UG personnel helping with geotechnical survey for hospital site – Ramsaran

The Ministry of Health is now relying on University of Guyana personnel to assist with geotechnical information for the Turkeyen site where the specialty hospital is to be built.

Health Minister Dr Bheri Ramsaran made this disclosure on Saturday following the rejection by  Ground Structures Engineering Consultants Inc of an invitation from the Ministry to bid for the survey.

Dr Bheri Ramsaran

Ground Structures is the only known firm doing this kind of work here. Ramsaran told Stabroek News that some University of Guyana personnel have since been recruited for the task and some “senior persons there have made certain pronouncements on how this whole thing panned out and it’s a storm in a teacup.”

Whichever company is to build the hospital will also have acquire its own geotechnical information.

Charles Ceres, the Managing Director of Ground Structures Engineer-ing Consultants Inc, last month  told reporters that government only requested a quotation for geotechnical investigation of the site for the proposed specialty hospital over two months after groundwork had started and provided little of the required information, which will ultimately affect the cost of the facility. He said that his company received a request for a quotation but would not be responding to it because the document has “no concept of what the project entails.”

The document from the Ministry of Health, signed by Naresh Mangar as project manager/civil engineer was dated March 21, 2012. Ceres, who is a geotechnical engineer and groundwater hydrologist, has been expressing concern about the poor service being rendered by local engineers and he cited the hospital project as an example.

“What essentially is happening here is that you’re seeing an indication of technical incompetence which is the norm,” said Ceres. He said this will ultimately affect cost and performance of the facility.

The opposition had charged that money allocated for preparation works for the specialty hospital had been improperly and imprudently spent.

This project was one of the items controversially voted against by the opposition in one of the financial papers that the government had taken to Parliament last month for withdrawals from the Contingencies Fund. The opposition and other stakeholders have argued that many of these projects are being rushed by the government for political purposes and have not been adequately planned.

Ramsaran charged that Ceres was “unethical” in revealing publicly that he had been invited to give a quotation for the geotechnical investigation of the site for the proposed specialty hospital.

“It’s unethical,” the minister said adding that Ceres is “unenlightened.”

Ramsaran told Stabroek News that a geotechnical survey is needed by the persons, an Indian company,  that will build the hospital but the ministry does not have to provide this data. “This is a huge piece of land and we, too, are interested in future developments already,” Ramsaran said.

He said that Ceres was invited because he was involved in the National Aquatic Centre a short distance away and they thought that he would have the requisite knowledge because he worked nearby. The minister was critical of Ceres’ actions. “What it means, good intentions don’t run the world,” he said.

“It’s becoming a political football and I’m feeling good because when the going gets tough, the tough gets going,” he said.

He added that the geotechnical survey is good and the ministry would like to have it for “our wider purposes because it is a huge chunk of land and other things have to go there.”

He said that Ceres did not know what the ministry needed the data for. “He doesn’t know what we wanted it for. He just had false assumptions,” he said adding that it is advisable for the builders to get data for themselves. Everyone should be behind the project, he emphasized.

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