GEORGETOWN, Guyana, CMC – The Guyana government says it will go ahead with the expansion of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) despite already spending US$20 million for mobilization, field and laboratory works.
Public Works Minister, Robeson Benn, said the project represents the latest of government’s ongoing efforts to transform and modernize the infrastructural landscape of the country; including the East Bank and East Coast four-lane highways, now under construction.
The entire GUY$5.6 billion (One Guyana dollar = US$0.01 cents) allocated to the transport sector program was slashed by the opposition – controlled National Assembly even as the government pleaded for opposition legislators to consider the benefits that a modern airport will bring to the country.
Benn said that the US$20 million is earmarked for the contractors, China Harbour Engineering, and work is ongoing on the project.
“It’s either we let the money go down the line and forget about it or do it, but the question is whether Guyana needs the project or not,” Minister Benn said.
He posited that the project has to go ahead. “We cannot stop the engineering refinement, and when we get the go-ahead we are now doing all those things,” he said, adding that the US$150 million project is funded by the Chinese government through the China EXIM Bank.
The two countries signed the agreement in October last year.
Benn said that the budget cut has delayed payments and signing of new agreements between the company and Guyana.
The CJIA upgrade and expansion project would include the construction of a new terminal building that will have eight passenger boarding bridges, two elevators, CCTV and departures control systems.
The project also involves the extension of the airport’s main runway by 3,500ft to a final length of 10,500ft, capable of accommodating the Boeing 747-400 aircraft and the construction of eight International Parking Positions including a dedicated position for cargo aircraft.