Patterson claims that the PPP/C Government could have cashed in the performance bond and hire a new contractor instead of signing a new deal with the Chinese contractor, China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) for US$9 million.
But Dr. Jagdeo defended the Government’s decision not to utilise the US$13.9 million bond, noting that it was the former Minister and coalition government that made changes to the agreement with the company.
“On the bond issue, had we gone to arbitration with the company, they would have just shown the approval they got from Patterson, to cut the square footage of the airport. They approved every change for the Chinese company. So, Patterson should be the last person to talk about it. He was the cause Guyana lost over US$30 million worth of value from that airport. He shouldn’t even surface,” the VP said.
Government on Tuesday announced that CHEC will foot the bill of $1.8 billion (US$ 9 million) for additional works at the CJIA, since the Administration could not accept the substandard work approved by its predecessor.
Dr. Jagdeo said Mr. Patterson’s behaviour has caused many of the transgressions at the CJIA.
“I know what we were supposed to get from that airport. We have the drawings; it’s a modern building. To pull down the entire airport and put up a large airport, about 17,000 square metres with a new runway, with an apron to host eight standing aircraft at least.”
Dr. Jagdeo said, “What has happened there is a travesty. When we came in, they were on the verge of accepting the defective works. Had Patterson been there, they would have accepted it, the people would have just moved away and we would not have had anything. We made it clear that we are not accepting it. That is why they decided to fix it.”
Under the new agreement, CHEC will undertake the extension of the airport’s boarding corridor to accommodate two more passenger boarding bridges and provide the airport with six boarding bridges capable of servicing aircraft such as the Boeing 777, Dreamliner, the Airbus and similar trans-Atlantic aircraft.
The company also agreed to an extension of the terminal building to provide accommodation, and additional commercial space such as food courts and duty-free shops. The extended building will feature a modern airport façade covering the full length of the departure terminal.
All works are to be completed within prescribed timelines. DPI