Why were the Kato school repairs awarded to Vikab?

Dear Editor,

The award of Kato school repairs to Vikab and Kares Engineering is incorrect. Are former President Jagdeo and the present Ministry of Finance (MOF), (previously PNCites/Jagdeoites and now Coalitionites) not going to comment on this award, saying it is unjust? It was during the stewardship of the PPP/C that Vikab displaced Cemco Engineering, the favourite of the PNC prior to 1992, so much so that the two managers became enemies.  Do not forget that I was there and I took Jagdeo and the present MOF team, the Vikab consultant and others on the MOF and tender board, to Dr Jagan for not acting on “value for money”.

The government claims that the invitation for proposals was sent to 6 short-listed consultants and only Vikab responded. The professional, transparent and accountable thing to do now is to request proposals publicly and internationally, because the response was not competitive. It was alleged that during the Jagdeo era, consultants and contractors were retained by a certain method, i.e 6 consultants would be asked to submit proposals and 5 of them would be advised to show a very high cost so they would be disqualified in favour of the preferred one out of the six; then in the next round, 1 out of the remaining 5 would be favoured and the process would continue. To say that repairs are urgent, will send the message that corruption is involved, because the deficient works were in the air a long time ago. Plus it is in the bush that the public will not know value for money. We are waiting to hear the cost of correcting the deficiencies, because this government in opposition claimed the contract price was too high. To select Vikab without a public request for a proposal is incorrect.

To add to this shameful award, the very contractor who failed in his contract, his performance, schedule, carried out variations and extra work, was responsible for many deficiencies, and allegedly had an over-valued contract, will be retained to correct his own deficiencies, probably with another high priced contract, instead of his performance bond paying for the repairs.

This beats me in my professional practice and Mr Jagdeo would not demonstrate such ignorance so publicly.

The award of the Kato school repairs to Vikab Consultant and Kares Engineering is shameful. In addition, the coalition government when in opposition, condemned the Kato school costs, and criticised Vikab. I agree with the government about removing Jagdeoites from several positions, but why retain the guys at the MOF?

Yours faithfully,

Joe Persaud

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