Rehabilitation work to Fort Ordnance Primary School in East Canje, Berbice has hit a snag as a security guard attached to the school has allegedly helped herself to $77,000 worth in materials.
A collaborative effort between the Civil Defence Commission and the Regional Democratic Council of Region 6 is seeing the school being upgraded to also function as a disaster relief centre.
Kascom Engineering Services was awarded a $13.4M contract to execute several improvements on the school, including landfilling, the rehabilitation of the building, washrooms and bridge as well as the construction of additional washrooms, another bridge, a concrete trestle and a concrete walkway around the school.
The school which serves the Fort Ordnance – Sheet Anchor areas has been under repair for almost two months, and some 75% of the work is said to be completed. Unfortunately, completion of the flooring of the school’s building was delayed when on Wednesday last, the construction company discovered that purchased materials, were missing.
According to contractor Rafeek Kassim, some 230 tiles including 120 18X18 and 110 12X12 along with 8 sacks of thin set were stolen from the work site. The materials were purchased to complete works on the school’s corridor and washrooms. The missing materials along with others were stored at the school, which is protected by a security firm. It is a female security guard attached to the said firm who is being accused of the theft.
“I started doing my own investigation and learnt that one of the security guards and her son was seen moving stuff from the school so I went to her home and she took me inside and I saw the tiles already installed,” Kassim said. The contractor further said that he and the security guard came to a verbal agreement for her to compensate the construction company for the stolen tiles. However, after a day had elapsed without her contacting him to discuss a payment plan, he made a formal report at the police station. “On Friday, the police and I went to her home and she had removed all the tiles from her home and discarded them in the back of her yard,” he noted. The discarded tiles were retrieved by the police and taken as evidence.
Kassim added that while the matter is presently attracting the attention of the police, he still has a legal obligation to fulfill the contract and complete the school. He bemoaned the hassle of having to source more materials.
Schools across Guyana will be re-opened for a new September term one week from now, but this may not be the case for Fort Ordnance Primary School in East Canje, Berbice.