City Hall disputes contractor's claims By Abigail Butler
Guyana Chronicle
September 13, 2002

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THE row escalated yesterday between the Mayor and City Council and contractor of the Stabroek Market repairs project, R. Bassoo and Sons, over the work done there.

The council said it intends to bring the state of affairs to the attention of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Government.

In a press statement it said it has a responsibility to the citizens, vendors and stallholders and will not allow either the contractor or consultant to get away with poor quality work.

Mayor of Georgetown, Mr. Hamilton Green had expressed dissatisfaction with the quality of work done on the market following a visit there Tuesday but contractor, Mr. Roy Bassoo exonerated his firm from blame.

He said they are not worried about Mr. Green's statement since the work was done according to the conditions and specifications of the contract.

According to the contractor, the work was completed to the standard accepted by the consultant and handed over to the Mayor and City Council on August 16.

But the Mayor and City Council said nothing was handed over to them on that or any other date.

It said that while respecting the role of the consultant, it has no intention of signing any document purporting to take over a facility with many flaws.

"We have prepared a list of faults, which we consider unacceptable and invite all sections of the media and those concerned to visit the Stabroek Market when the rain falls and judge the quality of work done by the contractors," it stated.

The $150M contract required the removal and replacement of all roof sheets, the removal and replacement of all flashings, painting of the entire structure, and the removal and replacement of electrical wiring and fixtures.

Following the completion of the rehabilitation works last month, there have been complaints that there are several defects on the building including leakage.

The council reported that during the visit to the market, one stallholder, a jeweller, who has been in the market for a considerable number of years, showed them a large tarpaulin which he was forced to purchase to protect his stall from the deluge whenever it rains. It said several stallholders also complained bitterly that the situation has worsened since the new works were executed.

The Chronicle contacted the contractor Wednesday and according to Project Director, Mr. Clairmont 'Monty' Marshall, only consultant CEMCO can determine whether the work done is up to standard. He stressed that their orders are taken only from CEMCO.

Marshall had explained that the problems now being talked about stem from the 'stretching' of funds on the part of the consultant. He said they have proof of several warnings given to the consultant that if certain things were not done there will be defects.

Marshall also said that some works done on the market were not in the contract, but not wanting to compromise the quality of work being done in other sections, the contractor took it upon himself to do additional work, some of which are not even paid for as yet.

He said there is a defects period where the contractor is given a certain period to maintain and do remedial works on completed projects. R. Bassoo has until February of 2003 to do so.

According to the contractor, if the consultant feels anything should be done over and instructs them to do so, they have no reservations doing it.

Marshall added that Green cannot instruct them to redo any work and cannot even question them, but has to go through the consultant.

The council yesterday stated that whatever may be the arrangements, legal or otherwise, the Mayor and City Council has a responsibility and duty to protect the welfare of the stallholders who are suffering.

"It is clear that bad work has been done. We do not intend to have an embarrassment such as we have seen elsewhere, by taking over a facility that is the result of bad work or poor design," it stated.

The statement said the mayor has noted the remarks by the contractor and he has no intention to bandy words, save to observe that the contractor's statement may be expressions with deeper implications.

It said that it was not the first time that Marshall, speaking on behalf of R. Basoo and Sons has taken the view that they are not dealing with the Georgetown Mayor and City Council and need not bother with concerns expressed by the mayor.

It described the statement as arrogant and foolish coming from a contractor doing work on an important public building.