Fifteen months after it should have been completed, the construction of the $857M Good Hope Secondary School on the East Coast of Demerara remains incomplete because of “challenges” being faced by the contractor.
The contract for the construction of the school was awarded to BK International Incorporated in October 2018, with works starting the same month. The deadline for completion was January 2020.
On Sunday, Kaieteur News had made contact BK International’s spokesperson, Adam Harris, who stated that the school was “almost complete”. However, as it relates to the ongoing “challenges” in the construction process, Harris said that he was “unaware”, but he would contact the Chief Engineer and query.
This publication understands that the contractor has since been ordered to complete the project by August 2021.
The construction of the school falls under the World Bank-funded Guyana Secondary Education Improvement Project (GSEIP), which aims to aid the achievement of universal secondary education, in keeping with modern standards. Three schools – the Good Hope Secondary School, the Westminster Secondary School and the Prospect Secondary School – were to be built under the GSEIP.
According to Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) had designed the project and secured funds since 2014, which initially catered for six schools to be built but that number was reduced to three.
It was during a site visit of the recently completed $1B Westminster school that Manickchand, revealed that “challenges” are occurring in the construction process of the Good Hope School. She had also expressed optimism that it could be ready in time for the new school year, which starts in September, to serve students in Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica).
The Minister is expected to visit the school today to assess the works being done to pinpoint the challenges that are being faced by the contractor.
When Manickchand assumed office in August last year, she had made it clear that the delay in the school’s completion was unacceptable and was told by technical experts that the project might not see completion until May (next month). While noting that it was “wholly unacceptable”, she had pronounced that “people who bid for contracts and win them must ensure that they do what they have to do to realise the terms to which they have signed in the contract.”
The incomplete Good Hope School, the Minister said, has hampered hundreds of students from reaping the benefits of the project. Moreover, she had reiterated her Ministry’s zero-tolerance stance for contractors seeking to blame the school’s incompletion on COVID-19, as the pandemic would have started until after January 2020 when the project was expected to be completed.
The last update given on the completion of the school stated that it was 75 percent completed.
The school is intended to accommodate approximately 800 students. It will contain an information technology laboratory, several technical-vocational laboratories, a multi-purpose hall, a modern library, 26 classrooms and other facilities.
Additionally, some 195 students were placed at the incomplete school after writing the National Grade Six Assessment last year and it was disclosed by Manickchand that upon its completion, they will have first preference to attend if they so desire.