…on PNC Budget
In light of the PNC chair’s frank admission of her party’s criterion for hiring (and presumably) perks – having a PNC membership card – your Eyewitness suggested the Budget provided a good opportunity to pin down whether the policy could be discerned at the macro level. Unfortunately, even though there was an “apology” – not disavowal! – for the revealing statement; none of the first line of MPs tried to nail the statement as either true of false.
There were all sorts of back and forting on the vexed issue of “corruption” with the PPP Shadow Finance Minister Irfaan Ali pointing out some of the more alarming details from the Auditor General’s last report. For instance, the widespread ‘thiefin’ highlighted in the procurement of textbooks by the Education Ministry. Of the $506 million allocated, payments of more than HALF of that sum couldn’t be verified!! But the question is – who were those lucky textbook suppliers? The public – and of course, the PNC chair – wants to know!!
Then there were pharmaceuticals.
We know for sure that at least $240 million was coughed up for that bottom house warehouse in Albouystown went to a PNC fella – but how do we classify that $604 million pharma contract to ANSA?? Do they make campaign contributions to PNC or PPP? We know that illegal $367 million pharma contract to HDM labs that was tied down in 24 hours without any bidding – went to a PNC contributor!!
But back to this year’s Budget, which the Finance Minister himself assured the PNC faithful that the PNC Government hadn’t forgotten “who put them there”. Going by the spare details in the dailies, your Eyewitness will take a stab at the “beneficiary” exercise in the interest of transparency and all that! We heard from Minister Valarie Patterson about houses the Government was building “for the poor” – 202 completed and another 52 before December.
With our Guyanese housing patterns, the location of these houses can give us a pretty good signal as to whose supporters are the beneficiaries.
One hundred and forty-nine of the homes were at Perseverance, on the East Bank of Demerara, with a sprinkling at Experiment (East Coast Demerara) –17; Onderneeming, Region Three (10). Some 60 houses are under construction at Amelia’s Ward, Linden! Going forward, $204 million will be spent on houses in Region Seven. For new housing schemes, there will be four in Bartica; five in Lethem; and “more” in Greater Georgetown! Then there are all the homes in “low-income areas” being “refurbished” by the Government!!
Your Eyewitness was happy the Government continued the annual $3 billion subsidy for Linden residents where bauxite had been downsized.
The same will be done for Wales, Rose Hall, Enmore and Skeldon? Well…if they switch to PNC!!
…City Hall as a PNC governance symbol
Your Eyewitness is still digesting the frank appraisal by Chancellor (rtd) Cecil Kennard’s one-man CoI into the sordid workings of City Hall. Now there can be no question that the Georgetown municipality is run by PNC members – and even in the case of the just replaced Mayor Patricia Chase-Greene, an Executive Member of the PNC. Her trusty sidekick – who was re-selected along with her on the all-important Finance Committee – is Oscar Clark, past Chairman, Minister and Ambassador for the PNC over a career exceeding 50 years!!
So when we hear about corruption by the PNC in the Central Government during the ongoing Budget Debate, we can simply extrapolate from the microcosm (City Hall) to the macrocosm (Central Government). Giving out contracts to (PNC) friends and relatives on infrastructural projects? The Kennard CoI actually names these kith and kin! Trotman selling out Guyana oil revenues after flying to Texas? How about the three Musketeers from City Hall to Panama to sell the streets of Georgetown?
The PNC was formed by corruption (sellout to the CIA) and is sustained by corruption!
…on interior spending
One Indigenous Peoples’ MP complained about the PNC Government spending in Georgetown for tourism, when visitors really want to see the interior!
Georgetown, dear naïve MP, is home to the largest block of PNC supporters!!