Cheddi Jagan International Airport Corporation racks up heavy losses; questions about where the income goes: Part 4 – Airport extension and the Golden Fleece

Introduction
My hope last week was to move seamlessly this week into the big ticket items on the CJIA contract – particularly the runway and the new terminal building. But during the week there has been something of a development, or rather a distraction. Embarrassed at the revelation that the contract provides for some rather overpriced everyday items such as toilet bowls, urinals, sinks and showers and bulbs ‒ separate from the paraphernalia that go with them – the Ministry of Public Works and Communications whose Permanent Secretary signed the contract with China Harbour Engineering Company Limited, went on the offensive to defend the prices set out in 33 pages of the Bill of Quantities which forms part of the contract but which is described as “provisional.” In language that by GINA standards was uncharacteristically moderate, the ministry claimed for the first time that this was a lump sum contract and that persons were being mischievous in isolating for comment any single line item. Perhaps no one bothered to tell the Permanent Secretary that it is unusual for lump sum contracts to have such extensive Bills of Quantities. I think a better explanation is that once President Jagdeo had been told by the Chinese Money Man that US$138 million was available, his government was instructed to work with the Chinese to come up with a contract for an identical sum. To make that possible, they had to find $424,000 toilet sets, $124,000 sinks and $165,000 washbasins.
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Cheddi Jagan International Airport Corporation racks up heavy losses; questions about where the income goes: Part 3 – Airport extension and the Shah’s golden toilet

Introduction
I wish to acknowledge the generosity of all those persons who have shared information and their time and expertise relevant to this column. They prefer anonymity, some because of fear of victimization. One non-Guyanese who lives abroad sent me a copy of the FIDIC Yellow Book referred to in the contract for the runway expansion which I earlier indicated I had some difficulty accessing. I am gratified and grateful too to the many engineers who have looked at the contract for the expansion of the runway and the construction of a new terminal building. This contract is a shocking tale of recklessness and irresponsibility on the part of the Ministry of Public Works and indeed the entire government which with its eyes open signed a contract that allows the contractor China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd of Beijing China to fleece this country.

A Guyanese engineer who practises his trade in the US and who reviewed the contract at my request described it as the most lopsided contract he had ever come across in his entire professional life. He was struck at the looseness of the language of the contract that allows the contractor easy escape from any liability and the disproportionate obligations which the government has assumed under the contract. Citing one specific example the engineer noted that the contractor can claim against the government that he needed to work 24 hours on any day but the government did not allow it, presumably by ceasing all activities and flights on that day. In such a case the government would be required to compensate the contractor. Giving his overall assessment of the contract he wrote: “Wow, this is a sweet deal here. Does it mean that the contractor does not have to satisfactorily repair damages or defects? What about damages due to contractor’s negligence?” he asked
Continue reading Cheddi Jagan International Airport Corporation racks up heavy losses; questions about where the income goes: Part 3 – Airport extension and the Shah’s golden toilet

Ron Webster acquired 85.31% stake in CCI for G$300,000 – and no money paid

A review by Business Page of Sunday Stabroek of May 5, 2013 of the annual reports and financial statements of three companies, including Caribbean Container Inc. (CCI), about which three concerns were raised, drew a sharp response from Mr Ronald Webster, that company’s Chairman and Managing Director in respect of one of those concerns which dealt with his controlling interest in CCI. It was Mr. Webster’s view that the column ignored certain statements in CCI’s annual reports for the years 2005 through to 2012.

So what did Business Page ignore? Here are five assertions in the reports by Mr. Webster as the company’s Managing Director and by the Board of which he is Chairman, each followed by the facts gleaned from publicly held records. I add some comments as seem appropriate.

Continue reading Ron Webster acquired 85.31% stake in CCI for G$300,000 – and no money paid