Work on the Sheriff Street-to-Mandela Avenue road enhancement project is set to commence sometime this month, after years of being delayed by various technicalities.The Public Infrastructure Ministry (MPI) has said a US$31.03 million contract for the project had been awarded to Sinohydro Corporation Ltd back in November 2017, and the contract was signed the following month.The two-year project, which will cover approximately seven kilometres of road, is being funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and involves the following works: relocation of utilities, lane and shoulder improvements, placement of sidewalks and paved shoulders, traffic signals, traffic signs, streetlights, drainage, a pedestrian overhead walkway, culverts, bridges, and a roundabout.Residents living close to the road, as well as road users generally and the wider community, may be inconvenienced by traffic delays, dust, and general construction activities during the period of construction, the MPI has cautioned.“The Ministry wishes to emphasise that these impacts will be temporary, and will be constantly monitored to ensure their minimisation. The Ministry advises that persons take all necessary precautions (in negotiating that stretch of road while it is undergoing upgrade),” it added.Coordinator of the MPI’s Works Services Group (WSG), Geoffrey Vaughn, said Last month that the contractor has been mobilising and conducting preliminary works before the project commences.The IDB had, earlier last year, revised the scope of works on this road project, putting it on hold and delaying the opening of tenders for the project. This was done following discussions entered into with the Ministry of Finance aimed at achieving completion of the project before the loan deadline set by the IDB had expired.Initially, Loan-2741 was signed in 2012 to the tune of US$66 million, with a completion deadline of March 2018.The revised scope, which is anticipated to cost US$35 million, would include the relocation of utilities, for which the GTT and the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) have been contracted.The initial project was tendered twice: first in 2014, and then again in 2015, both times under the previous administration. On the second occasion, tenders were returned in May 2015, as none of the contractors was deemed responsive.The Public Infrastructure Ministry said last year that several of the internationally funded projects were unable to get a start in 2016, and the Sheriff Street-to-Mandela Avenue project was one of those that did not get off ground as anticipated.It was explained that Government had decided to have a review of this project with it being nullified twice, once in 2015 and then in 2016.“It was basically sent up for review, which has been completed; and that should be out for tendering at the end of this month, once we receive all the no-objections,” Geoffrey Vaughn of the MPI had noted.The review was conducted by the WSG Design Unit along with the consultant firm Egis, in association with SRK Engineering.
Fifty-eight-year-old shop-owner Kamaldeo of Number 46 Village, Corentyne, East Berbice explained that he and his wife were in their shop on Thursday at about 13:30h when two men entered and told them not to move.He explained that one of the bandits was armed with a gun and the other with a knife. One of the men also wore a mask.He said the bandits tied up and robbed him and his 57-year-old wife. “They take a knife and hold it at me and tape me up. They tie up me hand and foot and wrap it around me head, and cover my mouth with tape so I can’t talk,” the man said. Kamaldeo said his wife was also tied up. The bandits then demanded money and jewellery.The shop where the robbery took placeAccording to Kamaldeo, one of the bandits sat on him and told him to remain still, while the other one searched the place and asked his wife for valuables. They were directed to a box which contained money from sales, which amounted to $33,000. His wife also handed over two finger rings she was hearing at the time. “And ah send them upstairs to a box on the wardrobe in the bedroom that had $10,000 and ah tell them that is all I get…so they get about $43,000.”He said he and his wife told the men to take cigarettes, phone cards and anything else that they wanted as the couple pleaded for their lives. The men opted to take a quantity of phone cards which amounted to $22,000.Kamaldeo said the men were not satisfied with the quantity of gold jewellery they got. “They say that we is Indians so we suppose to have more gold. Me wife tell them that she had some bangles but she take it and melt it and give them children,” the man said.With the couple still duct-taped lying on the floor, the bandits asked whether they lived alone. “When we tell them yes, them say we got to give dem more gold or we gon dead…they start cuss up,” he related.Guyana Times understands that the bandits left after a small boy ventured into the shop. It was the boy who was able to offer help by removing the duct tape.Police have since visited the scene and are investigating.