BKI has a chequered history of satisfying its construction obligations

Dear Editor,

In a SN article of Sept 28, it was reported that the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Guyana Power and Light Inc (GPL) has confirmed that BK International (BKI) was issued the contract for the construction of the wharf and fuel delivery facility for GPL’s new power plant at Vreed-en-Hoop.

There was no competitive bidding for this contract, which was selectively given to a chosen contractor, BKI, by a statutory body, GPL of the Government of Guyana (GoG) as a private transaction.  Therefore, based on this premise the contract was not required to be awarded under the Procurement Act which generally adheres to the principles of transparency and public advertisement.

BKI has had a checkered history of satisfying its construction obligations in accordance with its terms and conditions on GoG projects over the last 10 years.  Among these projects are the Good Hope/Supenaam stelling which has had a high cost and time turnover and continues to require constant costly repair works for it to be functional. The evidence suggests that the project was poorly managed, and was executed with sloppy sub-standard work.

Secondly, there was the European funded Sea Defence Project on the East Coast of Demerara which has resulted in time and costly overruns.

There is now the East Bank of Demerara four-lane highway with substantial cost overruns and no realistic completion date in sight (only guesses) as BKI continues to wrangle with GoG/DDL/GWI/GPL/GT&T about the timely removal of their facilities from the highway’s right-of-way at the late stage of project construction.

BKI is still struggling to complete the Head Regulator for the Hope Canal Project by Dec 31, 2013 after being given several time extensions. The activity schedule for this project shows that the Hope Canal Head Regulator will not be completed by Dec 31, 2013 and a further time extension will have to be given once again to complete the project, and as usual with no penalty applied; only threats when all is said and done.

Generally a contractor with such a poor contract performance should be barred from bidding for future GoG contracts until existing contracts are satisfactorily completed. It is therefore mind boggling that despite its poor contract execution performance, BKI continues to benefit from lucrative GoG contracts.

Finally CEO Dindyal stated that the most challenging construction problem faced by GPL to date was the forced use of 72 ft poles for the foundation of the power plant which are the longest being used anywhere in the country. Courtney Benn Construction has recently driven over 200 piles 105ft long for a sluice foundation for the Hope Canal Project.
It seems therefore that the challenges faced by GPL are more superficial than real.

Yours faithfully,
Charles Sohan

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