Ramjattan admits delay a “major embarrassment”

first_imgBrickdam Lock-ups’ repairsPublic Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan has said he considers the prolonged delay in effecting remedial works on the Brickdam Police Station lock-ups as a personal embarrassment.“That has been a major embarrassment for me, because the monies were there and construction works (were done, but) the design of it is a problem,” Ramjattan told reporters when asked for an update on the project.Remedial workers to the Brickdam Station continue to be delayedThe minister explained that the contractor retained to complete the works was working on another building at the Force’s Eve Leary Headquarters, and afterwards he would have moved on to doing the work on the lock-ups.“But I think they were supposed to finish (the other building) by now,” he explained.The condition of the Brickdam lock-ups has come in for much scrutiny and criticism over the years. This has resulted in that detention facility undergoing a major overhaul back in 2009, when some $14.4 million were expended to rehabilitate the once odious and unsightly facility that was once referred to as a ‘dungeon horrible’ by a Commission of Inquiry several years prior. However, because of the design flaws of those renovations, more money had to be pumped into the project to correct the flaws.Ramjattan had previously explained that as with any prison system, construction has to be of a specific design, especially as it relates to air circulation. However, the contractor had indicated that with the monies allocated for the initial project, he could have done works only in accordance with the flawed design.“You have to have a perfect design that will aerate if you’re not going to make it air conditioned, and there were some problems with that initial design… It was done to specifications, but (whether or not) it was done to specifications, we can’t put prisoners in there, we gonna kill them. So now we have to have remedial works,” he remarked.Monies were allocation in the 2016 budget to carry out the remedial works on the facility, but there were some issues regarding the tendering process which further detained the process.The National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) had found that the three contractors who had tendered for the project were non-responsive. As such, the flawed tenders had been sent back to the evaluation committee, which then returned them to the respective bidders with indications of where they were “non-responsive”. However, only one of the three bidders re-tendered, and was awarded the contract months later.In the meantime, top officials of the Police Force had called the facility a “travesty” to law enforcement efforts in ‘A’ Division (Georgetown/East Bank Demerara), saying it was affecting the work of the Police in that Division.“The burden of shifting serious-crime suspects to other lock-ups on a daily basis is one we have been bearing with tremendous patience over the years. I wish to take this opportunity to urge the officials concerned to spare no effort to realise this much-needed facility in the capital city of Georgetown,” one top official had implored.The scope of works of phase one of the initial contract entailed fumigating the lockups environment; demolishing of, and alteration to, metal doors; rehabilitation of the existing steel grills and door framings; rehabilitation of the enquiries area; and redoing of defective concrete works, which were followed by a process of plastering.There was also the demolition of exiting plumbing works and restoration of plumbing to each of the 15 cells that were rehabilitated, as well as constructing a concrete reservoir and concrete trestle which supports six new water tanks, and tiling of the floors and walls of the lockups.The latter phase included the installation of 15 penal-style toilets, one for each cell, done at a cost of US$700 each. There was also fabrication and installation of 42 metal bunks; rehabilitation of the holding area grill, and construction of seating accommodation. It also entailed the tiling and painting of the enquiries staff area, including toilet and bath; and painting of the general facility.last_img

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