Conversation Tree Road project likely to be completed by S Jagmohan Construction – Edghill

Work on the incomplete section of the Conversation Tree-to-Dennis Street Road Expansion Project could be executed by the contractor who completed the first section of the road.

Drainage works being done at the incomplete section of the Conversation Tree-to-Dennis Street Road Project

Initially pegged at $1.8 billion, the Conversation Tree-to-Dennis project was split into two lots, with the first lot having already been completed by S Jagmohan Construction and General Supplies Inc.
The second phase, which was awarded to controversial Trinidadian company Kalco Guyana Incorporated, has been stalled for several months now. That contractor has been flagged on multiple occasions for poor performance and has since abandoned work on the roadway.
Even though the initial project deadline was set for November 5, 2023, during an inspection conducted on March 4, 2024, it was noted that Kalco had instructed its engineers to halt operations and no other work has since been done.
Consequently, the Government had announced last month that it was moving to terminate the $830 million contract with Kalco after the company “did not live up to expectations”.
On Thursday, Public Works Minister Juan Edghill was asked by <<<Guyana Times>>> whether the Government has identified a contractor to complete the work.
The Minister indicated, “…the likelihood is the contractor who was working on the other lot [would be retained to complete the road] at the same rate – that is what we’re looking at… That is the important thing – it’s at the same rate of the works that were being done when he did his lot.”
The contract awarded to S Jagmohan Construction and General Supplies Inc for Lot 8A of the project was to the tune of $$1,066, 358,738.
In the meantime, the Guyana Government has been working to recover the entire mobilisation payment made to Kalco, who was awarded the $830,293,458 contract for Lot 8B of the road project.
Minister Edghill told this newspaper that, “…we are at a particular stage of winding up [the termination of] Kalco’s contract and that road will be finished shortly” .
Last month, the Public Works Ministry activated the process to terminate the contract with the Trinidadian company.
The Minister previously reported that the Ministry and the contractor have ironed out all the measures including payments, and the termination agreement was slated to be finalised in the coming weeks. He had noted that Kalco agreed to exit the contract in a “non-adversarial manner”.
“Government will recoup every dollar for the mobilisation advances paid, and Kalco will receive payments for all measured works done,” Edghill had explained.
On April 13, Minister Edghill and his team had a virtual meeting with the principals of the company to iron out the conditions of the termination. Negotiations had been ongoing since, leading to the agreement reached between the two sides.
Last month, President Dr Irfaan Ali and a technical team had inspected the incomplete section of the road, and the Head of State had instructed that the team to find a way forward to complete the stalled works.

Drainage works
As the Public Works Ministry works to advance the road project, President Ali had also ordered during his April 12 site visit that immediate drainage and irrigation works be done at the unfinished section of the road in the meantime, to avoid flooding in the event of heavy rains.
He had noted that if left in their current state, the drains could cost the State more money in the future if flooding were to occur.
Consequently, works are ongoing to clear the drains in the area.
“We have rain that is here and we have to ensure that people are not flooded, and we have to ensure that mosquitoes are not taking over the place and so on. And we do have a contractor that is doing some work to ensure that the residents’ welfare is protected at this particular time,” Edghill told this publication on Thursday.
This move by the Government to end the contract with the Trinidadian company comes on the heels of efforts to clamp down on contractors who are lagging on projects being executed for the State.
Only last month, during a meeting with representatives of Ministries and agencies responsible for awarding and monitoring Government contracts, President Ali had ordered that penalties outlined in several Government contracts be enforced for companies that continue to default on their contractual obligations.
At that meeting, the Guyanese Leader also instructed that project updates for several ongoing works be completed for review, and according to Minister Edghill, work has been ongoing to fulfil the President’s order.
The project updates will be provided to Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall, SC, and letters of notice will be issued, while the Finance Ministry is tasked with calculating the liquidated damages.
Further, the Head of State disclosed that action must now be taken to strengthen project management teams in the public sector. Consequently, units are now being established at the various ministries and state agencies to assess the performances of contractors carrying out Government projects.
Additionally, a Contract Compliance Unit has been established at the AG Chambers to support the work of those units. President Ali had noted that all project managers and senior engineers under this unit would be properly qualified, and it was subsequently announced that 50 scholarships would be given to 50 officers from various fields to better monitor and evaluate projects. (G8)