Minister of Public Works, Hon. Bishop Juan Edghill, said the current state of the Cheddi Jagan Airport Modernisation Programme leaves much to be desired, and after a five-year hiatus, the new PPP/C Government will have to work to restore the project.
The project, which was initiated by the Donald Ramotar (2011-2015) Administration, was taken over by the former APNU+AFC Coalition Government. However, after five years in office, Minister Edghill said the programme remains a catastrophe.
He said what was designed, signed and expected to be delivered, was not what Guyanese received.
During a virtual press conference on Wednesday, the new Public Works Minister said the “reformulated, remodelled, downsized and renovated programme is troublesome. The expected new airport with new terminal buildings, eight-passenger airbridges and the capacity for eight aircraft at one time, has not yet been realised.
The runway is incomplete; works are ongoing at both ends. The terminal building that was renovated has significant defects. Leaking roofs, improper tiling, problems with air conditioning, lighting and the list of woes continues.”
Of greater interest, he noted, is the fact that both incoming and outgoing passengers, still have to walk on the tarmac, as the four newly installed airbridges have malfunctioned.
The Minister recalled that the original design by the PPP/C, catered for eight air bridges. This was, however, not done. The last administration went to Parliament for supplemental provision to purchase two air bridges in addition to the two that the contractor had installed.
“This project is also very troubled. The brief from the project engineer has indicated that there is an effort being made to get the contractor to comply with the terms and conditions of the contract and to deliver what was signed on to. It is not happening,” Minister Edghill stated.
He noted that the contract for the completion of the airport, even in its extended version, expired at the end of December 2018. Two years later, there is no significant work being done by the contractor to comply and complete this project.
Therefore, the ministry will very shortly be engaging the contractor on the way forward.
Minister Edghill assured that the PPP/C Government is committed to the modernisation of the CJIA. He further assured that every effort is being made to ensure that the contractor complies, to produce a product that can benefit Guyanese.
A statement from the CJIA said that the jet bridges are in working condition and the reason that the passengers are using the tarmac is due to the COVID19 situation, and the needsto provide social distancing.