Benn’s answers on Kumaka revetment failure unsatisfactory – APNU MP

A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) Parliamentarian Richard Alleyne said he is not at all satisfied with any of the responses given to him by Transport and Hydraulics Minister Robeson Benn during the December 20, 2012 Parliamentary hearing.

Alleyne had posed several questions to Benn concerning suspected malpractice in work on the Kumaka Waterfront Revetment as well as about the project’s projected completion date, considering that it was slated to have been completed on December 19, 2012.

In response to one of the questions, Benn said: “The project’s failure was not the fault of the engineer’s plan. Non-adherence to the prescribed project implementation methodology and design parameters related to anchoring and backfilling of the revetment and unfavourable site conditions were determined to be contributing factors”.

On Thursday, Alleyne said that this response was utterly unacceptable and maintained that someone must take the blame for the enormous wastage of state funds. Sixty-two million dollars had initially been invested in the failed works.

He highlighted where the minister stated that “non-adherence to the prescribed project implementation methodology and design parameters” were partially to blame for the project’s initial failure. Allen asked who was it that failed to comply with the prescribed methodology and design parameters, and if this/these person(s) were not to be blamed. He also said that the engineer responsible for the project, who according to the minister is not at fault, should also receive some of the blame since he should have been on the ground in the area providing supervision instead of leaving everything up to the contractors.

Benn had also said that “a designated team of engineers and technicians from the Ministry of Public Works was assigned the responsibility of planning, designing and supervising the revetment works. The construction works were undertaken by a Force Account Unit from the Transport and Harbours Department of the ministry which has experience in the construction of similar marine structures”.

Alleyne questioned the validity of this response stating that if the persons working on the projects were as experienced as the minister suggested, how could they not foresee and therefore prevent many of the problems encountered.

He said it seemed government was engaging in experimental works with substantial portions of taxpayers’ dollars, referring to the $62 million which had initially been invested in the initial set of works on the revetment.

Benn also announced that a further $35.2 million would be put towards the completion of the project which just entailed the backfilling of the installed revetment and the positioning of scour protection to limit erosion at the toe of the structure. All this, he said, was to have been done by December 19.

Alleyne said on Thursday that the project is long past its due date, and there is still uncertainty as to when the project will be completed.

A resident of Kumaka yesterday told Stabroek News that no works were currently being conducted at the waterfront, and that he was told by the contractors that they will return at the end of the month to continue works. He said he believed this to be most unfortunate considering the abundance of dry weather.

He added that there are several heavy-duty trucks which constantly traverse the water front, putting pressure on the “tie rods” being used to prevent the revetment from shifting. The resident said that in its unfinished stated those trucks pose a very serious threat to the revetment since too much strain may cause the “tie rods” to burst or bend, sending the entire structure back into the river.

He said the Kumaka Stretch, the main road servicing the area, has also been left in an unfinished state. He said workers had just “filled up” the road, but had not paved it. The filling he said is being displaced by vehicles traversing the road, and is more or less unusable.

Another resident, who conducts business at the waterfront, said that it is now more costly to transport her goods. She said that because of the unfinished state of the revetment, she has been forced to pay persons to transport her goods to another area before they can be placed on the boats.

On January 16, 2012 Stabroek News had reported that the Aruka River was continuing to erode the Kumaka waterfront and that the new revetment had started to sink into the river. On April 6, 2012 Stabroek News had reported that work on the revetment had stalled for the second time and that large amounts of earth which had been packed into the area were falling into the Aruka River.

This newspaper had also reported then that the private contractor had abandoned the project amid protests from persons in the business community there that the work being done could not effectively solve the problem.

The Kumaka waterfront has been threatened by the Aruka River for several years now.

Latest in Local News

default placeholder

Resource ambassadors raise $14.5m for UG

Education resource ambassadors from various parts of the world who were recently here for a conference on improving UG have raised $14.5m for the university.

default placeholder

Northern carriageway of Carifesta Avenue closed to traffic

The northern carriageway of Carifesta Avenue has been closed to traffic. This is to facilitate ongoing improvement and lighting works to the thoroughfare.

The newly appointed Deputy Commissioner General Hema Khan (left) with Chairman of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) Board Rawle Lucas. She was introduced during a press conference held yesterday.

GRA sacks heads of Customs, HR

Chairman of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) Board Rawle Lucas yesterday announced a major shake-up in the management of the tax body, including the removal of the heads of its Customs and Human Resources divisions for unsatisfactory performance and the appointment of a Deputy Commissioner-General.

European Union Ambassador Jernej Videtič (left) hands over the Coastal Engineering Design Manual for Guyana Sea and River Defences to Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson. (Ministry of Public Infrastructure photo)

$2B in EU funding for sea defences

While urging the swift operationalisation of the Public Procurement Commission (PPC), European Union (EU) Representative to Guyana Ambassador Jernej Videtič yesterday handed over a $2 billion cheque to Minister of Finance Winston Jordan to aid in improving the country’s sea and river defences.

Members of the City Constabulary in their ceremonial dress march along Regent Street yesterday prior to the arrival of the President. (Photo by Keno George)

Put citizens first

With the controversial parking meter contract instigating fractures within the Mayor and City Council (M&CC), President David Granger yesterday reminded city councillors that they are accountable to the citizens who voted them into office.

Injuried: Dhaniram Tribeni

Canal Number One businessman beaten, shot in home invasion

A Canal Number One businessman is now injured after he was beaten and shot early yesterday morning when armed bandits invaded his home and escaped with a quantity cash and jewellery.

default placeholder

City councillor accused of invading Town Clerk’s privacy

A city councillor has been accused of invading the privacy of Town Clerk Royston King and his family after contacting one of King’s daughters about the controversial trip he made to Mexico with the Mayor and other council members.

default placeholder

Chainsaw operator, 16, charged over rape of 10-yr-old

A 16-year-old chainsaw operator was yesterday charged with the rape of a child under the age of 16 years old and later released into the custody of his parents.


About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: