Agri Ministry should have submitted professional estimates of extra work NDIA has to do

Dear Editor,

It was reported in the media on May 12, that the Government has approved $600M in supplemental finance for maintenance of infrastructure at GuySuCo’s  former Skeldon, Rosehall, Enmore and Wales sugar estates.

The infrastructure under consideration – pumps, canals, bridges, pathways, sluices, etc. are in such poor condition that the $600M approved for their maintenance would be wholly inadequate to make any meaningful improvements to their existing conditions. Therefore, Minister Holder should have been  transparent in his deliberations and have his Ministry prepare and submit professionally prepared estimates for the proposed works which Parliament could have then considered and approved rather than bluff his way with guesstimates for the civil works whose repair costs are beyond his imagination. Unfortunately, the political imperatives have forced the Government to approve expenditure for works based on frothy expectations as any future sale will clearly indicate.

The National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) contrary to claims, does not have the managerial and technical personnel with the capabilities to undertake additional contracting work on behalf of GuySuCo/NICIL/SPU. NDIA’s poor planning and execution of the Central Government’s projects it has and is undertaking along the coastland clearly bears this out. Similarly, GuySuCo does not have the personnel with experience to handle complex construction/rehabilitation works. If indeed it does undertake construction work, it cannot simultaneously have its personnel inspect and verify the works it will be doing on behalf of NDIA, as was reported in the MoU. This will clearly be a conflict of interest and another Skeldon factory fiasco.

Yours faithfully,

Charles Sohan            

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