$668M contract
Good Hope/Lusignan sea wall fortified
BK work praised

By Andrew Richards
Stabroek News
December 30, 2000

Contracting company BK International came in for high praise for its standard of work when eleven hundred metres of sea defence works at Good Hope/Lusignan, East Coast Demerara, were commissioned yesterday.

The works are part of a 1.7-kilometre rehabilitation programme done in two sections, Reliance, Essequibo Coast, and Good Hope/Lusignan and worth $667.9 million.

It is the single largest contract ever granted to a local contractor for sea defence works.

Transport and Hydraulics Minister Anthony Xavier lauded BK International for the excellent job done and urged other local companies to try to emulate the standards set by the company.

The minister sought to dispel allegations that BK International had removed boulders in the night from a section of sea defence to be used in work done on the Good Hope/Lusignan stretch.

He pointed out that the company was well equipped and saved much time by working during the night. The company used the opportunity at nights when there were low tides to push in a lot of overtime work, he explained. Residents had complained that the company had used the darkness of night to remove the boulders, causing a section to be left unprotected.

Xavier said it may seem strange to some that BK International was being awarded most of the sea defence contracts but he stated this was only because the company has proved itself over the years to be the best such contractor in the country.

Xavier's praise was echoed by Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) representative (acting), Gordon Lewis, who said the company could be relied upon to deliver a project ahead of schedule and within the contract price.

The minister told the gathering, which included residents of the area, that the villages there were now secure from the threat of floods which were previously prevalent during high tides.

He said his government has been able to complete 15.2 kilometres of sea defence rehabilitation out of a targeted 35 kilometres since its tenure began eight years ago.

He urged residents to desist from removing boulders from the site and not to graze livestock along the embankment so that grass could grow to assist in the fight against erosion.

The works at Reliance were completed in mid September and the Good Hope/Lusignan project was completed this month, two months ahead of schedule.

Project director of Guyana Sea Defences in Xavier's ministry, Sheik Yussuff, giving a background of the project said over 90% of the materials used were of local origin.

The Good Hope/Lusignan section was identified for rehabilitation with International Development Association (IDA) funding in 1993.

That year the government had received a loan from the IDA to rehabilitate 6.1 kilometres of sea defences on the West Bank Demerara and East Coast Demerara.

Yussuff said a section of approximately 870 metres was breached at Good Hope/Lusignan in November of the same year whilst design and tender documents were being prepared.

Approval was obtained from the IDA to proceed with an advance contract for the rehabilitation of the 870-metre stretch.

Eight firms, both from the region and internationally, were short-listed and two tenders were received. Each tender was over the engineer's estimate by over 100%, Yussuff stated, and the tender process was annulled following negotiations.

Design and tender documents for the whole project were completed in August, 1994, and ten firms were short-listed.

Four tenders were received and Yussuff said each tender was again above the engineer's estimate by 100%.

The tender process was again annulled.

The project director stated that a decision was taken in August 1995 to tender, in four lots, all sea defence rehabilitation works associated with the IDA, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the IDB.

This programme was called the Simultaneously Funded Project.

Seven international contractors were prequalified for various lots ranging from one to four.

In October of 1996, three tenders bidding for the four lots were received.

The lowest tender was 30% above the engineer's estimate and negotiations were initiated.

However, with no additional funding forthcoming, the tender process was eventually annulled in June 1998, Yussuff said.

He disclosed that the IDA funds for sea defence rehabilitation works were no longer available at this stage. The funds were transferred to the Essequibo road project which also received funding from the IDA loan agreement. In the meantime, the IDB and CDB had agreed to reformulate their respective sea defence rehabilitation programmes and it was decided to package the work in smaller lots to allow local contractors to compete in the tender process.

The Reliance and Good Hope/Lusignan stretches were identified for rehabilitation in two sections under the IDB-reformulated sea defence programmme.

The lots were advertised locally, in Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados in September last year.

Seven tenders were received. Four were local and three were international. The prices ranged from $668 million to $1.3 billion for the combined lots one and two.

The engineer's estimate for the lots was $1.4 billion.

The contract was awarded to BK International for $667.9 million and the agreement signed in February this year. The construction period was twelve months and the order to commence works was issued on March 6, 2000. Yussuff said the rip rap work consists basically of constructing an earthen embankment and protecting the seaward face against wave action by a rock armour layer commonly called a boulder protection.

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