$265.5M contract scrapped after only 10% of works completed in 2 years

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
The site where the works were supposed to have been completed

A $265.5 million contract to construct an administration building for the Region 10 Regional Democratic Council (RDC) under the APNU/AFC administration had to be scrapped due to poor contract management and discovering that when the project was proposed to be completed, only 10 per cent of works had been done.

During Monday’s session of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Region 10 Regional Executive Officer Dwight John gave account for projects that occurred prior to him taking over. For instance, there was a $265 Million contract to construct a new office for the Regional Democratic Council.

The contract was issued in 2017 and was supposed to have a two-year completion period. When the contract was finally scrapped in April 2021, however, only 10 per cent of the work was completed by the contractor.

“Non performance took place and at the date it was supposed to be completed, it was only at 10 per cent,” the REO explained, when asked by the PAC what were the grounds for terminating the contract.

Meanwhile, PAC member David Patterson explained the reasons for the delay. According to him, the contractor had to change his design specifications. This was corroborated by Gavin Clarke, a technical officer who overlooked the project. According to Clarke, a revised completion date of January 2021 was given to accommodate the stoppage and design changes.

“As was mentioned before, the project was started in 2017. But then as Mr. Gordon pointed out, there was a cease order because of complaints of the contractor. There was a recommencement order issued to the contractor on January 31, 2019. The temporary cease order was March 15, 2018.”

“However, at the time of the termination of the project, as was mentioned by the REO, only (10) per cent of the works were completed. Based on the records, April 18, 2021, a termination letter was written. However, the revised completion date of the project should have been January 18, 2021.”

Despite this, over $40 million had been paid to the contractor. John explained that the decision to cancel the project was made by him, after a letter was written to the Ministry of Finance appraising them of the situation.

“I informed them, through local government, that the time for the project has expired and the percentage the project was at. The same summary Mr. Clarke spoke about. And I asked for the termination, because of the timeframe, the percentage and poor performance.”Fast forward to 2023-2024, however, the PAC noted that the region is still in need of a new admin building. The REO explained that the region has put in a request for funds for a new building, with the PAC requesting the REO to lay over documents of these requests in a week’s time.

Meanwhile, PAC Member Juan Edghill noted that this particular contractor also had similar projects. He emphasized that contractors must not be excused when it comes to poor contract management.

“Contract management. Poor performance of contractors must not be excused. I would not sit at PAC and allow anyone to excuse poor performance of a contractor. When a contractor has a contract that is signed, he has an obligation to perform the functions of that contract. And when you don’t perform the conditions, the same contract indicates the consequences that should be followed.”