What will Shanghai’s hospital-project exit cost taxpayers?

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FILE PHOTO: A crane at the construction site of a new central block at the Port of Spain General Hospiatal on July 4, 2021. –

UNC shadow minister of works and transport Dr Roodal Moonilal is calling on Udecott chairman Noel Garcia to reveal the nature of negotiations still being carried out with Shanghai Construction Group, as the contract for the construction of the Central Block of the Port of Spain General Hospital (PoSGH) had been terminated.

Speaking at the UNC’s media conference on Sunday, he asked how the requirements of termination would be satisfied. Moonilal said the group’s notice of intention to terminate the contract told Udecott that it would expect full compliance with Clause 16.4 which explained how payment on termination should be undertaken.

“One, performance security to the contractor needs to be repaid. How much millions that will be, we don’t know. Two, payment for work done, there’s an outstanding claim from Shanghai, we believe, for over $200 million for works done.

“And, hear this one, payment for loss of profit or any other resulting loss or damage. That means that if the contractor had earmarked, for example, $100 million in profits from this project, you Mr Garcia and the taxpayer are called upon to pay back this loss of profits for work not done because of the project collapse.”

Moonilal asked whether SCG owned the section of the building which had been constructed, as the project was initially being constructed under a build-own-lease-transfer agreement, based on the initial request for proposal put out by Udecott in 2019.

He also asked what was the status of any loans which had been taken to facilitate the redevelopment of the Central Block.

“The Finance Ministry expenditures list between $4-5 million dollars for interest payments on the Central Block, so clearly a loan has been taken to construct the Central Block. When we look at the documents provided by the Finance Ministry, it speaks of loan arrangements between Udecott, CIBC First Caribbean International Bank, to facilitate the redevelopment of the Central Block, PoSGH. When we add the figures, it speaks to almost $550 million dollars in loans taken for construction of the Central Block.

“Today we ask Udecott, what is the status of the loan, how much money have you taken for this loan from First Caribbean Bank or any other institution to pay for this Central Block? How much have you paid? How much are you owing? How much work has been completed? Is the loan is now in jeopardy because it was taken for a specific purpose and there would have been a repayment schedule?”

Moonilal also asked what the next step of the project would be and who would be taking over construction of the project. He called on Garcia to reveal the name of the contractor who was awarded the tender for the construction of a new doctor’s lounge/walkway/security booth.

Attempts to reach Udecott Chairman Noel Garcia were unsuccessful.

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