Construction work on the new government complex which is to house several agencies including the Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security has been moving at snail’s pace and despite several deadline extensions the work is far from half-complete nearly a year after it started.
The building is being constructed at a cost of $600M on a plot of land at Princes and High streets, where the Guyana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) was once located.
Contacted last evening Labour Minister Manzoor Nadir told Stabroek News that the contractor Kishan Bacchus is to be blamed for the sloth in the project. He said that when he visited the site about three weeks ago, the work was only 40% complete and the new deadline date for completion is April 30.
Efforts by this newspaper to contact Bacchus for a comment were unsuccessful.
The Minister explained that construction started in April last year and the deadline date for completion was the end of December. However it was owing to problems obtaining construction material and the weather that the consultant gave a five-month extension.
“The progress is painfully slow. If he continues at this rate and if we allow him to, we are looking at another 10-12 months”, Nadir told this newspaper adding that “The new deadline is the end of April. That is virtually impossible for him to meet unless he is superman”.
Asked how the delay is affecting the employees, he said that they are all very disappointed but they have to cope with the situation since work has to continue.
Nadir further said that “there are some processes that we have to go through”, what asked about the actions that will be taken against the contractor.
In 2001, a decision was taken by government to construct a new building after the ministry’s operation was decentralized following a fire. The Ministry is presently housed at Cornhill and Water streets with other locations at Brickdam, Camp Street and North Road.
The new building which is to be a two-storey one with about 65,000 square feet, is to house these four locations as well as several government agencies.
In July last year the Government Information Agency (GINA) had said that the foundation was laid and that work was being done to frame curb walls and erect columns.
Nadir had said on that occasion that they were looking to award the contracts for the electrical aspect and the design for the air conditioning of the building.