EYEWITNESS: Whats to hide

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…on the bridge

The matter of the new Demerara bridge is getting “curiouser and curiouser” and like Alice, who first uttered that phrase, your Eyewitness is so nonplussed, he’s forgotten to write proper English!! If he weren’t writing for a family paper, his language might’ve been even less “proper”! But definitely more colourful. But perchance that’s the only kind of language that’s appropriate to describe this latest bit of what has to be skulduggery in the making.

You, dear readers, would know your Eyewitness already has his hackles up with the Public Infrastructure Ministry-led feasibility study that opted for another retracting bridge. He gets apoplectic just thinking about this outrage. Why the arse would the government want to inflict those interminable waiting periods on folks from Essequibo and West Demerara that have to come to our (not so fair) fair city – with retractions of a concrete bridge? Apart from the mental turmoil and accompanying road rage, do they think about the loss of manpower-hours for businesses? (Government employees don’t count since they’re always marking time, in any case!)

Well the mystery’s starting to clear up because of a new layer of murkiness the Government has imposed on the prequalifying bidding. There is a “secrecy” clause (they whitewash it as “non-disclosure”) forcing the bidders not to even let of the word of their bid public. Much less their costs. Now why would the Government want to impose this clause? Refusing to reveal the details of the Exxon contract they tried to convince us it was “PPP” that inserted the clause. Turns out it was Desmond Hoyte.

But to Hoyte’s credit, the “secrecy” clause was justifiable because at that time – 1986 – no one was certain Guyana had oil reserves in its offshore basin. Exxon wanted to keep their findings secret and who’s to blame them. Now here it is we’re trying to pre-qualify bidders for the new bridge…what’s the harm in letting us know who’s the best bidder based on the criterion of cost. It mightn’t be chosen because of other factors – but at least the Government would be forced to reveal those factors.

And that’s the fly in the ointment, isn’t it? If they let everything hang out in the open, how will the Ministers get their cut? But imagine the eye-pass these people have for us Guyanese taxpayers who’ll be footing the bill in the end. And “the end” is where we’ll get it, won’t we? With Exxon, we won’t be getting as much money for our oil as we ought to.
But with the bridge, not only we don’t get a fixed high span one. We get bilked on the costs!

….in political incorrectness

PPP MP Nigel Dharamlall was able to get a screenshot of a Facebook conversation initiated by an employee in Prezzie’s office. The lady (who’s clearly no lady) referred to someone as a “coolie” and the MP called her “racist”. Now some folks are saying what’s the big deal since in Guyana we all have our generic “false names” for our various ethnic groups: “Blackman”, “Coolie”, “Buck”, “Putagee” etc.

Yes, we do…but that’s just being disingenuous, isn’t it? Like the “N” word in the US, it’s all about who uses the word and in what context. To use the term to put down someone (“she don’t know these coolie; they still friendsing she while kissing my ass”) – in this case, the wily, devious coolie”! – isn’t exactly building social cohesion, is it?

The question, of course, is what’s Prezzie gonna do ‘bout it? At a minimum, you’d hope he wants to surround himself with folks who’re not so obvious!
A lateral transfer to Basil’s office?

…with gold

Trotman had claimed 15,000 ounces of gold were being smuggled out of Guyana monthly. Do the charges being filed here with US info mean gold declarations will jump?
And sugar can be subsidised for a while longer until privatisation?

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