Chinese contractor yet to submit revised work plan
CJIA expansion project
Public Works Minister Juan Edghill disclosed that the Guyana Government is still awaiting the submission of a revised work plan from China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) for the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) expansion project.
“There is a continued engagement with the Government of Guyana and the China Harbour Engineering to deliver an airport that is keeping with what we envisioned. I have not seen as of now a work plan that would give his Excellency President Ali [what he] requested when he visited the airport,” Minister Edghill said during a meeting held with various contractors.
The company was requested to submit a revised work plan following a visit by President Irfaan Ali, who made it clear that he would not be accepting the project in its current state, noting that Guyanese deserve their money’s worth.
The revised work plan is expected to show the terms agreed in the initial contract signed by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) in 2011.
The project was slated to be completed on December 31, 2018, but has now been taken over by the PPP/C Government in an incomplete and downgraded state.
In fact, the Granger-led APNU/AFC Administration had settled for a denigrated design while paying more than the allocated $150 million.
It was highlighted that the current coronavirus pandemic would not be used as an excuse since the GCAA will facilitate a flight to have the China Harbour employees return and complete the works they left pending. For now, once the materials and human resources are present, the construction can resume. The contracting firm has already been appraised via letters of the corrective or remedial works that need to be done.
When the coalition Government came into power in 2015, the project was put on hold, but after discussions between former Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson and CHEC, it was later announced that the project would be continued but a number of downgrades were done to the design.
Some $138 million of the allocated costs was funded by the EXIM (Export-Import) Bank of China while $12 million was spent by the Guyana Government.
It was not expected to surpass that sum but Guyana had to stand additional expenses.
The CJIA in its downgraded design expansion has four less air passenger boarding bridges for arrivals and departures than the initial eight, a 450-seat departure area, escalators and elevators, in addition to an incomplete extended runway, which was supposed to measure 400 and 690 metres at the respective ends.
An old terminal building that was marked for cargo was revamped and only one of the new sections was built. Meanwhile, a new apron that was supposed to support the additional four air bridges is non-existent. There is also no space for enough duty-free shops, restaurants, car rentals and other facilities.
CHEC was supposed to design and complete all works before handing it over to the Guyanese Government. However, they have completed some of the works, while key areas like the runway remain undone.
At the end of the Budget 2020 Debates, Public Works Minister Juan Edghill disclosed that the new Administration will have to foot a bill of some $1.3 billion to complete modernisation works on the airport.