Sport Minister Dr. Frank Anthony yesterday described the signing of the contract for ‘phase one’ of the construction of Guyana’s first synthetic track as “something quite historic” when the deal was inked at the construction site, Leonora, West Coast Demerara.
The contract worth $124,960,227 was awarded to Courtney Benn Contracting Services and according to the minister this first phase covering the preparatory works on the land is expected to be completed in seven months.
Anthony emphasized that this ‘phase one’ of the construction would involve the laying of the foundation for the track and the $124.9M will only cover this aspect of the works.
“The property extends all the way to the seawall, we have about 36 acres of land that has been allocated by the Government of Guyana, and for this phase one basically what we will be doing is preparing the ground. This preparation of the land is really to lay the foundation for where the track will eventually go,” Anthony said.
“This sum of money you are seeing, this $124 million, is just for the beginning, this sum is not the sum of money that will be expended on the site. We will require a far larger sum [for that]. We just want people to understand that this will just help us to prepare the land, fill it up to the desired level, fill it up to the foundation that is needed.”
For the actual laying of the track, Anthony said, an overseas company will have to be contracted by the ministry to undertake that part of the project. Anthony noted that the reason for this is that no company in Guyana has ever undertaken such a project before.
“Phase Two” he stated will “envisage the laying of the actual track and the putting in of some of the facilities that will actually be needed.”
And Anthony said further that the ministry has already spoken with some prospective international companies to undertake the further development of the project.
“Whatever facility we are developing we want it to meet the required standard. But because this is our first facility like this there is no Guyanese company that can build such a facility, so we will be working with an overseas company to ensure a surface – a synthetic track – that can meet world standards. We have already spoken with some international companies for when it will come to that,” Anthony said. “I think what all of you are witnessing is something quite historic because there has been a lot of debate in the sporting fraternity for many decades now about putting in a synthetic track and now we, the Government of Guyana, is not only talking about putting in a synthetic athletic track, here it is we have moved from talking to planning and today is our first step to implementing,” he added.
And Guyana’s governing body for athletics, the Athletics Association of Guyana, will not be left out either as Anthony declared that the ministry will be working in partnership with the body as its stakeholders will be the chief beneficiaries of the facility.
Present for the signing Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the contracting company, Courtney Benn, thanked the ministry for putting their trust in his company to get the job done in the required period stipulated.
Anthony noted that Benn had given the assurance that the project will be completed in the stipulated time.
“He [Benn] has given his assurance that he will be able to complete the project in the given time frame,” Anthony said.