An artist’s impression of the Specialty Hospital project
Government will soon be negotiating a contract with Indian firm Fedders Lloyd for the construction of the controversial Specialty Hospital in Liliendaal, East Coast Demerara (ECD).
This is despite the mountain of concerns raised by a multitude of persons regarding the sole-sourcing of a company disqualified by the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board to undertake the construction of the multimillion-dollar project.
Finance Minister Winston Jordan, during a press conference on Wednesday, disclosed that the project was moving at a rapid pace, with consultants currently putting the documentation together ahead of the first phase of construction which is expected to begin by midyear.
Jordan said Fedders Lloyd already modified the design for the facility, taking into account the work that was already done by the previous contractor, Surendra Engineering.
He assured that the project would cost no more than the remaining US$13 million (of an initial $18 million) line of credit provided by the Indian Exim Bank.
In 2012, the hospital contract was awarded to Surendra Engineering to design and construct the facility.
Its services were subsequently terminated owing to several contractual breaches.
The matter was taken to the High Court and compensation was accordingly awarded to the Government.
During that initial bidding process, Fedders Lloyd was disqualified, but the company’s legal representative Khemraj Ramjattan (now Vice President and Public Security Minister) had argued against that verdict.
Despite this, the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition, even while in Opposition, contended that Fedders Lloyd was wronged.
Shortly after assumption to office, the Government signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the disqualified company to undertake the construction, citing that it would be more economical and less time-consuming than going through the transparent process of retendering.
The Government’s decision to hand the contract to the company was made despite a public outcry over the manner in which the award was handled and concerns about the lack of transparency and accountability surrounding the entire transaction.