$400 million contract for highway …”THE RETURN OF KALLCO”

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After being criticized and fired from the Maracas Bay Project in 2016, contractor Kallco is back!

Kallco has been offered a $400 million contract to construct the first segment of the Churchill Roosevelt Highway Extension to Manzanilla.

Described by operatives of this PNM Government as “one of the blue-eyed contractors under the last People’s Partnership Government”, Kallco landed this big contract, which according to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, “the process was robust and rigid.”

All of a sudden, Rowley forgot the assault on Kallco when the PNM came into office in 2015, saying on Tuesday that Kallco had the necessary equipment and experience to complete the job on time and with no cost overruns.

Rowley said he hoped the decision to award the contract to a local contractor will motivate local contractors to tender for jobs and would be competitive and give the taxpayers value for their money.

It would seem that Rowley has forgotten that this is the same Kallco which had come under the gun.

In July 2016, Kallco was pulled from the $120 million Maracas Beach Facility Improvement project.

Minister in the Office of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs Stuart Young confirmed that the services of Kallco was terminated.

He said: “the contract was terminated on the basis of legal advice obtained. The employer of Kallco in that instance is CISL (Community Improvement Services Limited), so CISL terminated Kallco must be a month and a half ago. It would have been found that progress was not being made in the manner it should have been made in. It wasn’t being done as quickly as possible, they (Kallco) hadn’t progressed as much as they should have at that point in time and based on the standards of work that should have been performed”.

The Maracas Beach Facility Improvement project was first launched by the People’s National Movement in 2007 at a development cost of $179 million. This figure was changed in 2009 to $233 million. Under the Peoples Partnership administration the budget was reduced to $120 million.

According to Young, approximately $20 million was paid on mobilisation fee, which, he said, was being argued that there was an overpayment to the contractor.

He said: “the government has expended somewhere between $18 and $20 million, no further sums have been expended since we came into office, so what we move to immediately do, is to do an assessment of (what has been) completed, and after that we are going to go about on how to try to recover any over payments that were made. But the important point parallel to this, both Minister Shamfa Cudjoe and other colleagues are working towards the completion of the project and having a proper assessment done of a value for money basis to ensure that there is no over payment going forward”.

According to Cudjoe, the project is now being managed by the National Infrastructure Development Company Limited (NIDCO).

She said the project has been broken into three packages, one will be conducted under The Programme for Upgrading Roads Efficiency Unit (PURE) to conduct roads and drainage works. Nidco will be in charge of two parts to deal with vending booths, wash rooms, and sewer and water treatment with the assistance of the Water and Sewerage Authority.

Kallco found a way back after Rohan Sinanan became the Minister of Works and Transport. Within a month of Sinanan’s appointment, Kallco was hired by the Ministry of Works and Transport to do clean up work in East Trinidad communities after heavy rains and winds pounded that part of the island in November 2016.

Now, under the same Sinanan, Kallco gets the $400 million contract for the highway extension, which according to sources, was the lowest among the six bidders.

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