Work on the US$18 million specialty hospital at Turkeyen is expected to commence soon as a consultancy contract has been awarded to a local company to ensure government gets “value for money” Attorney-General Anil Nandall says.
“The contract is going ahead, the company that was awarded the contract (Surendra Engineering) has already mobilized people but there had to be a consultancy contract to oversee the works on behalf of government …so that we get value for money. There was a delay due to getting the consultancy but it is sorted and as far as I am aware the works will begin,” Nandlall told Stabroek News yesterday.
The attorney-general said that he could not immediately recall the name of the consultancy firm but could provide this later if desired.
Last week, Minister of Health Dr. Bheri Ramsaran, when asked for an update on the proposed hospital, told Stabroek News that legal issues pertaining to the contract were still being worked out by the attorney-general. “Right now the AG is looking at documents to work out the legalities to see what can be done…as you recall the opposition cut the money for the hospital but we are still looking at ways…” Ramsarran had said.
During this year’s budget debate a $1.25B provision for the controversial hospital was cut by the opposition. A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) has pointed to the government’s lack of dialogue on the opposition’s position that the formulation of the deal was not transparent.
The Alliance for Change on the other hand had raised objections and pointed out that Surendra Engineering already had problems with the Enmore sugar packaging plant and had never before built a hospital more-so a specialty hospital which requires meticulous infrastructural work for its medical functions.
At one point, another Indian company Fedders Lloyd had complained bitterly about being sidelined in favour of Surendra but has since abandoned its attempt to have the contract rescinded.
The opposition’s cutting of the funds raised the question as to whether Surendra might have concerns about continuing with the project because of uncertainty over future disbursals. It is yet unclear how money will be made available for the project considering this allocation had been cut by the opposition.
Analysts say the recent exit of Sithe Global for lack of political consensus on the Amaila hydropower project can have the effect of dissuading investors who are unsure as to how Parliament might treat with similar projects.
Efforts to contact the opposition for comment yesterday proved futile. Attempts to make contact with Surendra Engineering also proved futile and there was no immediate response to several emails and numerous phone calls.
In June, the contractor responsible for building Surendra’s site office had stated that the building was near completion and was equipped with housing facilities for the company’s staff from India. However, to date, no one has taken up residence in the building and only a security guard stands watch daily.