The main opposition, APNU, yesterday called on government to explain why a survey is only now being done for the Amaila Falls access road as it questioned whether the survey should not have been done prior to the awarding of the contracts for the construction of the road.
APNU’s statement followed comments by Minister of Transport and Hydraulics Robeson Benn who said that the plane which crashed at Sparendaam on Saturday was on a technical survey mission for the Amaila Falls access road. Two persons, American Pierre Angiel, 71, of Florida and Canadian technician, Nick Dmitriev, 54, died in the crash.
“The plane was on a technical survey mission for the Amaila Falls hydropower access road to do what is termed a LiDAR survey; this is for the best geometric and other alignments for the road,” Benn had told reporters on the scene. He had said that the work was subcontracted but declined to name the company that the survey was being done for and would only reiterate that the work was being done for the hydropower road alignment.
APNU, in a statement yesterday, expressed condolences on the loss of life of the two persons who died in the crash and also expressed regret at the destruction of the home of Florence Dyer-Tyndall, whose house the plane had crashed into and exploded.
The APNU statement said that it notes that the foreign registered aircraft was allegedly on a survey for the Amalia Falls Road and questioned the absence of any local personnel on such a flight. “APNU also questions whether this survey should not have been done prior to the contracts for construction of the Amaila Falls Road being awarded,” the statement said. The coalition called upon the government to give a full explanation on the work which was allegedly being done on the Amaila Falls Road as it relates to the downed aircraft.
Stabroek News was unable to contact Benn for comment yesterday.
The initial awarding of the US$15.4 million road contract to Fip Motilall in early 2010 was enveloped in controversy. Government and Motilall came in for severe criticism as persons questioned the wisdom of the decision on the basis of doubt of Motilall’s road-building experience. Government defended the process as being open and transparent and said that out of the five or so bids received, Motilall’s bid was the most favourable.
However, in January 2012, the government announced that it had terminated the contract due to Motilall’s failure to meet deadlines. After government wrested the contract from Motilall, it awarded contracts to a number of contractors to complete the work. At that time, the project had been 33 percent completed.
Up to the end of last year, government engineer Walter Willis had said that the Amaila road in its entirety was about 67 percent completed with varying rates of progress being seen on the several lots of the road project. Government hopes that the road is passable by the end of June this year.
Meantime, APNU yesterday, also pointed out that the plane crash follows closely upon fatal accidents in the riverain areas of Guyana and said that it highlights the need for greater safety measures in the transport sector, which the Minister of Transport must address as a matter of urgency.