GINA, GUYANA, Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Government will go-ahead with the Kato Secondary School repairs as a sum total of $61.7M has been provided for in budget 2017 to fix the defects to the Region Eight school.
The money is covered under a provision of $465.870Million under the Ministry of Education’s Capital Secondary Education delivery 2017 work programme. This was told to the National Assembly, during the consideration of the ministry’s estimates.
Government had earlier indicated that it will go ahead with facilitating the school building’s rehabilitation. Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman at a recent post-Cabinet briefing had stated that facilitating the safety and access to education to the Region Eight students awaiting the use of the building is very important to Government.
“Ultimately, the well-being and welfare of children, and their right to an education must be paramount, so I believe that the Minister of Public Infrastructure is going to be finding ways to do some repairs to the building so that it can be safely, efficiently occupied by the students,” Minister Trotman had said.
Minister Trotman had also explained that Government was still determining how to recover damages from the contractor, and that the Minister of Legal Affairs and Attorney General was leading this exercise. “The Minister of Public Infrastructure I know is in active discussion with the Minister of Legal Affairs and Attorney General… do we allow the company that presided over the bad workmanship, to be compelled to go and fix it? Or do we surcharge them by way of taking them to court and getting damages?” Trotman queried.
Defending the Ministry of Education’s 2017 budget in the House, Minister Henry however, said that the company had indicated their interest in effecting the needed repairs.
Minister Henry also explained that $66Million was budgeted for the school’s completion in 2016, but that this money was not expended due to the legal issues arising from the defects to the school.
Three years ago, the previous administration paid about $1B to Kares Engineering Incorporated for the construction of the school, but the shoddy work done by the contractor has made the building unsafe for occupation.
On discovery of the defects, the Minister of Public Infrastructure was mandated by Cabinet to guide a complete review of the project. This evaluation on the work completed by Kares revealed that only about 10 percent of the school was structurally sound. Approximately 60 percent of the project was defective, with another 30 percent being just over the borderline. It was also revealed that remedial works on the building would cost another $140M.
Meanwhile, the remaining of the $465.870M under the Ministry of Education’s, capital Secondary Education delivery 2017 work programme, covers interventions such as the rehabilitation of the grounds at North Ruimveldt, the construction of a cafeteria and multipurpose complex at Queen’s College, the extension of the Bishops High and the St Rose’s Secondary, and the construction of science laboratories at Vryman’s Erven and Canje Secondary Schools. It also covered the extension of the North Ruimveldt, Corentyne Comprehensive Secondary, Woodley Park Secondary, Number Eight and the Johanna Ceceila Secondary Schools.
There will also be the construction of guidance and counselling rooms in schools across the Regions.
By: Macalia Santos