“In any construction work that is engaged, there will be Guyanese labour. I cannot say to you whether it’s large or small but there will be Guyanese labour. We are not going to encourage any type of construction work in this country to the total exclusion of Guyanese,” he said.
Harmon’s A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), while in opposition, had expressed grave concern about the very few Guyanese who had been hired to build the Marriott Hotel. The then government had argued that the predominantly large number of Chinese had possessed specialized skills in using certain types of equipment.
The Minister of State could not say how Fedders-Lloyd could have been still in contention- according to the Finance Ministry- for the contract to build the Specialty Hospital although the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) had three years ago had disqualified that company because it had offered two prices: the original and a discount.
He referred such questions to the Finance Minister, Winston Jordan.
Harmon, at the same time, promised to publish several parts of the contract between India and the Guyana government that the second lowest qualified bidder should be granted the contract if the first one fails. He declined to say whether he would be making public the Evaluation Report.
In this case, Surendra Engineering had been awarded the contract but that was subsequently scrapped by the then People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) for various alleged breaches of the deal.
The High Court then awarded millions of dollars in remedies, but that money is yet to be paid because that company or its representatives could not be found locally. The past administration had said that it would have applied to the Indian Courts for the Guyana High Court decision to be enforced in that Asian country.