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PPP to boycott parliamentary visit to CJIA expansion project

first_imgThe Opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) has refused to participate in a parliamentary tour of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) expansion project, saying that it will not be part of any charade put up by the coalition Government to show any semblance of transparency.This comes on the heels of an invitation, under the signature of the Clerk of the National Assembly, being directed by the Speaker at the behest of the Public Infrastructure Minister, to a tour of the CJIA expansion project site, scheduled for this Friday.A Cabinet tour of the CJIA expansion works back in JanuaryAccording to the correspondence, the purpose of this tour is to provide all Members of Parliament (MPs) with relative information so that a more informed discourse on the project may occur in the future.However, in a statement on Wednesday, the Opposition’s Parliamentary Spokesperson on Public Infrastructure, Juan Edghill, asserted that the Party would not participate in any charade, of any kind and at any time, to lend any semblance of legitimacy and to provide any appearance of transparency to this unaccountable Administration.“We remind all Guyanese of the hostile diatribe [against] and near sabotage of this project by the then Opposition AFC [Alliance For Change] and APNU [A Partnership for National Unity] jointly. This was supposed to have been, according to their interpretation, a corrupt underhand deal by the then Jagdeo Administration,” Edghill asserted.He went on to point out that the CJIA expansion project, which is expected to be completed by the end of this year, was part of a number of transformative projects, which included the Marriott Hotel, that were initiated under the PPP regime to bring in a new sector, mainly the eco-aspect of tourism.“Guyana was being poised to become a hub for air traffic to facilitate regional and international traffic, with one of the main effects being lower airfares and lower freight, which would have resulted in a ‘big boom’ for the export of non-traditional projects, not forgetting the Specialty Hospital with a view to provide for medical tourism. The development of the synthetic track and other world-class facilities to encourage sports tourism,” Edghill noted.According to the Opposition’s Parliamentary Spokesperson on Public Infrastructure, the contract for the airport expansion that was entered into under the PPP/C Administration was a fixed price design and build contract, which clearly detailed and defined the works that were to be done. This, he added, included: the expansion and lengthening of the runway; the new size of the tarmac; the number of boarding gates – that is eight according to the document, and the square footage of the building. Edghill maintained that it was clearly understood that all the risks, including the geo-technical risk, were to be borne by the contractor in this arrangement.“We are aware that significant alterations and changes have been made to the design. It is our intention, and we will at the appropriate time, call for a performance audit of this project, to ensure that the Guyanese people got value for their money and what was paid for was delivered. The Minister of Public Infrastructure, on numerous occasions in the National Assembly, failed to answer questions or deliver information promised in regards to this project. His usual style of much rhetoric is now common place with very little to show,” he asserted.Nevertheless, Edghill said he believed this move to hold a parliamentary tour of the country’s main airport facility was a deliberately orchestrated one, aimed at seeking additional funds from the nation’s purse.“I suspect the reason that we have had the entire Cabinet visit this PPP/C project (back in January) and now an invitation to the entire Parliament, is that the environment is being prepared for supplementary request and approval for more monies for this fixed price project,” he posited, while adding that the Opposition would address this at the appropriate time in the National Assembly.Furthermore, the Opposition’s Parliamentary Spokesperson on Public Infrastructure outlined that in its three years in office, the coalition Administration did not have a single project of a developmental nature to show. As such, Edghill questioned whether this move for a parliamentary tour was now an act of desperation for some media coverage to show that things were happening.Moreover, he went on to wonder whether the “now embattled Minister, who is facing private criminal charges for Misconduct in Public Office,” through the Speaker, may soon invite the entire Parliament to visit two other PPP/C projects – the East Coast Highway expansion and the West Coast Demerara Road expansion and upgrade projects.last_img read more

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