Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson said that if government had lost the Guyana Power and Light Incorporated’s (GPL) court case, millions of dollars would have been lost in the Power Utility Upgrade Programme (PUUP).
In an interview with the Government Information Agency (GINA), Minister Patterson expressed gratitude for the recent ruling by Chief Justice (Ag) Yonette Cummings-Edwards in the GPL case, giving the government the green light to begin Lot A of component three of the PUUP, to address loss reduction.
Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson
Minister Patterson explained that if the Government had not won the case for GPL to run new power transmission lines and install over 25,000 smart meters on the coastland, half of the US$64M funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the European Union (EU) for Lot A of the PUUP programme would have become lost.
“I’m first very happy the Attorney General was able to get the injunction discharged quite early not because of the contract but because of the status of which this contract is in; it’s US$64M – half of it is a grant from the EU which is obviously free and that grant expires in 2019 and if it is not expended in 2017, we will lose it,” Minister Patterson explained.
The Minister indicated to GINA that the PUUP was approved in 2014, but neglected by the previous administration, and this lead to major delays. “When government took over the project, there was no movement, so we had to get several things to get it moving along in 2016 so as a result no money was expended in 2015 nor 2016, and so we’re fortunate to have it moving at the beginning of 2017,” Minister Patterson noted.
Meanwhile, the Public Infrastructure Minister highlighted that all five contractors including Fix-It Hardware Depot which took the matter to court, were assessed thoroughly by IDB, GPL and the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) before the contract was awarded. He added that the contractors were written to, explaining the circumstances why they were unsuccessful in their contract bids.
Minister Patterson described the claims made by Fix-It Hardware Depot as inaccurate, denying that any malpractice occurred during the selection process.
“The contractor that took the matter to the court objected to IDB, and they struck down his objection, and he did not like that, and did not want to go to the bid committee since they make the final decision…his major bone of contention was that the contract award was higher than the engineer’s estimate … I have been saying that when we assessed the work that was done, it will cost us more and it’s a whole package,” the Minister stated.
Minister Patterson said he is happy that at least Lot A of the PUUP project will be executed shortly by China National Machinery Import. He said the other Lots will follow immediately after.