Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, sounded a warning to contractors who are executing works for the Ministry of Education (MoE) to finish them within the agreed contractual timeline or face the possibility of contract termination.
The Education Minister made the pronouncement Wednesday during a visit to the University of Guyana (UG) Turkeyen Campus where she conducted site visits for three projects that are currently being done.
The three projects, valued at almost $500M, will see the UG Turkeyen Campus benefitting from a pump house that will alleviate the constant flooding experienced on the campus when it rains. This project should have been completed during the first half of last year.
In addition to that, there is the construction of a modern three-storied bursary building and the rehabilitation of the sewage system that has been in existence since the campus was established. Both of these projects should have been completed last year as well.
Expressing her dissatisfaction at the non-completion of the three projects, the Education Minister told the representatives of the respective contracting companies that this will not be tolerated.
She explained that because the projects were budgeted for, it meant that there is a need for these and more specifically for the students on the campus to benefit.
“This is a complete failure on the part of the contractors, it is unacceptable, reprehensible and a breach of contract”, the Minister of Education said.
Minister Manickchand said that the ministry is taking a very firm view on contractors who do not complete works within the specified timeframe. She said action will be taken against errant contractors since such tardy behaviour will impact on the efficiency of the campus and its work.
The Education Minister pointed out that her ministry is not insensitive to legitimate issues that might affect contractors. Notwithstanding, she noted that when contractors bid for projects, they have to consider a number of factors such as persistent rainfall, the supply of materials and other considerations that may cause the project to be delayed and have a plan to address this to ensure that it is completed on time.
“There can be no excuses, you have to get it done within the time agreed, and this stops today do what you say you will do.”
Further, she said the argument cannot be advanced that the projects were not completed on time because of financial constraints since all three contractors received advanced payments.
Minister Manickchand said that going forward, the UG Project Implementation Unit (PIU) and the Ministry of Education Department of Engineering, will provide support and guidance to contractors to ensure that the new timelines for completion of the three projects agreed to are met.
The pump station is now set to be completed at the end of March 2021, while the new bursary building is set for a May 2021 finish and the rehabilitation of the sewage system is set to be completed November 2021.
Minister Manickchand was accompanied by UG’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paloma Mohamed-Martin; Permanent Secretary, Alfred King and the Head of the MoE Buildings Unit, Ron Eastman. (Modified press release from Ministry of Education)