Major UK-funded projects closer to realisation
Since early last year, there was excitement about the £52M ($16B) grant that Guyana has secured from the United Kingdom. The Government proposed two major projects, but there is yet to be actual construction a year later. It turns out that the UK is being very thorough. The process that is to be used will ensure that the money is spent for the purposes allocated.
The two projects chosen by this government are the Linden to Lethem Road and Stabroek Market waterfront and Vreed-en-Hoop stellings. The money is coming from the United Kingdom Government through its UK Caribbean Infrastructure Partnership Fund (UKCIF).
Kaieteur News recently had an interview with British High Commissioner, Greg Quinn who said that the process is still in motion. He said that it is unlikely that the projects will begin before 2018. Quinn said that technical design contracts for both projects are to be approved within the next few days. He said that the technical designs themselves will take a few months to be completed. Once those have been completed, there will then be a stage of final approval before the projects actually start.
Quinn indicated that the technical design will lead to a final decision on what the projects will look like. It will only be after that stage that full details of costs and what will be needed will be clear.
“But in principle, approval has been given to use infrastructure funds to support those two areas.”
The Ministry of Public Infrastructure has indicated that the first phase of the Linden-Lethem Road Project is expected to include the upgrade of approximately 122.5 km of road between Linden and Mabura Hill (including drainage) and construction of a new single or dual lane fixed bridge across the Essequibo River at the Kurupukari ferry crossing (approximately 600m long).
As part of the collaboration with the UK Government, the Government of Guyana is seeking to engage a multi-discipline and transport sector-experienced consulting firm to assist in the preparation of a two-component capital project.
While the proposed road upgrade applies only to one section of the Linden-Lethem road, the capital works on the remaining 331.5km of the laterite road will be undertaken through funding from other sources. The remaining capital works would fall under additional phases and the Ministry of Public Infrastructure has already engaged the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) on possible funding for the stretch of road between Mabura Hill and Lethem.