Decision expected soon on contentious contract for new GGMC offices

The Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) on Thursday announced that a decision will be made soon on works for its proposed High and Princes streets main office which was halted after a government minister raised concerns.

Contention over the award of the contract for the completion of works on the building has seen the project put on hold.

Stabroek News had been told by a source that there had been many objections after the GGMC recently awarded the contract to a company with links to the firm that had allegedly produced substandard work on the building and which had its contract terminated. After a series of complaints, the GGMC’s board made a decision to put the contract on hold and review it.

In a statement on the situation on Thursday, the GGMC said that it had invited bids for civil works on the building.

But a letter of protest was submitted to the Minister of Natural Resources Robert Persaud and following a meeting with the Chairman of the Board of Directors and other officials, a review by the Board was requested before proceeding.

The GGMC said that the submitted bids were reviewed and a recommendation was made to the Board for approval. However, it added, given the nature and scope of the project”, the Board at the request of Minister Persaud is currently reviewing the recommendations and a decision will be forthcoming in the immediate future.”

Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr. Roger Luncheon on Wednesday disclosed that the contract issuance had garnered Cabinet’s attention.

“It was raised by a Cabinet member and we were informed about the contention that is surrounding this issue, and efforts are now being made to have the matter comprehensively addressed,” Luncheon said.

Stabroek News understands that a verbal complaint was made to PPP/C parliamentarian Manzoor Nadir, who discussed the matter with Minister of Finance Dr. Ashni Singh and a decision was made to bring the project and the disagreements that surround it to the President’s attention.

The High Street complex, the location of the former Guyana Broadcasting Corporation, was built in 2008 at the cost of $600 million and has since been the source of much controversy. Although construction ceased, the building was never completed, and the existing structure is plagued with various defects. At a press conference recently, Persaud announced that the contract to complete the building was awarded. Chairman of the Board Clinton Williams had promised reporters then to submit the contract amounts but to date has not done so.

A source had told Stabroek News last year that the building’s foundation contained sub-standard material and that the contractor, Kishan Bacchus Construction Company, had carried out works on the foundation and on the interior of the building that were in excess of contractual specifications.

It was also said that the ceiling of the building was improperly designed and as a result the placement of air vents and roofing works would have resulted in limited vertical space and the situation would need to be rectified. Kishan Bacchus Construction Company only secured the contract after the initial contractor backed out of the project.

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