Faulty work by contractor at Princes Street koker leaves several buildings affected – Min. Mustapha

Engineers from the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) are currently working to put systems in place to relieve the intrusion of river water at the Princes Street Sluice in Georgetown.

Minister of Agriculture, Honourable Zulfikar Mustapha, after receiving reports of issues at the structure resulting in several buildings around the Princes Street area being affected, conducted a site visit to determine the cause.

Minister Mustapha while engaging the contractor from Square Commodities (left)

The minister noted that after speaking with engineers on the ground it was disclosed that the issues faced at the koker were a result of faulty work by the contractor.

Last August, Square Commodities signed a contract for just over $11.6 million with the NDIA for the fabrication and installation of a stainless-steel door at the Princes Street Sluice.

The contract was tendered and awarded to the company following a public bidding process in keeping with legal stipulations set out by the Government of Guyana through the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB).

Minister Mustapha while expressing disappointment, said situations like these should never occur.

Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha and NDIA CEO (ag) Dave Hicks during a site visit at the Princes Street Sluice

“We went through a very transparent process with these contracts. The company submitted bids and was awarded the contract based on their submission. Today, when we are having very good weather, people are being affected because of faulty work by the contractor. The government is now put in a position to create a solution because we have been entrusted with taking care of the welfare of all citizens of the country. This is the first time we’ve worked with this company and as minister, I am very dissatisfied. When we took office, we made it clear that we want everyone to be given a fair chance to work with the government and receive contracts but if you are not experienced or have experienced people working with you, you may find yourself in a similar situation and we do not take these situations lightly,” he noted.

He further stated that the NDIA has since been advised to terminate the contract and award an emergency contract to a company with more experience. 

Water flowing in from the sluice

NDIA’s Chief Executive Officer (ag) Dave Hicks and Senior Engineer, Timothy Innis are currently on the ground monitoring the situation.

Affected areas will be drained during the next low tide later in the afternoon while works are ongoing to stop the intrusion from the Demerara River. Engineers from the NDIA will also be monitoring the structure on a 24-hour basis.