President Ramotar’s explanation of why infrastructure was deteriorating was not convincing
Delivering the feature address last week (Wednesday, September 26, 2012) at the launch of the Guyana Diaspora Project in New York, President Ramotar explained the deterioration of newly built roads and other infrastructure in Guyana as that which results from local contractors being “swamped” and unable to get materials on time and within their budgetary allocations. I took that to mean substandard materials are being used because materials of a certain standard cannot be gotten on time and are too expensive. As a possible solution to the problem, the President mentioned that government was considering allowing foreign contractors to enter the market. Since the interactive session listed on the programme was skipped, I air my contention here.
If flimsy infrastructure results from local contractors being “swamped” and unable to obtain materials on time and within their budgetary allocations, how exactly would the problem be solved by looking to foreign contractors? What really inhibits the timely acquisition of materials and causes local contractors to be “swamped”? The first thing that comes to mind is the operation of our harbour. It just isn’t efficient. In fact if conceptualized, my experience with customs officials and dock workers would be the antonym of efficient. Why would the experience of foreign contractors, as opposed to local ones, be any different? It is therefore the duty of the government to fix that which impedes the timely acquisition of the materials needed to build infrastructure of a certain standard.
As per budgetary allocations being a reason for weak infrastructure and foreign contractors being a possible solution, I was forced to question the rationality of the President’s explanation. I am uncertain how the nationality of the contractor would determine how he manages money. And unless nationality allows a contractor to get quality materials at a bargain price, I am unable to understand how foreign contractors can be a possible solution to the problem of weak infrastructure being the result of local contractors mismanaging their budgets.
In closing, I suggest that the system which presides over the examination and evaluation of materials into Guyana be revised so as to expedite the process. For that, not budgetary allocations, seems to be the real impediment which causes contractors to be “swamped”. And if I am correct and that is indeed the case, it is irrelevant whether the contractor is a local or a foreigner.