…says Kingston construction project more than 65 % completePlans to construct a Government-owned drugs bond — hatched after criticisms of the Sussex Street arrangement — are ahead of schedule; with the latest reports from engineers indicating that more than 65 per cent of the work has already been completed.The Sussex Street bondThis is according to Public Health Minister Volda Lawrence, who made this disclosure when asked for an update on the side-lines of an anti-suicide walk through the streets of Georgetown on Sunday.“With regard to the bond in Kingston, the contractor is way ahead in terms of the percentage of work done so far. It was over 65 per cent of work, that was my last report a week ago, that has been completed,” she said.The Minister is optimistic that construction of the bond would be completed and the structure officially handed over ahead of schedule.One feature the bond will have, she explained, is the accommodation aspect that would facilitate staff staying on site.“So I’m quite certain that (the bond) will be handed over ahead of schedule. It is being built in a way that is off the ground, so we will avoid the flooding. And because it’s an entirely new bond, we are going to alleviate the leaking of the roof, which we had. And we’re doing it in various sections, so it can be more accessible. And in terms of storage, we will be able to do a better job, including accommodation for staff,” she detailed.The Minister also gave an update on the expansion of the Materials Management Unit’s (MMU) Bond at Diamond, East Bank Demerara (EBD).“Also, the expansion of the bond at Diamond, our Materials Management Unit; the entire framework is completed, the enclosure is done, and now they are working on the electrical and the air condition,” she explained.Last year, Government had invited tenders for the construction of a bond that would be located at Lot 1 Mudflat Kingston, as well as the extension of the MMU Bond at Diamond. Estimates for these projects were $2.4 million and $1.6 million respectively.Earlier this year, questions on notice from the parliamentary Opposition in the National Assembly revealed that the State had expended over $264 million in rental fees for the Sussex Street Drug Bond. In the response tabled by Minister Lawrence, it was stated that this sum was paid to Linden Holdings Incorporated for the period July 2016 to March 2018.In regard to action being taken to end the arrangement with the Sussex Street Bond, Minister Lawrence revealed that a Notice of Quit dated October 31, 2016 had been sent by the then Permanent Secretary of the Public Health Ministry, Trevor Thomas, and current Permanent Secretary Colette Adams had sent a reminder, dated October 3, 2017.The transaction first came to light in 2016 during consideration of Financial Papers. It was discovered then that Government had in fact entered a contract to pay a VAT-excluded $12.5 million monthly rental to Linden Holdings Inc for the use of the bond to store drugs and medical supplies.It was also discovered that $25 million had already been expended as a security deposit; in addition to $12.5 million, representing monthly rentals from August to December 2016.