…the PAC Gordian Knot
The “Gordian Knot” was this complex, ancient knotted rope that tied a cart to a pole (don’t bother why!). And it was said that whoever could unravel it and free the cart would become king of all Asia. Many tried through the ages, but failed. Enter the young, not-yet-great Alexander, who wanted to conquer the world. He took one look, then simply took out his sword and cut the knot in two!! Cart freed, problem solved!!
Since then, “cutting the Gordian Knot” has become a metaphor for solving intractable problems by not getting caught up with all the bells and whistles and extraneous details of problems, but finding a novel way to get to the heart of the matter and make the “knot” moot!! Well, ever since the PPP took office on Aug 2, 2020 – after Granger finally realised his rigging attempt had fizzled – the PNC had presented what they thought was a Gordian Knot to the PPP in the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
In our Democratic System of parliamentary governance, we’d inherited from the British a tried-and-true method of the Opposition keeping their eyes on the incumbent Government’s spending. We had the PAC – always headed by a member of the Opposition – scrutinising the accounts of money spent. Sounds fair, doesn’t it? You can’t have a member of your own party watching over spending, can you? That’ll be tantamount to having the cat guarding the creamy milk!
But lo and behold, the PNC members of the PAC in 2020 nominated and elected no other than David “Bangles” Patterson to head the financial watchdog committee!! The same Patterson – erstwhile AFC Executive who’d become more PNC than David Granger after 2015 – who’d earned his moniker after he insisted he saw nothing wrong in soliciting and accepting an $800,000 bracelet from one of the agencies under his Ministry!! Now, was this anything else than “eyepass” to the PPP? Maybe even “raaspass”!
Maybe the PNC was operating on the principle that “it takes a thief to catch a thief”? But heck…the PAC would have to review the spending of the PNC’s last year or so of being in office; the very time frame that Patterson was shaking down his staff for bling!! Can’t have that, can we? So the PPP simply said, “C’mon Patto, resign and have another Opposition member head the committee, and we could go on with business!” “Absolutely NOT!” screamed Patterson, who refused to call for a vote. And the Gordian Knot was created.
Well, the PPP simply convened the full house and, using its majority, as allowed by the law, removed Patterson at 5am on Tuesday morning!
Gordian Knot cut!! New Chair from Opposition?
…to the (money) chase
Well, well, well…now that the PPP’s in office, they’re finally getting to count the PNC chickens that were brought to roost to fatten their (PNC) nest eggs. One of them being the $30 billion (US$150 million) bond that the SPU/NICIL floated – and the Government backstopped/ guaranteed – “for GuySuCo’s rehabilitation”. Now, this is almost as much as was borrowed for the Skeldon Modernisation Project they love criticising the PPP for! But whether a white elephant or not, at least the PPP delivered an elephant that all can see for the money they borrowed. The question is what happened to the $30 billion?
The money was raised by a banking consortium back in 2018 at an interest rate of 4.75% per annum. Meaning that every year the Govt would have to pay $1.425 billion in interest alone!! And in 2023 the full principal of $30 billion becomes due!!
The Government just announced they’ll have to shell out another $608 million for this half-year.
Where did the money go??
…to Ramjattan’s legacy
Harmon had pre-empted Public Security Minister Ramjattan to announce the Police would get more “horses, dogs and CCTV” to fight crime. Ramjattan didn’t take that slight sitting down.
He sent 30 Police to LA to learn to ride bicycles!