Culpable employees to face DHB Board before formal actions – Minister

Asphalt Plant probe

After a probe into the asphalt plant racket would have unearthed several damning findings, the Board of Directors of the Demerara Harbour Bridge will have a “face-off interview” with culpable employees before formal actions are taken.
Public Works Minister Juan Edghill said the Board has deliberated on the findings of the investigation, in which a decision was made to hold persons responsible for their actions. In the coming week, the interviews will be facilitated and formal actions will be announced thereafter.

Public Works Minister Juan Edghill

“The Board deliberated on the report which I submitted to them. They have made certain findings and part of those findings is that persons who have found in their opinion to be culpable, the HR sub-committee of the Board is to meet with them and interview them before formal actions is taken.”
He further stated, “The Chairman of the Board is arranging for those interviews early next week and then from there, we will make public pronouncements. The Board has found that particular operatives must be held accountable for the mismanagement and some of the breaches that took place and, in their deliberation, they found that they need to have a face-off interview.”
The investigation confirmed that asphalt was being given on credit to major companies, some with their own asphalt plants and thus, in competition with the DHBC. Additionally, more than $9.8 million was paid to a non-existent Trinidadian company back in 2015 – one year before the company was incorporated. Meanwhile, Managing Director, Rawlston Adams would have spent $897,000 from the public funds to purchase a bracelet for himself.
Last week, Edghill disclosed that the former APNU/AFC Government spent a whopping $488 million to procure parts for and then constructed the modern Eco 2000 Batch Mix Asphalt Plant but it is still non-operational.
On Friday, he called out his predecessor, David Patterson for announcing that the plant was producing asphalt, when in reality, several aspects need to be fixed. The asphalt being produced presently is sourced completely from the older plant.
“This is the white elephant that has to be fixed and has to be addressed… Since we got into Government, we discovered that parts were not in place to make it functional. That is why I cannot understand the level of honesty of David Patterson…We’re all physically present and the plant never turn a tonne of asphalt. It cannot. Every[thing] that needs to be there to make it functional is not so no amount of propaganda and spinning things in the public will make a non-functional asphalt plant, function.”
Government is mobilising to ensure the plant is operationalised, since it is critical in the developmental agenda which has been planned for the next five years. The Minister shared that a special probe will be conducted by the Audit Office of Guyana, to determine why the plant is non-operational and if funds were used wisely.
He noted, “We have a very robust developmental agenda. This plant and its capacity to produce asphalt on a daily basis if required and needed. Up until now, it can’t be operational and functional. I don’t know if it will ever be and what cost. This one will require a special investigation to find out how it was procured, if it was the best deal we got, why it’s not functioning, what needs to be done to make sure it functions and how could we start using it to get greater efficiency.”
A team of technical personnel is being arranged to inspect the state of affairs and determine the next steps to fix the faulty components. (G12)