Friday, October 2, 2009

Kissoon’s article inaccurate and mischievous.

I refer to "The Freddie Kissoon Column" on page 10 of the Kaieteur News of 28 September, 2009 headlined Robeson Benn's Vinayak or Vinaigrette and wish to clarify some gross inaccuracies in relation to the Ministry's New Asphalt Plant.

The Asphalt Plant - a Mobile Asphalt Drum Mix Plant OM 50 - was purchased from Vinayak Road Equipment of India at a cost of $34.6M (G) and not the $200M as claimed by the Columnist. The cost included installation, spares and training of national operators (the Ministry's).

The Plant arrived in Guyana in July 2009. The Indian Technicians arrived in Guyana at the end of July 2009. Site preparation, plant installation and testing were completed by September 16, 2009.

It should be noted that in an article in the Stabroek News of the 24 September, 2009, the cost of the Plant was clearly stated as US$169,000 and the Plant was site tested and production commenced.

The Plant was sourced from India after considerable discussions were held with competent national personnel. As a matter of fact, there is a similar plant purchased from the same Supplier by a Company' in Guyana from whom advice was also sought.

Vinayak Road Equipment (an ISO 9001:2000 Certified) is a reputable Company. It is a leading Manufacturer and Exporter of Road Construction Equipment in India . It has already supplied several similar plants and machinery to Afghanistan , Iran , Iraq , Jordan , Oman , St. Vincent , Ecuador , etc. Their in- depth experience in the field of road construction machinery has delivered quality and proven design machinery to leading road construction companies in India and elsewhere. Their website is •• ••.

Notwithstanding the frequency difference of 50HZ/60HZ in terms of the equipment/utility supply, respectively, it was confirmed in writing by the Supplier (Vinayak Road Equipment) that the system design allows for the Plant's safe and sustainable operation within the current frequency limits. This is also the view of the Ministry of Public Works and Communication's experts and it is apt to note that the 50/60 HZ configuration allows for the removal and set up of the plant on a generator for large out of town projects where a mains supply is unavailable.

It is envisaged that the plant will be officially commissioned shortly on the completion of the ramp that will facilitate loading of the bins with material to produce the asphaltic concrete.

As a consequence of the foregoing, therefore, the Ministry considers the article referred to at paragraph 1 above regarding the Mobile Asphalt Plant as grievously misleading and mischievous. If any effort was made to verify the facts with the Ministry of Public Works and Communications any misconceptions/doubts would have been clarified. Obviously, the Columnist, in his customary style, gives the impression that he sets out to sensationalise any issue and to deliberately mislead the public.

We have also been informed that the columnist gained entry to the Ministry's compound at Garden-of-Eden, East Bank Demerara, by falsely telling the security guard that "the Minister" had given him permission to visit the site, and that it was only with difficulty that he was persuaded by the supervisor to leave the location.

The Ministry expects an urgent retraction of the said article and an apology for the deliberate misrepresentations contained therein.

Permanent Secretary (ag)
Ministry of Public Works and Communications

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