Govt to retender for works to St Roses, Yarrowkabra schools
…after APNU/AFC-hired contractors botch job
With the Education Ministry reviews of construction on St Roses High and Yarrowkabra Secondary either complete or being finalised, the contracts for these schools are likely to be retendered soon.
This was revealed by Education Minister Priya Manickchand in an exclusive interview with this publication. She noted that the Ministry of Education has been reviewing both projects, which started under the previous Government but had to be terminated by the current Government because of contractual breaches and delays.
“We’re presently assessing what else needs to be done, so that we can put out for public bids for people to bid to do the work that is necessary to be done. Remember the (contractors) left it at a certain point? So, there was a drawing, (the contractors) did some of the work from the drawings,” she said.
According to the Minister, they will now have to seek new contractors who can pick up where the previous contractors left off, based on the previous designs for the schools and who would have the lowest, most responsive bids.
“I think St Roses is finished and ready to go out (to public tender). And Yarrowkabra is almost finished. We want children to be able to benefit from the physical structures of these schools. We want them to have a quality education,” Minister Manickchand also explained.
In November of last year, the Legal Affairs Ministry had cause to terminate a number of contracts inherited from the previous Government which had been delayed and for which the costs had become inflated. One such contract was for the construction of a new St Roses High School.
The contract for this project was awarded since August of 2018. However, the contractor only managed to complete a small fraction of the works it was contracted to do. Courtney Benn Contracting Services Limited (CBCSL), the contractor that was initially awarded the over $350 million contract through the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) to construct the school, was subsequently booted off the project.
It was revealed in November that Attorney General Anil Nandlall on behalf of the Government, wrote to the company informing them that the contract was being terminated on the grounds that they had failed to complete the project in a timely manner and in accordance with work schedules.
“…Your company has committed a fundamental breach of the terms of the contract and as a result thereof, the Government of Guyana hereby exercises its right to terminate the contract with immediate effect,” Nandlall set out in his letter.
When it comes to the Yarrowkabra Secondary School, Nandlall also wrote the contractor a letter dated November 1, 2020, terminating the contract. However, the Education Ministry only managed to take control of the site after contactor BK International finally vacated the location weeks later.
Nandlall had contended in the letter that the company had committed a fundamental breach of the terms of the contract and as a result, the Government of Guyana exercised its right to terminate the contract. In the said letter, the contractor was advised to remove all machinery and equipment from the site.
But on November 10, 2020, the consultancy firm visited the site and observed that the company was still progressing with works despite the contract being terminated.
In a letter dated November 11, 2020, the consultancy firm wrote the Managing Director of BK International Inc, Brian Tiwarie, informing him that pursuant to Clause 40.5 [Termination] “the contractor is to stop the works immediately, make the site safe and secure and leave the site as soon as reasonably possible.”
In that letter, the consultants instructed the contractor to stop works immediately and advised that any work done or materials ordered beyond the date of termination, November 1, 2020, would be done at the contractor’s own risk.
The Ministry added that on November 19, 2020, Permanent Secretary of the Education Ministry, Alfred King wrote BK International Inc instructing the company to bring all work to a halt with immediate effect and vacate the project site within twenty-four hours. This it did within a day.