Making reference to the Auditor General’s pronouncement that missing financial records were stalling a special audit into the controversial Durban Park project, Opposition leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo posited that it is ironic that the APNU/AFC Administration has missing records pertaining to the Durban Park Project, when documents for the former Administration can be readily accessed.
“It tells you a pattern…[They expended] $1.4B but we can’t find the details of this bidding process that was concluded two years ago, yet they found elements of the bid that was done 12 or 13 years back,” he told media operatives during a press conference on Thursday.
He was at the time making reference to the criticisms levied against the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) by the APNU/AFC Government that it wasted $38M on filling the land at the Durban Park site and had presented documents from 13 years ago to support its arguments.
“…imagine that was done some 13 years ago and they still could have found documents to show when the tender went out and who won the bid, we finished this project just two years ago and we can’t find any documents about the bidding process and who the contractors were, who supplied the material?,” Jagdeo questioned.
Last year, Auditor General of Guyana, Deodat Sharma had told media operatives that the missing financial records for the project was prolonging a special audit which had been launched among concerns of corruption and mismanagement of the State’s resources.
Works on the controversial $1.4B project, which was shrouded in secrecy, started in 2015.
After months of intense pressure from the parliamentary opposition, a motion was presented in the National Assembly forcing Government to divulge information on the project.
In 2016, while utilizing his time in the budget debates former Minister of Education, Dr Rupert Roopnarine broke his silence regarding his role as a Director in the Homestretch Development Inc (HDI), the private company that was created to overlook the development of the Durban Park.
He revealed that HDI was set up to manage the project with donations from the public/ private sector.
Some $400M was reportedly facilitated by HDI after which the project was then transferred to the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, since HDI ran out of funding and could no longer complete the project on time for the country’s 50th Independence anniversary celebrations.
It was at this point that more taxpayers’ dollars were taken to complete the project.
Government in 2016, approved an additional $500 million to be paid out from the Consolidated Fund to a number of contractors and other persons owed varying amounts for works done on the controversial project.
Contractors however, were still significantly underpaid, approximately $298M, for works done at the D’Urban Park complex.
Finance Minister Winston Jordan told them they however, they could could either “take it or leave it.”
According to Jagdeo, this project will go down in history as one of the most corrupt projects the incumbent Administration still has to answer for.