The frame work conditions for the new Demerara Harbour Bridge Project seem to be changing almost on a weekly basis! First, the project should be developed by the bidding contractors under the "design, finance, and build" model. This was in November 2021. Not to my surprise, only bids were made by Chinese contractors. Others, for example European, US, or Brazilian contractors would not be able to offer financing without careful due diligence of the project. Hence, we ended up with Chinese bidders, some of which had been banned by the World Bank in the past for corrupt behaviour.

Then, Kaieteur News (https://www.kaieteurnewsonl... reported on January 29th, 2022. that the new bridge will be financed entirely by the government out of the national budget. 100 million USD had been allocated in the proposal for the budget 2022. Total costs were expected to be about 250 million USD. There was no debate or explanation given for this dramatic change.

Now, on February 8, 2022, we hear that the selected contractor China State Construction Engineering Corporation has been dismissed. What is going on?

The fair thing do at this point is to repeated the entire bidding process given that the conditions for the project have fundamentally changed from the situation in 2021. If the government has decided to finance the project completely on its own, then contractors are no longer obliged to organise financing as they were told last year. This might now attract more reputable bidders to submit a concrete proposal.

I therefore urge VP Jagdeo to halt all negotiations and start the bidding process from scratch. This would be the fair thing to do! I would also be transparent and in the interest of the Guyanese people, who are expecting that this project ends as success story without massive budget overruns. To prevent this from happening, careful planning is necessary and the bidders need to know the exact details of the project. Overall it seems to me that the project has been rushed.