BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – THE St. Christopher Air and Seaports Authority (SCASPA) and the company contracted to construct the second cruise pier in Basseterre are heading to the International Court of Arbitration due to a cost overrun of US$7M.
This disclosure was made during a recent media brief following a tour of the construction site for the new berthing facility.
While confirming that the request for the US$7M cost overrun was denied by SCASPA, Minister of Public Infrastructure, Hon. Ian Liburd disclosed that the matter has been placed before the London-based International Court of Arbitration.
“The contractor, through its wisdom and its own deliberation, has claimed for unforeseen conditions. We have said that this is a design and build contract [and] the onus or the burden has to be on the contractor who is building the project [sic] to anticipate unforeseen physical conditions.
“…It has gone to arbitration in terms of the cost overruns. I cannot speak to the arbitration, but I know that the process has already started. We have already lined up our people, and I understand that the contractor has in fact lined up their people in accordance with the International Court of Arbitration which is seated in London.”
Liburd intimated that cost overrun is nothing new, emphasising that though the claim has been made and was denied by SCASPA, the contract ensures that construction work on the pier does not stop.
In his address to media operatives, engineer with the project, Jonathan Daduut pointed to the presence of hard materials on the seabed, which have led to the cost overrun.
“There is some harder material down there, which we have had to modify our work method to remove from the seabed. In terms of quantity and volume, it is less than one percent of the total dredge material.”
Engineer and Syndicate representative for the project, Errol Douglas noted that though a request was made for the cost overrun, it has to go through a process before any possible payment could be made.
“There are some issues that need to be cleared up and need to be evaluated…What would have to happen is that the first position is that SCASPA would have to approach the syndicates and then that would have to be determined. I am not in a position to say what that is at this point in time.”
The project initially cost US$48M with the St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank contributing US$34M, Social Security US$7M, Trading and Development US$2M and the St. Kitts and Nevis Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation $5M.