$600M High St complex being examined by gov’t team

A team led by Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson will examine the controversial $600M High Street building constructed since 2008 but unused due to defects in construction.

Minister of State Joseph Harmon at his weekly post-cabinet press conference on Wednesday described the building as a “sore thumb” sucking monies out of the public purse and said that a decision regarding the edifice would be made shortly. Harmon, when asked about the building, had said that Cabinet had not “actively” considered it.

He pointed out that a number of infrastructure projects are being examined carefully by government. “That building has not come up (on) the radar of Cabinet at yet,” he said while adding that the Minister of Public Infrastructure is leading a team which is visiting government buildings and projects.

The High Street building
The High Street building

According to Harmon, the team is doing a “ministerial type of investigation.” At the appropriate time, he said, the minister will give cabinet a report on his findings.

“I can say to you that that building itself has been a sore. It has been like a sore thumb that has actually been sucking monies out of the public purse and we would have to make a decision either way very shortly,” the minister declared.

The complex, which stands at the site of the former Guyana Broadcasting Corporation, was built in 2008 and has since been the source of much controversy due to defects in construction. It was at one time billed to be the head office of the Guyana Geology & Mines Commission (GGMC).

The GGMC had invited and evaluated bids for completion of the building but contention over the award last year saw the project put on hold and garnering the attention of Cabinet.

 

In January, it was reported that the contract for the completion of the building would be retendered. “The announcement on when it will be retendered will be made very soon and NPTAB [National Procurement and Tender Administration Board] will be the ones overlooking that process not us,” Chairman of the GGMC’s Board of Directors Clinton Williams had told Stabroek News.

It was reported that the building’s foundation contained sub-standard material and 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 disclosed 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. It is unclear if anyone has ever been penalised for the substandard work done.

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