…says expect “imminent raping of the treasury” when the Parliament goes into recess
Controversial Sussex Street ‘Drugs-Bond’ owner, Lawrence Singh, is now a supplier of drugs to government—another of the glaring revelations unearthed when Peoples Progressive Party Civic ((PPP/C) probed Minister of Public Health over drugs purchases in that sector.
The PPP/C today fielded a delegation at the Office of the Leader of the Opposition where that information was disclosed by Dr Frank Anthony, the PPP/C’s shadow minister for the health sector.
“Now we have a new supplier of drugs,” according to Dr Anthony, who was following on from colleague Member of Parliament, Bishop Juan Edghill.
Edghill, the former Junior Finance Minister, had earlier lamented that it appears government was now making its purchases from sawmills, corner shop pharmacies and computer stores.
At least one computer store is listed a supplier of drugs for the Government’s health sector.
Singh is the owner of the controversial Sussex Street property that is being rented by the Ministry of Public Health for in excess of $14M monthly.
Speaking to the matter of drug procurement, Minister Edghill cautioned that given the fact that 77 per cent of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC’s) total allocation for the year was already spent in the first two months of the year, he expects an “imminent raping of the treasury” when the Parliament goes into recess.
The former Junior Finance Minister used the occasion to recall that it was the coalition Administration that opted to change the rules and allowed for a single lump sum allocation to be made to GPHC which he said essentially circumvented parliamentary scrutiny.
Outlining the financial operations at the nation’s premier health institution, Edghill observed that of the total $8.5 billion (B) allocated for the year, employment costs accounted for $3.1B while Capital Expenditure is budgeted at $527M, dietary and meals $537M and other purchases such as cleaning supplies and security have been budgeted at $579M.
According to Edgehill this “would mean you have about $2.6B for the year for the procurement of drugs and medical supplies.”
With $2B of that money already spent in the first two months of the year representing some 77 per cent of the total allocation for the year, government will undoubtedly be heading to the coffers for more money.
He was adamant that the “raping of the treasury will take place” during the August recess and the full amount would not be made known until October when government is made to lay a supplementary financial paper in the National Assembly detailing the expenditure.
Another matter raised by the former government minister was the fact that hundreds of millions of dollars are being allocated to the Regions for drugs and medical supplies and while small amounts are expended for this purpose, the bulk is remitted to the Ministry of Public Health which is then unable to procure the required drugs and medical supplies.
Edghill posited further, that whatever money is spent by the Public Health Minister is being done with no public tenders.
He was adamant there are set criteria in the procurement laws and pointed to the fact that 92 per cent of the drug purchases this past year was done on an emergency basis.
“Are we manufacturing emergencies to avoid proper procurement…this manipulating of the system must stop,” according to Edghill.
Lamenting the purchasing practices of the government , Edghill querried whether the state had degenerated to such a state where a public official can call anyone requesting the supplies and the purchase made on an emergency basis.
According to Edghill, the stench of corruption permeating the administration reaches to the high heavens.
“This high state of mismanagement that is taking place must come to an end,” he insisted—a call supported by colleague parliamentarian Dr Vindya Persaud and Dr Frank Anthony, who were both on hand to lament the state of affairs on the anniversary of the coalition government’s coming in to office.
The party’s chief whip Gail Teixeira was also on hand for the PPP/C press engagement.