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CJIA expansion project still suspended

by Zena Henry

The Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) expansion project remains suspended as it is expected that government and executive officials from the Chinese construction company China Habour Engineering Corporation (CHEC) are reviewing the “controversial” contract.

Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson had told Demerara Waves last week that the project had been suspended for one week.

He had said the lifting of the suspension depended on negotiations with the Chinese if the contract review had gone in government’s favour, the project would have recommenced on Tuesday July 28.

However, the usually busy runway expansion site remained empty with no equipment or personnel on site.

CJIA head, Ramesh Ghir said as far as he knew everything remained the same. “Nothing has changed, its still suspended as far as I know,” he said. When an update on the issue was sought from Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson, he said, there was “nothing to report.”

It was not mentioned whether talks had ceased or were ongoing. Patterson had informed that the initial US$150m project which was brought under the former administration was grossly understated with an additional US$46m tab now falling in their lap. This is the main issue expected to be discussed.

The runway extension project saw much criticism from citizens and the government while in opposition.  Persons argued the terms of the contract and overpricing on items. It was one of the target projects used in government’s corruption claims against the former People’s Progressive Party (PPP) government.