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Luncheon: Fip Motilall "Not Locked In" to any Completion Date for Amaila Falls Road

‘Fip’ deemed hopelessly behind schedule since April
…Luncheon says delay will not hamper financial closure for Hydro project

With the US$15.4M Amaila Falls Road project which was handed to Makeshwar ‘Fip’ Motilall and Synergy Holdings Inc being delayed by several months Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr Roger Luncheon is still insisting that financial closure for the Hydro Electric Project will not be affected by the delay.

The road is to pave the way for the construction of the Amaila Falls Hydro Electric Project which has seen estimates increase from US$450M to a staggering US$835M.

Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr Roger Luncheon told this publication recently that the financial closure has not been made as yet “and there will continue to be opportunities to synchronize the road conclusion and the beginning of the hydro construction.”

The beginning of the substantive project in the form of the Hydro Electric project depends on financial closure which has not occurred as yet.

“So we are not locked in,” Dr Luncheon stated while illustrating his point explained that should there have been a drop dead date such as February 2nd, then there would have had to be financial closure by then.

“The completion of the road is not linked to financial closure…Financial closure depends on the parties involved; Government, those who are financing, those who are constructing agreeing on a financial package to get the work done … the road is not included in those considerations.”

He explained that the road is a ‘vehicle’ to ensure that when the construction (of the Hydro-Electric project) starts it is not encumbered by access difficulties …”so there is a bit of a room, there is a bit of possibility for some movements to take place.”

Dr Luncheon, during his most recent post Cabinet press briefing disclosed that the new completion date for the road project is now March or April in 2012.

It has now been agreed by Motilall, the consultants and the Government of Guyana that sections of the road will have to be sub-contracted out to other companies to speed up the works.

As it relates to the percentage of the US$15.4M paid over to Synergy Holdings Inc for works already completed, the official was unable to say but promised to make that information available.

Dr Luncheon was also unable at the time to say how much of the road has been completed.

Motilall had earlier this year promised to take media operatives to the interior to view the progress of the road but that never materialized.

Dr Luncheon had himself conceded that the Road Project is hopelessly behind schedule and the suggestion was there for him to contract out the components ever since then.

Dr Luncheon had even suggested that Motilall should be very worried because the design of the contract stipulates stringent penalties.

“The penalties are quite significant and will be enforced for not meeting the drop dead date.”

Senior Engineer at the Ministry of Public Works, Walter Willis, at that time had told this newspaper that there were no delays as such but rather lost days which had to be given back to the contractor.

Willis said the first notice to proceed was given in October 5, for some sections of the road. On January 11 the next notice to proceed was issued and this section entailed virgin forest.

The breakdown of the project awarded to Synergy Holdings Inc states that the upgrade of 89km of road will cost US$3.9M; the 110km of virgin roadway, US $7M, the two pontoon crossings or a bridge will be US$1.5M and ‘T’ line clearing is said to be US$3M.

Hand in Hand Group of Companies is the company that has backed Synergy Holdings Inc. with the US$3M mobilization and security bonds which were a prerequisite to securing the recently awarded Amaila Falls Road contract.

The road that Synergy Holdings is building is to pave the way for the Amaila Falls Hydro Electric Project which is described as just part of a larger effort to revolutionise Guyana’s power generation infrastructure.

The storage dam site would be located near the top of Amaila Falls and would impound the waters of both the Kuribrong and Amaila Rivers.

The Amaila site is located on the Kuribrong River, a tributary of the Potaro River in West Central Guyana. The nearest point of access is the airstrip at Kaieteur Falls on the Potaro River, approximately 15 miles to the south.

An overland trail exists from Kaieteur to Amaila. Access is also provided overland by an all-weather road through Tumatumari on the Potaro River and on to Mahdia and Kangaruma.

River access along the Potaro-Kuribrong Rivers to the foot of Amaila Falls involves several portages around rapids and waterfalls.

The road from Tumatumari was recently extended to Mahdia/Kangaruma that brings the project closer to the site but approximately 30 miles of additional roads will need to be built to the top of Amaila Falls.
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