The parliamentary opposition will not lend legitimacy or appearance of transparency to the administration

Dear Editor,

The parliamentary opposition notes with great amusement, the invitation under the signature of the Clerk of the National Assembly, who was directed by the Speaker, at the behest of the Minister of Public Infrastructure, to a tour of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) expansion project site, scheduled for Friday, 27th April, 2018.

The purported purpose of this tour, according to the correspondence, is to provide all Members of Parliament (MPs) with relative information so that a more informed discourse on the project may occur in the future.

However, we wish to reiterate the following:

1.  The parliamentary opposition will not participate in any charade, of any kind, at any time, to lend any semblance of legitimacy and to camouflage any appearance of transparency to this unaccountable administration.

2.  We remind all Guyanese of the hostile diatribe and near sabotage of this project by the then opposition, AFC and APNU, jointly. This was supposed to have been, according to their interpretation, a corrupt underhanded deal by the then Jagdeo administration.

3.  The CJIA expansion project was part of a number of transformative projects, which included the Marriott Hotel, to bring in a new sector, mainly tourism with its eco brand. Guyana was being poised to become a hub for air traffic to facilitate regional and international traffic, with one of the main effects being lower airfares and lower freight, which would have resulted in a ‘big boom’ for the export of non-traditional projects, not forgetting the Speciality Hospital, with a view to providing for medical tourism. There was also the development of the synthetic track and other world class facilities to encourage sports tourism.

4.  This contract that was entered into under the PPP/C administration was a fixed-price ‘design and build’ contract; the documents clearly defined what was to be done ‒ the expansion and lengthening of the runway, the new size of the tarmac, the number of boarding gates (8) and the square footage of the building. It was clearly understood that all the risk, including the geo-technical risk, was to be borne by the contractor in this arrangement. We are aware that significant alterations and changes have been made to the design. It is our intention, and we will at the appropriate time, call for a performance audit of this project, to ensure that the Guyanese people got value for their money and what was paid for was delivered. The Minister of Public Infrastructure on numerous occasions in the National Assembly, failed to answer questions or deliver information promised in regard to this project. His usual style of much rhetoric is now commonplace with very little to show.

5.  I suspect the reason that we have had the entire Cabinet visit this PPP/C project and there is now an invitation to the entire Parliament, is that the environment is being prepared for a supplementary request and approval for more monies for this fixed price project. At the appropriate time, in the National Assembly, we will address these matters.

It has been three years since this administration has been foisted on the Guyanese people and they have not a single project of a developmental nature to show. Is this now an act of desperation for some media coverage, to show that things are happening? Maybe the now embattled Minister, who is facing private criminal charges for misconduct in public office, through the Speaker, may soon invite the entire Parliament to visit two other PPP/C projects, specifically, the East Coast Highway expansion and the West Coast Demerara road expansion and upgrade.

Yours faithfully,

Bishop Juan A. Edghill, MP

PPP/C parliamentary spokesperson

on Public Infrastructure

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