The award of this contract for the Mazaruni prison needs to be explained

Dear Editor,

My interest was drawn to the recent award of a contract to build a new prison at Mazaruni, especially since it was awarded to a consortium comprising of a Trinidadian company and a local firm for the sum of G$3.562 Billion, one billion Guyana dollars more than the Guyanese Contractors’ bids.

The bids were as follows:

Guyana Contractor A                              G$2.518 Billion

Guyana Contractor B                              G$2.729 Billion

Guyana Contractor C                              G$2.440 Billion

Guyana Contractor D                              G$2.586 Billion

Average of Guyana Contractors         G$2.568 Billion

Trinidadian Contractor + Local Firm    G$3.562 Billion

Contract Awarded to Trinidadian + Local Firm

I am therefore formally calling on the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board, the Procurement Commission, the Ministries of Public Security and Public Infrastructure to explain the deliberate waste of the extra one billion Guyana dollars on this project, setting aside for a moment that even at G$2.5 Billion this constitutes reckless and massive waste of taxpayers’ dollars. This at a time when the Government claimed that it was strapped for cash and it could not have paid the terminated sugar workers monies properly due to them.

Editor, a billion dollars is a lot of money.

It could do a lot of things, for example giving thirty-five communities, villages and towns each about $30 million to create jobs, to do food security, small infrastructure works and useful projects such as block-making, furniture-making, garment manufacturing, etc.

Of course $3.5 Billion can do much more. This is sufficient for 100 such grants of $35 million each for similar projects rather than wasting this money on an ill- conceived notion of a multi-billion dollar facility for prisoners.

Strictly speaking, money properly spent on job creation may obviate the need for the prison. But I rather suspect that there is much more to this award than meets the eye. 

The Procurement Commission and other agencies are set up by law to prevent this recklessness. This deal has the scent of unrefrigerated fish and needs to be examined carefully.

The agencies listed above must provide an explanation.

Yours faithfully,

Ramon Gaskin

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