Education Minister Priya Manickhand on Wednesday led a team around the University of Guyana’s Turkeyen Campus, on which three building projects are ongoing. During her tour, the Minister warned the contractors that delays in completion of the projects would not be acceptable, and works must be finished within the agreed contractual timeline or they would face the possibility of contract termination.
The three projects, valued at almost $500M, would see the following structures being constructed on the UG Turkeyen Campus (i): a pump house that would alleviate the constant flooding experienced on the campus when it rains. This project should have been completed during the first half of 2020. (ii): a modern three-storey bursary building; and (iii): rehabilitation of the sewage system. These projects also should have been completed in 2020.
While speaking to the contractors, Minister Manickchand expressed disappointment at the non-completion of the projects. She told representatives of the respective contracting companies that delays in completion of these projects would not be tolerated by the Education Ministry or the Government of Guyana. She explained that the works have to be completed within the agreed timeframe, since the projects were budgeted for.
“All these projects are at a 10% (completion), and (they) should have been completed by now. We are expressing great displeasure at that, and we are sending a warning to contractors. This is a complete failure on the part of the contractors; it is unacceptable, reprehensible and a breach of contract”, the Minister of Education said.
Manickchand has said that once these works are not completed within the specified timeframe, contracts would be terminated. She further noted that when contractors bid for the projects, they should have considered the factors that would cause delays.
“There can be no excuses. You have to get it done within the time agreed, and this (delay) stops today. Do what you say you will do”.
In adding, she said there should be no complaints from contractors about finances, since all three contractors had received advance payments.
Minister Manickchand has said that, going forward, the UG Project Implementation Unit (PIU) and the Ministry of Education’s Department of Engineering would be overlooking the work of contractors to ensure they meet their timelines for completion.
The pump station is now set to be completed at the end of March 2021, while the new bursary building is set for a May 2021 completion and the rehabilitation of the sewage system is set to be completed in November 2021.
The contractors awarded the projects are: S and K Construction and Consultancy Services, who will be constructing the Human Resources and Bursary Building; R Kissoon Construction Services, who will be building the pump house; and S. Jagmohan Hardware Supplies and Construction Services, who will be constructing the sewerage system.
During the meeting with the Minister, the contractors revealed that although the contracts were awarded in 2019, there have been some hiccups that led to delays.
“There were certain preconstruction pre-requisites in terms of technical specs back and forth, in allowing us to go ahead to precure materials, and we have gone past that…they have given us a startup date in which we are working with,” the project engineer of S. Jagmohan Construction Services said.
Manickhand was accompanied by Vice-Chancellor of the University of Guyana, Professor Paloma Mohamed-Martin; Permanent Secretary of the Education Ministry, Alfred King; and Head of the MoE Buildings Unit, Ron Eastman.
State capital projects for UG are generally executed by the Education Ministry.