President David Granger’s directive earlier this week that the D’urban Park Development Project be placed under the control of the Ministry of Public Infrastructure has won the support of the General Contractors Association of Guyana (GCAG) the body which had earlier spoken out publicly against “the shabby and perhaps even risky work” completed so far on the project.
“We particularly welcome the assurance given in the statement issued by the Ministry of the Presidency… that safety and quality work will be among the hallmarks of the completed facility,” Secre-tary of GCAG Neil Cort-Rogers said.
He told Stabroek Business that the association was associating itself with “sentiments expressed by the President which pointed to an expectation that the project would reflect a higher standard of workmanship than was in evidence at this time.”
On Wednesday, even as a team from the Public Infrastructure Ministry was visiting the D’urban Park site, a spokesman for the ministry told Stabroek Business that a crew comprising ministry employees and private contractors would be working “round the clock, three shifts a day to put the facility in readiness for use during events associated with the country’s 50th Independence Anniversary celebrations. “That does not mean that the project would be completed in the limited period ahead. We expect that the completion exercise would have to be pursued after the independence anniversary events have been concluded,” the spokesman said.
Cort-Rogers, who is among the GCAG representatives who visited the D’urban Park site declined to go into specifics regarding the technical defects that had been observed. He said he had expressed his “general views” on the quality of the work that had been done so far and had no wish to go any further on that issue at this time. “Frankly, GCAG has no wish to further complicate the issue. We are happy that an initiative had been taken to correct the faults and as an organization with the relevant skills we are available to lend such support as we can,” he said.
Meanwhile, as the Public Infrastructure Ministry prepares to take the project forward Stabroek Business has heard two separate claims regarding monies owing for work done. This newspaper has also been provided with the name of a contractor whom, it is believed, is liable to the claimants.
Less than a week ago, public attention was drawn to evidence of slipshod and untidy work the on the stands currently under construction. Subsequent reports in the Stabroek News, ending with another story this time illustrated by even more graphic photographs was followed by a statement from the Ministry of the Presidency directing that the project be handed over to the Public Infrastructure Ministry.
The future of D’urban Park, one of the largest, most conspicuous open spaces in the capital had been the subject of much speculation for several decades, after it ceased to be the country’s principal horse racing track.
This newspaper has learnt that the business community had been actively lobbied to become part of a major complex named the Durban Park Jubilee Stadium Complex, the creation of which was to have been overseen by the Ministry of the Presidency. Earlier this year there was a series of public/private sector meetings to discuss, among other things, securing funds for the project.