The site of the proposed Specialty Hospital was a hive of activity last Friday with white sand being delivered, nearly a year after preparatory site works began and less than two weeks after an advertisement appeared for the submission of expressions of interest (EoI) for the supply, delivery and stockpiling of white sand.
On December 22, 2012, an advertisement appeared in the Guyana Chronicle for the EoI at $1,800 per cubic metre of sand, which had a deadline date of 2 pm the next day. The advertisement came two days after Stabroek News reported that that project appeared stalled as a result of a hitch in the Indian financing, following controversy between two Indian companies over how the contract was awarded.
Government is responsible for preparing the site before the building of the US$18,180,000 ($3,689,616,400) specialty hospital commences. Contracts worth $98 million were awarded to G Bovell Construction Company back in January of last year to begin preparatory work. The money allocated was to go towards land filling and preparation, building of the fence to the property, laying of drains, installation of four bridges and gates as entrances and exits and an access road. The duration given for the completion of the site preparation works was slated as three months.
It is unclear why a contract was awarded for the delivery and stockpiling of sand when G Bovell Construction Company was already contracted to landfill the site. When Stabroek News tried contacting G Bovell Construction, one of the listed numbers was disconnected and the other rang out. Up to press time this newspaper’s efforts were futile.
Reporters were told that a firm located in the city was awarded the sand contract.
When Stabroek News visited the site on Friday, bobcat operators who were transferring the sand from the road to the compound began performing stunts with their machines and even posed for photographs. However, two men who appeared to be supervisors were not as welcoming. Upon seeing reporters, a meeting between the duo quickly broke up and one person began walking swiftly towards the Rupert Craig Highway while the other remained somewhat dazed. When asked what was the operation he stated that he was “only the sand checker” designated to count the number of loads of sand delivered. He declined to speak further.
There were several piles on sand lining the University of Guyana Road and a truck was delivering sand inside the compound.
The contract to design, build and equip the hospital was awarded to the Indian company Surendra Engineering amidst much controversy. Stabroek News was reliably informed that the money for the project has not yet been released by the Exim Bank of India.
The award has come under fire with not only one of the bidders but both parliamentary opposition parties calling for a probe into it.
Another Indian company, Fedders-Lloyd, had raised objections to the award of the contract to Surendra and local authorities were also forced to defend the manner in which the final decision was made.