China Harbour Engineering Corporation (CHEC), the company hired to expand and modernize Guyana’s Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) has said that it is cooperating fully with the government for delivery of the project.
The comment comes weeks after the government identified what it said were glaring inefficiencies and shortcomings in the US$150 million expansion project.
President Irfaan Ali who personally toured the airport had refused to accept the work done while also committing to taking the necessary against CHEC to ensure Guyana gets what it bargained for.
Following reports in the media on the issue, CHEC issued a statement of its own to offer clarity on changes to the original specs but also said it was cooperating with the government.
Minister of Public Works Juan Edghill in response to the statement said he welcomes the announcement by the Chinese company.
“I welcome that public position and look forward to the delivery of the original contract that envisages the 17,000 square meters of new facilities – terminal buildings,” he said.
Edghill reminded that once complete the airport should have an extended runway, taxiways, and aprons with capacity for eight standing aircraft with facilities for eight airbridges.
He said the government looks forward to a functional modern airport.
CHEC has since said that the initial contract between itself and the government excluded the handling equipment and the removal of the existing terminal, among other things, and specifically established the government’s responsibility to supply the equipment for eight bridges and other handling equipment.
It said too that geotechnical investigations of the specified location revealed unforeseen conditions compared to the original data provided to the contractor and noted that after discussions, both parties reached an agreement that the original contract plan could not be implemented.
“The Employer then instructed the Contractor to provide alternatives,” CHEC said while reminding that in 2013 the government agreed to an alternative proposal.
CHEC said too that during the period January 2013 to May 2015, budget allocations for the Project were not approved by Parliament, which prevented the Contractor from executing the works as planned.
But when the government changed in 2015, CHEC said a review of the project entered into by the PPP government was done while there was a suspension of construction during the review period.
The revised scope of work replaced the new terminal building, parking aprons, and eight boarding bridges – to be supplied by the Government of Guyana – with a renovation of and new construction area in the existing terminal building, parking aprons and four boarding bridges, two of which were to be supplied by the Contractor and the two by the Employer.
The company now claims that by the end of 2019, the Project was 97 percent complete but the General and Regional Elections of 2020, coupled with the global pandemic, forced CHEC to significantly reduce its workforce, which again affected the Project’s completion.