Renovations at Brickdam lock-ups had design flaws – Ramjattan
…says tendering mistakes delayed process
Following calls by the helm of the Guyana Police Force for works on the Brickdam Police Station lock-ups to be fast-tracked in order to meet the needs of the city, Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan has posited that the works previously done on the building had design flaws.
Ramjattan made this disclosure at a press conference on Friday hosted by the Alliance For Change (AFC), of which he is the leader. With any prison systems, the construction has to be of a specific design, especially as it relates to air circulation.
“You have to have a perfect design that will aerate if you’re not going to make it air-conditioned and there was some problems with that initial design,” he stated.
The minister explained that the contractor had indicated that with the monies allocated for the project, he could have only done works in accordance to the designs.
“It was done to specifications; but when it was done to specifications, we can’t put prisoners in there, we gonna kill them. So now we have to have remedial works,” Ramjattan remarked.
He pointed out that his administration inherited this situation with several other projects throughout the country. He referred specifically to the Forensic Laboratory, which he noted has to undergo remedial works in order to ensure there is equivalent temperature throughout the building for properly storing samples, among other things.
Meanwhile, as it relates to the remedial works to correct the design flaws on the Brickdam Lock-ups, the Public Security Minister noted that while monies were allocated in the 2016 Budget to complete the facility, there were some delays with the tendering process.
Ramjattan added that the flawed tenders went back to the evaluation committee, who then returned them to the various bidders with indications of where they were “non-responsive”.
However, only one of the three bidders retendered, the Minister said, and that document is currently before the National Tender Board awaiting approval. Given that there is only one bidder, it is expected that the contract will be awarded before December 31.
On Saturday 22 October, acting Police Commissioner David Ramnarine called out authorities to fast-track works on the Brickdam lock-ups, which he said is taking too long: “It’s taking a bit too long. It’s a key facility and should be given the requisite attention or more attention as it needs.”
According to Ramnarine, the facility is a “travesty” to law enforcement efforts in ‘A’ Division (Georgetown/East Bank Demerara) and is affecting the work of the Police in that Division.
Furthermore, Ramnarine explained that these concerns have been raised with officials but more efforts need to be undertaken to have the process expedited, given the importance of the Brickdam Lock-ups.
The condition of the Brickdam Lock-ups has come in for much scrutiny and criticisms over the years. This resulted in the city’s main detention facility undergoing a major overhaul back in 2009, when some $14.4 million was expended to rehabilitate the once smelly and unsightly facility that was referred to as a ‘dungeon horrible’ by a Commission of Inquiry several years ago.