“They were warned” – PPP General Secretary

Govt/Fedders Lloyd hospital limbo

People’s Progressive Party (PPP) General Secretary Clement Rohee said the hot water Government has foundHospital itself in with the India-based contractor Fedders Lloyd Corporation Limited could have been avoided, had it heeded the advice of the masses.

He said Government has been failing to take advice from anyone, and, as usual, only realises its mistake “when scandals hit them in their face”.

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, on Friday announced that Government was once again putting the multibillion-dollar Specialty Hospital Project on hold, since it was found out that the contractor was blacklisted by the World Bank. The Administration, he said, will be discontinuing the arrangement with the construction company.

The company was selected by Government, after the former contractor, Surendra Engineering Inc, was fired by the former PPP/C Administration in 2014. Following that dismissal, the new Administration came under fire for selecting Fedders Lloyd without carrying out the requisite procurement process. Government’s contention was that the company was the second-ranked bidder after Surendra, so the move was very much appropriate.

Rohee, at the press conference on Monday, said the “fiasco” could have very well been avoided.

“The PPP has been warning the Government about the contractor, about going down that road.” Government, he said, has been going down the road of sole sourcing and ignoring the views of others that the Project should be returned to tender.

“I hope they have learnt their lesson from that,” Rohee told this publication on Monday.

“It appears that Government has been going down the path on matters totally oblivious to what people have to say in the country. They feel that they have all the answers, not listening to anyone and the only time they listen is when they come under enormous pressure and when scandal hits them in their face, like this matter,” he added.

The information on the Indian company was communicated to Government by the Indian High Commission here via a letter dated June 2016.

“(The letter said), among other things, the contractor Fedders Lloyd Corporation Limited was not eligible to continue the Project because it was debarred or disbarred by the World Bank for projects until 2020 due to its procurement policy,” the Minister related.

He further stated that the Indian Government expressed preference for a fresh tendering process to be conducted to select a new India-based contractor to execute the project.

Harmon pointed out that this new development has resulted in the Project being once again put on hold to facilitate a new tendering process for a new contracting firm prepared to complete the project for the remaining US$13.8 million.

“The tendering process, as we are aware, actually takes quite a while – several months it takes – to be completed and while this process is undertaken, the loan sum continues to be eroded by inflation, interests and fees,” the Minister of State outlined.

He explained that in light of this development, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Finance and Public Health have been requested by Cabinet to make “certain enquiries” of the Indian Government before a definitive course of action is taken by Guyana on the Specialty Hospital Project.