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By Ulamila Kurai-Marrie

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, Oct. 20) – A team from the People’s Republic of China has arrived to carry out initial groundwork and dialogue with the Cook Islands government regarding the proposed national police headquarters project.

The seven-member team, which includes an architect, structural engineer, quantity surveyor, reconnaissance, a ministry of commerce official and a translator, arrived in the country on Monday morning.

The new police headquarters, to be funded by the Chinese government, will be built behind the existing building in downtown Avarua.

While no confirmed cost has been put on the project, team leader Zhao Zhixiang says the project is estimated at 18 million yuan renminbi (US$2.1 million).

"We will go back with all information that we have gathered here, in consultation with the Cook Islands government. Both governments will be informed of the cost," Zhao said through an interpreter.

"We have given the commissioner of police the plans and they will identify the one that they prefer and on that we will carry out our work here."

During the visit the team intends to confirm the design, determine the capital cost and identify duties for both sides.

The Chinese ministry of commerce’s Zou Jianhuan says that more designing will be carried out in China on their return to accommodate requests from the Cook Islands and this is likely to last at least six months.

"The design will be further inspected by various institutes (in China) and once approved the Chinese government will select a strong team of qualified enterprise to carry out the construction here. This enterprise will also gather the material for dispatch to the Cook Islands," Zou said.

As of yesterday, members of the team have carried out their own work with the surveyor spending time with government surveyors and the structural engineer having assessed two galleries that were dug on the site.

Zhao says that since their arrival on Monday morning they have met with the minister of police, the commissioner and his senior officers and carried out reconnaissance and surveying of the proposed construction site to determine boundary lines.

The team is due to leave on 30 October. Meanwhile, the new courthouse is scheduled to open on 15 November.

Last weekend, 31 Chinese workers returned home with 54 more carrying out final touches to the building. Secretary for Justice Terry Hagan says that a Chinese delegation is expected in Rarotonga for the opening.

October 22, 2004

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