Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Flowing dictatorship = No consultation, plenty confusion...

Kingston hotel development

Pipes not being laid correctly engineer says

SN, April 1, 2008

The pipe-laying in Kingston, in preparation for a US$52 million hotel investment, is not being

done to engineering specifications and poses a potential danger to the integrity of Battery Road and the pipeline itself, one prominent engineer has said.

A long pipe is being buried beneath the length of Battery Road, Kingston to channel sewage into the seabed.

This pipeline has been diverted to make way for a hotel and casino, which is supposed to carry the Marriott brand. The project is being developed by Pakistani Michael Ahmad and Italian Natale Barranco under the registered company Adam Development and Urbahn Associates (ADUA) with offices in Manhattan, New York.

The engineer, who asked not to be named, told this newspaper that the way the pipe was being buried was not according to laid-down engineering specifications. He said that this could cause the road to sink under heavy traffic after the works are completed.

He also expressed concerns about the possibility of the pipe rupturing and spilling noxious sewage in proximity to not one, but two multi-layered hotels and a number of office buildings.

“When you’re laying pipes, pipe beddings are needed,” the concerned engineer said, pointing out that the pipes were in danger of getting elliptical in shape when the weight from passing road traffic bore down on them.
According to the engineer, ADUA should have been aware of the specifications and its failure to follow them could lead to serious collapse of the road to be eventually constructed. Scepticism has been sounded about ADUA’s experience with the work it is executing.

Melville Sankies, another engineer, agreed that there was the possibility that the pipes could rupture under heavy vehicular traffic. However, he said he would have to see all the plans to give a fuller assessment of the situation.

Sankies also raised concerns about the company working in the area without first notifying residents in the neighbourhood, himself being one of them. He said the company undertaking the works did not put up sufficient signs informing the public of the project and detailing who the contractors were.

This newspaper yesterday placed a call to the office of Ahmad but was told that he wasn’t in office at the time.

Calls were also placed to the Guyana Water Incor-porated (GWI), which has overall responsibility for the sewerage system. CEO Karran Singh was not available and GWI’s public relations unit said the utility has chosen not to comment on any complaints made about the hotel development.

GWI advised that this newspaper speak to Head of the Privatisation Unit Winston Brassington, whose agency was involved in the arrangements.

However, when reached Brassington said he would not comment on the issue and then berated Stabroek News for its reporting on the hotel development, contending that the newspaper was not supportive of such investment projects.

The US$700,000 contract to divert the pipe had initially been awarded to Courtney Benn Contracting Services Limited, but was subsequently withdrawn and given to ADUA.

President Bharrat Jagdeo had said that the financiers of the project wanted their own people, who were supposed to be building the hotel, to work on the diversion of the sewage line.

The construction of the ten-storey hotel is expected to commence by the middle of this year and should be completed in 2010.

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