GCAA to get $1.2B head office at Providence
With the local aviation sector poised to undergo expansive development in the coming years, the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) is preparing for that ‘tsunami’ with the construction of a state-of-the-art head office at Providence, East Bank Demerara.Director General Egbert Field (centre) with Public Infrastructure Ministers David Patterson and Jaipaul Sharma turning the sod for the new GCAA headquarters at ProvidenceThe new GCAA complex will be constructed behind the Guyana National Stadium to the tune of some $1.2 billion.At the sod-turning ceremony on Friday, GCAA Director General Retired Lieutenant Colonel Egbert Field explained that this new building will be constructed to cater for what’s to come in Guyana. He noted that the complex will feature a gymnasium, nursery, and cafeteria, better offices for all departments, a conference room, and possibly a training centre.“Guyana is moving swiftly ahead. The waves of the tsunami are now lapping on the shores and if we are not ready, we will definitely be swamped,” GCAA Head stated.Field went on to highlight the many achievements in the aviation sector, but recognised that much more needs to be done.“The work must continue and this new headquarters that we are about to embark on, in terms of its building and construction, is a very important item which will see Guyana move into future as we continue our progress,” he posited.Currently, GCAA is renting two buildings at High Street, Kingston, Georgetown for $42 million annually.“It’s not a sustainable model for an institution such as GCAA or any Government institution renting. There is no permanency in it and you can’t plan and develop as you like,” Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson said.Junior Infrastructure Minister Jaipaul Sharma disclosed that with the GCAA always having to move around to various rentals, huge sums of monies were expended— including $25 million to maintain Colgrain House which it used to occupy. He added that apart from the high rental rate for the current property the Authority is occupying, a three-year caveat was imposed on the GCAA and this is the reason behind the Authority “aggressively” pursuing its own space.His senior, Minister Patterson, acknowledged that the new GCAA headquarters is being established at a time when there is a “vast shift” in the aviation sector with its responsibilities expanding into dimensions never seen before here. To this end, he urged the GCAA to gear up for what’s to come.Friday’s sod-turning was done on the 10 acres plot of land, which was procured at the cost of $25 million, and was witnessed by GCAA Chairman Larry London and other Board members as well as former Junior Infrastructure Minister Annette Ferguson, among other officials.Construction for the $1.2 billion complex is expected to last for 18 months; however, the GCAA Head told reporters that they are yet to secure funding for the project. Chinese Ambassador Cui Jianchun, who was also at the event, informally indicated that his country can put up some of the funding.Nevertheless, the project is currently in the tendering process before the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB). According to Field, he is hoping that construction starts later this year since the rental contract for the building which the GCAA occupies will expire in 2021.