Consultant Clears LBI Facility

Date Published: 
Kaieteur News
Sean Devers

After plenty of allegations and speculation surrounding the construction of the Chetram Singh Centre of Excellence at LBI, a report from the independent Consultant hired by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports to investigate the matter has given the East Coast Demerara cricket facility a passing grade.

At a cost of almost $900,000 paid by the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB), Design and Constructions Limited (DCSL) was hired by the Dr Frank Anthony-led Sports Ministry to conduct a detailed review of the design, bill of quantities and overall construction of the LBI Hostel along with the indoor cricket practice facility, the fence and Hostel in Anna Regina, Essequibo.

The investigation stemmed from accusations that all was not well at the LBI facility from one faction of the feuding GCB executives. The Sports Minister, in the interest of assisting in the transparent running of Guyana’s National sport, intervened, resulting in the Ministry hiring DCSL at the GCB’s expense. The over-100 page report was sent to the Ministry last month before it was forwarded to the GCB. A GCB official confirmed that it was tabled and read at their meeting this month.

Contractors Shivnauth Construction Services of West Demerara was hired for the LBI project after a public tender was issued and six sealed bids were opened by the GCB Bids Committee.

GCB president Chetram Singh, Vice-President Bissoon Singh, Secretary Anand Sanasie, Treasurer Sheik Ahmad and Chairman of the National senior selection panel Claude Raphael comprised the 5-man Bids team and Shivnauth Construction Service, which has been in existence since 1998 and has build several huge structures including the Digicel building, the CLICO building and the Discount Store, was voted (3-2) as the successful tender and contracted on July 1, 2009.

A GCB official explained that a consultant was not hired to oversee works at LBI since the Board was having problems with the Consultant at the Anna Regina project and did not want to encounter similar problems. He added that close to $4 Million was saved by the Board in Consultancy fees but said the work was being closely monitored.

Kaieteur Sport has seen the DCSL report which was labeled ‘Review of the construction of the LBI & Anna Regina Cricket Hostels’ and the GCB official said that he was never in doubt that the LBI facility would have been passed.

He however admitted that because of some problems encountered in Essequibo, the Anna Regina Facility has now been ‘taken over’ by the GCB which has settled the $1.5 million owed to the Contractor. He informed that except for finishing touches to the turf pitch and internal nets in the practice area, the facility is now completed.

According to the DCSL report, “Several limitations were encountered in conducting this review, the most notable one being the lack of sufficient information to enable a comprehensive audit. In some instances DCSL was forced to reply on assumptions in order to complete calculations necessary for the overall examination of projects. Nevertheless, we have based our assumptions on the standards and methods we have employed in similar designs over the years.”

The comprehensive report was divided into two sections. Section one examines the construction of the Hostel and indoor facility at LBI and section 2 deals with the Anna Regina facility. In the Executive Summary on page 2 of the report, DCSL says “Despite the numerous limitations…we have concluded from our analysis of the bill of quantities, drawings and visits to the LBI site that the completed facility appears to be built in accordance with the design specifications.”

The reports however said that DCSL could not conclusively state whether the facility at Anna Regina was built in accordance with the design specifications due to the numerous conflicting information in the bills of quantities and design drawings. The Report also claims that unless the consultant provides a breakdown of the payments, DCSL cannot say whether the amount of money spent is justified.

The 17-room hostel, which also includes a gym, a kitchen and an indoor practice nets area equipped with lights at LBI, was officially opened by Dr Anthony in June last year. The GCB head said that in 1999 the GCB decided to rent a building but realised that because of the cost they had to find a facility that was good enough to be upgraded.

We were given land behind the (Cliff Anderson) Sports Hall by the Ministry but all things did not work out there. Negotiations began with Guysuco after the 2007 World Cup since we (GCB) had acquired the funds from the World Cup to construct a proper facility. It was not easy but the Hostel will play a major role in reducing the cost of accommodation for players which could now be channeled into cricket development,” Singh revealed.

National cricket teams at all levels are housed at LBI and can practice even in the nights when it is raining because of the indoor facility, which is comparable to any in the Region.