…efforts being made to recoup money from contractor
The Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) administration has moved against a contractor who undertook the construction of the Supply, East Bank Demerara (EBD) Health Centre, but against whom sanctions have since been recommended over alleged shoddy work.
This was revealed by Regional Executive Officer Pauline Lucas, who was at the time addressing a statutory meeting of the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) held earlier this week. According to Lucas, she has not only terminated the contract but has also ordered the contractor, Navin and Son’s, to repay the region monies for the foundation and columns.
“I wrote to him outlining the results of the recent tests that were done and indicated to him that he would have to redo the foundation at his own cost. However, he indicated to me that in his view nothing was wrong with the foundation and therefore he saw no need for the foundation having to be redone,” she said.
“I have therefore written to the Ministry of Communities outlining the issues and thereby seeking the advice in the way forward. As such, the Ministry wrote me and accepted my recommendation of terminating the contractor with the contractor tasked with repaying the region,” the REO continued.
Lucas stressed that the decision to terminate the contract is based on recommendations made by the senior engineer for the region and the Auditor General’s office, both of whom conducted tests on the works done. Both tests lead to similar findings.
However, Region Four Councillor Mazarool Majeed questioned what would become of the foundation in having it redone. According to Lucas, this will be part of the region’s letter to the contractor. She noted that he will have to shoulder the cost of dismantling the columns and foundation.
She also addressed other concerns regarding the re-advertisement of the same contract.
Councillor Amarnauth Chickan questioned whether the previous blueprints and even the current site would be used again. The Councillor was against the same site being used to construct the health centre and called for a detailed assessment of the area by regional engineers to guide further construction.
The Supply Health Centre has for some time been at the heart of a struggle between regional officials seeking value for money and the contractor. A few months ago, an investigation was ordered into the issue by Regional Chairperson Genevieve Allen.
The move was sparked after Councillors on the RDC recommended sanctions against the contractor. At the time, it was pointed out that the contractor has multiple contracts in the region and thus, those projects could also have issues.
There have been long standing concerns over the quality of the work and the actions of the contractor; all of which had caused the Region Four authorities to seek to halt the construction of the health centre.
According to a report that was submitted by the Clerk of Works, the contractor had failed to comply with a number of requirements for the project. Among the requirements reportedly ignored by the contractor was one for the complete removal of tree roots and debris from the site.
Regional officials have complained that contrary to the specifications of the project, the casting of the health centre flooring was found to have been done without removing a major tree stump. Lucas had previously expressed concern that this raised serious questions about the strength and quality of the building.
The contractor was ordered by the Clerk of Works to not proceed with casting the foundation of the health centre. This cease work order was reportedly ignored.