Ministry responds to `Shah’s golden toilet’ criticisms

Stung by criticisms in a Sunday Stabroek Business Page column over the prices for items in the Timehri airport expansion project and subsequent reports in the Kaieteur News, the Ministry of Public Works today said that the figures include other costs such as labour and profit.

Chartered Accountant Christopher Ram’s column in the June 30, 2013  Sunday Stabroek headlined `Airport extension and the Shah’s golden toilet’ pilloried the government over the apparent inflated prices for toilet sets and other items.

Ram pointed that the price listed for toilet sets in the China Harbour and Engineering Company (CHEC) contract with the Guyana Government was $424,212 whereas toilet sets over here ranged in cost from $15,500 to $33,355. Urinals were listed in the CHEC contract at $297,694 whereas in Guyana they could be sourced at between 11,995 and $17,900. He also cited electrical fixtures such as 120V 2x36W fluorescent lights priced at $32,708 in the CHEC contract while the price locally was $17,980.

Ram in the previous week’s column cited a series of other flaws in the contract with CHEC for the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Timehri and said it could end up costing Guyana over US$250M as opposed to the contract sum of US$138 million.

The Ministry statement issued today follows:

The Ministry of Public Works wishes to clarify and correct the renewed misconceptions being carried by Kaieteur News  on the Cheddi Jagan International Airport Expansion Project.

The contract between China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) and the Ministry of Public Works (MPW) is a Lump Sum contract signed under the terms and conditions of the International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC).

The articles fail to reflect  that under such contracts the cost for each line item usually includes several other costs including materials, labour, overheads, transportation and profit.

For the particular sanitary items mentioned there is no pricing stated for sewer lines, washroom cubicles and doors and the many fittings associated with the washroom; these are all catered for in the line item pricing as such as “toilet set”  – as is the case for  all Lump Sum contracts.

It is, therefore, deliberately misleading for one to extract a line item indexed cost and represent that this cost is the cost for the stated line item while completely ignoring the associated costs related to the item given the distributive native of lump-sum contracts.

The Ministry wishes to further state that the Airport Expansion Contract pricing is very competitive and reasonable when compared to other airport contracts:

The Ministry deplores this new line of attack on the project particularly by persons who are certainly aware of the nature of these contracts and, moreso, who have stated that they have “consulted” on the type of contract entered in.

Comparative Construction costs of other airports (USD / sq ft):

Chicago Midway             US$281

Denver Colorado            US$284

CJIA                                    US$300

Washington                       US$353

San Jose CA                       US$400

Vancouver BC                   US$418

San Diego CA                    US$450

JFK – Jet Blue                    US$1,000

 

Comparative Construction costs of Concrete Apron (USD/ sq .m)

 

CJIA                                                                 US$193

Florida Department of Transportation           US$237 – US$302

 

The Ministry is very concerned about the continued  attempts by some politicians and media operatives to frustrate the Airport Expansion Project and stymie development in Guyana.

  • Bahamas – US$409M
  • St Vincent & the Grenadines – US$240M
  • St Maarten – US$232M
  • Cayman Island – US$244M
  • Guyana – US$150M
  • Barbados – US$100M
  • Bermuda – US$200M – US$300M (depending on land available)
  • Jamaica – US$20M

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