S.A. Nabi lands $1.65B CARICOM headquarters deal By Patrick Denny
Stabroek News
February 21, 2002

S.A. Nabi and Sons Ltd has been awarded the $1.65 billion contract to construct the CARICOM headquarters at Liliendaal on land once used for sugarcane cultivation, in the vicinity of the University of Guyana campus at Turkeyen and down the road from the Ogle airport.

The cornerstone of the building was laid in 1998 at a ceremony in which the prime ministers of Barbados, St Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago and Grenada participated.

The award of the contract is another step towards the commitment given by the Guyana government more than 25 years ago to provide a headquarters building for the regional movement.

S.A. Nabi and R Bassoo had been short-listed from the six companies that tendered for the contract. The other four firms were N H Caribbean International Ltd, Kee Chanonal Ltd, and LBC Guyana Inc, all of Trinidad and Tobago and Kishun Bacchus and Sons of Guyana.

Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr Roger Luncheon, announced the award of the contract yesterday at his weekly post-Cabinet briefing. He said that the contract was "being carefully structured and properly scrutinised to allow for smooth sailing during construction."

Financing for the building has been assured, Luncheon said. Government has announced the receipt of a US$4 million grant from Japan towards the construction of the building and the National Insurance Scheme is investing $400 million in the project, the return on which, according to President Bharrat Jagdeo, is to be in US dollars. The government is guaranteeing the investment.

Financing for the second phase of the project, which includes the construction of the conference centre is being negotiated with donors, who Luncheon declined to identify at this time. That phase of the project is estimated to cost about $985 million.

He said that it was anticipated that construction activities would start soon. Company Secretary/Director of S.A. Nabi, Amin Nabi, told Stabroek News yesterday that while mobilisation of resources should take about four weeks, the firm would begin preliminary work that would include setting up its office, taking levels and generally preparing the site for construction to begin. He said that construction should be completed in 18 months.

The headquarters building will house the CARICOM Secretariat now located in offices at the Bank of Guyana, Farleigh House, 96 Duke Street, Kingston, the Eddy Grant Building at 54 High Street, Kingston, the building which formerly housed the European Delegation to Guyana at 72 High Street, Kingston, and another building at 57 High Street.

Nabi said that the contract involved the construction of the two-storey Secretariat building, which measures 317' x 157'. The entrance to the building, to be fully air-conditioned, will be from the East Coast Railway Embankment Road.

It is to be a steel-framed edifice with curtain walls that a Trinidad and Tobago firm is to install. He declined to identify the firm, explaining that there were three firms with which they have to negotiate before making a decision. The building will sit on a foundation, which would rest on around 1,000 piles. Each pile is between 65-70 feet in length and these are among the materials to be mobilised. It will have some expensive finishing such as the lighting fixtures and tiles.

Other work involved in the contract includes the construction of an asphalt car park to accommodate more than 250 cars; and the construction of two 98' X 21' service buildings that would house the standby generators and switching rooms and other equipment.

At the peak of construction, Nabi said, between 100 to 120 people would be employed, 95 per cent of whom will be Guyanese.