Opposition spent over US $600M on failed projects, without studies – Minister Patterson
Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson chastised the Parliamentary Opposition for spending over US$600Million of taxpayers’ monies on failed projects including the Amaila Falls Hydro-Project and the Linden/Lethem and Sheriff Street/Mandela Avenue road upgrades.
The Minister was at the time addressing the National Assembly during the 2019 budget debate. He used the opportunity to refute claims by Opposition members that his ministry has been conducting several irrelevant studies.
Minister Patterson clarified that in the case of the Amaila Falls Hydro-Project a sum of US $45Million was spent on the project which did not come into fruition. He rubbished the entire project noting that after extensive investigation the right procedures were not followed.
“I checked my entire ministry and there was no evaluation report, when we checked with NPTAB [National Procurement and Tender Administration] no evaluation report, we even checked the consultant there was none. I sent my staff to the archives and I found the advertisement for the project and discovered that it was awarded to NICIL [National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited]. So, it went straight from NICIL to Cabinet. They wrote their own specification, did no evaluation report, went straight to Cabinet and awarded a contract and ended up paying US$45Million.”
As it relates to the Linden/Lethem Road, Minister Patterson explained that five feasibility studies were done between 1989 and 2008, but yet no work was done on the road.
However, through the APNU-AFC government, a UK-CIF grant was presented for review studies and construction of Linden to Mabura Road and the Kurupukari Bridge. The Water Front Development Project has been awarded to Mott Mc Donald.
Further, the Sheriff Street/Mandela Avenue road widening project began in March 2010 however after protracted delays the contract was eventually awarded and signed on December 11, 2017, the Public infrastructure Minister stated.
According to Minister Patterson, other major projects which suffered under the previous administration after being awarded without any feasibility studies include the Skeldon Factory, Berbice River Bridge, Cheddi Jagan International Airport expansion and Fiber Optic Cable – Installation.
“After seven years the contract for the Sheriff Street/Mandela Avenue road widening project was signed, including having to turn back because of flaws under your government [People’s Progressive Party/Civic] …Further not a single word from Opposition MPs on the Berbice Bridge. Not a single word on the one single activity that could decimate the entire Region Five and Six. I had to send the Honourable Member Charrandas to ensure I am not locked up for keeping the bridge and keeping the toll affordable for the people you said are yours…,” Minister Patterson stated.
Ranetta La Fleur.
Images: Keno George.