Jagdeo raps Patterson on alleged corrupt practices

PPP/C General Secretary, Bharrat Jagdeo

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo is accusing the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition Government of “just gyaffing” when it comes to major developmental projects in the country.

His criticism was directed towards the infrastructure sector headed by Minister David Patterson.

Recently, the Public Infrastructure Minister had come in for heavy criticism from Opposition Member of Parliament, Juan Edghill, who accused him and his colleagues of making “glib statements and empty promises”.

Patterson responded the following day, defending actions and decisions made particularly as it relates to big infrastructural projects.

But according to the Opposition Leader, the Public Infrastructure Minister first needed to answer to the Guyanese people as to how the US$9000 from the Chinese Consortium ended up in his personal bank account instead of that of the Maritime Administration (MARAD).

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo

Jagdeo said that Patterson continuously dragged along the Guyana public especially when it came to the energy sector with his most recent utterance being that a 188-megawatt natural gas-powered plant would be built by Government.

“You’ve heard Patterson 10 times before speaking about all of these plans for the electricity sector. They even went out to tender for a gas power plant, then they shifted it and cancelled it. They were talking about negotiating a wind farm with one of their cronies. Then they talk about solar farm. Nothing is moving; they’re just gaffing,” Jagdeo noted.

He went on to say that if Guyanese had believed the Minister then, the much-anticipated road to Lethem would have already been paved especially since it was announced in three Budgets, but it was only taking off this year.

Public Infrastructure Minister, David Patterson

“Patterson just talks about things and behind that façade of them doing something, it stinks of corruption … We should examine in his Ministry all the single-source contracts he’s been giving out. His role in the two major contracts in the GPL that we believe are corrupt,” the Opposition Leader said.

Jagdeo went on to say that there was a “long list” of such acts including the Demerara Harbour Bridge feasibility study contract that was sole-sourced to a Dutch company.

Turning his attention to the controversial Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) expansion, the Opposition Leader said that the Minister continued to make excuses without addressing the fundamental issues surrounding the project.

The initial model of the project

“Why did you alter? He keeps saying ‘we haven’t altered’, but it’s a lie. It’s altered – the airport. I believe we’re getting US$30 million based on adjustments and I believe there is corruption there too,” Jagdeo posited.

The Opposition Leader further outlined that every time the Minister got cornered or questioned about anything, he would immediately turn his attention to projects under the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C).

“[He says] there is no feasibility study for Marriott. How can we have an incompetent minister like this? I can take you online and show you the feasibility study – two were done… He said there is not feasibility study for the Berbice Bridge.

“Right at this press conference I showed you the feasibility study with financial projections and all of this. The Skeldon factory – if you go online now you will see Tate and Lyle website which says that the Government of Guyana asked them to prepare the study. Yet in (Friday’s) paper, he writes there is no feasibility study for any of these things, but remember he lied in Parliament too. When [he] gets cornered and his wrongdoings are exposed, he lashes out at everything. Even things that don’t make sense and that have been answered before,” Jagdeo said.