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Govt scraps “sweetheart” fibre-optic cable deal; to proceed with E-Government Project

Head of Dax Construction Companay, Faizal Mohammed (left) meeting with Minister of State, Joseph Harmon and E-Government Advisor Floyd Levi.

The Guyana government has scrapped a contract with a local firm for the rehabilitation of the controversial fibre optic cable from Brazil, even as it explores the possibility of continuing the project that it had criticized harshly while in opposition.

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon said he met with the Head of Dax Construction Companay, Faizal Mohammed on Friday and informed him that the contract for repair and maintenance of the cable would be cancelled.

Harmon, in the presence of E-Governance Advisor Floyd Levi told Mohammed that all works must be halted and that the company would be fairly treated for whatever “measured works” he would have accomplished in fixing parts of the cable.

In the statement, the Minister of State announced that government was considering going ahead with the project and has hired “a team of telecommunications experts” to advise on the way forward.

“Upon completion of the review the team will report on the project execution, the amount of money expended, the performance of contractors and consultants; they are also expected to advise government on the possible utilisation of the cable and on the way forward,” according to the statement issued by Harmon’s office.

The Guyana Government has set aside GUY$937 million for an E-Government Network over, which it says, it will provide access to many services and educational content.  “Along with this investment in infrastructure will be investment in the development of educational tools and content, as well as systems that will ensure constant engagement of parents with the educational authorities. Distance learning and online course offerings will be substantially expanded as a tool of teaching and learning within the education sector.

The E-Government Network is also expected to include a national electronic patient care record, which will facilitate seamless provision of health care services to citizens throughout the public sector and across public and private health care providers. 

The previous administration was heavily criticised for the “sweetheart deal”it had given to Dax Contracting Services during its last days in office.

In exchange for repairing the cable Dax was given forty (40) years of exclusive use of portions of the cable, duty free concessions for SUVs and four door pick-ups, as well as tax holidays, and access to repeater stations

Rather than borrow between US$20 and US$30 million to fix the botched cable, then Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr. Roger Luncheon had defended the deal with Dax that had included providing several of the 12 pairs of cable to Dax Contracting Services.