Barabina road contractor fired

-work handed over to residents

The contractor hired to build a $21.3M road to Barabina in the north west district has been fired by the Ministry of Public Works after he failed to complete the work and the remainder of the task will be handed over to the residents.

The Barabina Road construction site during a visit by Stabroek News on July 8th
The Barabina Road construction site during a visit by Stabroek News on July 8th

According to a Govern-ment Information Agency (GINA) press release, the residents of the community of Barabina, Region 1 have been given the opportunity to earn money and at the same time bring closure to their longstanding road issue. This decision was taken after the Minister of Local Government, Norman Whittaker consulted with the Minister of Public Works, Robeson Benn, under whose ministry the contract was awarded and being executed and the Regional Administration, who were monitoring the project.

The decision to terminate follows a report in Stabroek News on July 22nd about the state of the work and the lamentations of the residents over it.

The announcement was then made by Whittaker on a visit to the community on July 25th where he informed residents that the contract granted to Joshi Construction to construct the revetment of the Barabina Road was terminated and would be given to them to complete the outstanding work. In his address, he said, “The project faced several delays and the contract should have been terminated with Joshi Construction earlier, but one of the last things you want to be doing is changing contractor in the middle of the project”.

The Ministry of Public Works had on several occasions spoken to the contractor about the delays and hindrances affecting the road works and had said that they were not satisfied with the contractor’s performance. The release reiterated words spoken by both Benn and the hinterland engineer, Mohamed Naeem, that payment had only been made for the work completed so far which was estimated to be some 70%. If calculated that would be approximately $15M.The remaining 30% of work, valued at approximately $6.3M will be completed by the residents who will supply the labour and material (laterite) to build up the road to the required 1 meter height.

One resident and community leader of Barabina told Stabroek News yesterday that the residents are all pleased that their voices have been heard and are much more comfortable with the decision to give them the work to earn money and ensure a proper road is built. The resident further explained that much technical expertise isn’t required since the laying of laterite and corduroy is a simple task requiring no heavy machinery. The individual thanked Stabroek News for raising the issue, allowing them some deliverance from the plight they’ve been faced with for months.

Whittaker, on his visit also updated the residents on the effort to supply the community with electricity, informing them that poles, previously promised to them will be planted in the community shortly. He indicated that Cummings Electrical had been contracted to do so.

On a visit to Whitewater, Whittaker engaged the residents reminding them of the Government’s commitment to develop their community specifically citing strides made in the education sector.

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