The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) on Friday slammed the Kaieteur News for what it says is a misleading article it published on declarations to the Integrity Commission.
The PPP stated that the issue was raised on Thursday last at a news conference hosted by Opposition Leader and PPP General Secretary, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo.
The reporter, according to the PPP, asked whether all current PPP/C parliamentarians had filed returns, to which the PPP General Secretary responded that he was not aware of how many persons had filed, but assured that checks would be made.
The reporter also asked the PPP General Secretary if he had personally filed, to which he responded no, but committed to doing so. On Thursday, Jagdeo said “We will get it done because it is something that we believe in. When we were in office, we made sure that every Minister did up to 2014.”
However, the Party is questioning the publications return to its “anti-PPP agenda”, with elections around the corner, as it noted that even though it was critical of the incumbent Administration’s posturing as it pertains to their declarations for months, no queries from the news outfit in question was directed towards the APNU/AFC.
Moreover, the PPP is also questioning the “benefits” being accessed by the newspaper’s publisher and whether that is influencing the “agenda”.
See the PPP’s full statement below:
The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) notes the Friday (October 12, 2018) Kaieteur News report, relating to declarations to the Integrity Commission, and the misleading impression it conveys.
The Party wishes to point out that the Kaieteur News reporter raised the issue at the Thursday (October 11, 2018) news conference hosted by Opposition Leader and PPP General Secretary, Bharrat Jagdeo, in the context of comments made by the Chairman of the Integrity Commission, who had stated that over 80 per cent of those, who were required to, had not filed returns with the Commission by the June 30, 2018 deadline. The reporter asked whether all current PPP/C Parliamentarians had filed returns – to which the PPP General Secretary responded that he was not aware of how many persons had filed, but assured that checks would be made. The reporter also asked the PPP General Secretary if he had personally filed – to which he responded no, but committed to do so. On Thursday (October 11, 2018) he said clearly: “We will get it done because it is something that we believe in. When we were in office, we made sure that every Minister did up to 2014.”
Further, the PPP General Secretary, at the same news conference, stated that returns must be filed by all Parliamentarians and Ministers, not only for 2018, but for the three years during which the Integrity Commission Secretariat was disbanded by the APNU+AFC Coalition Government. The PPP General Secretary was clear on multiple occasions in his condemnation of that action.
The Party notes too that the Kaieteur News has not, until now, raised queries with the President, Prime Minister or any other APNU+AFC government official, many of whom have not filed returns with the Integrity Commission for the past 10 years.
The Party notes that with elections in the air, the Kaieteur News has reverted focus to its anti-PPP agenda; quite possibly because of “benefits‟ being accessed by the newspaper’s principal, Glenn Lall. Only, yesterday (Thursday, October 11, 2018), the PPP General Secretary questioned the inaction of the APNU+AFC Coalition Government to fully collect on a $3.8B judgment handed down by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) against Guyana Stores Limited – a company to which Lall is closely linked.
Additionally, recent queries were raised in the local media about Mr. Lall’s ‘man of business’ being back in business after being hired as an investigator at the Special Organised Crimes Unit – ironically, after he was dismissed multiple times by government agencies for corrupt acts. These are just two examples of some of the factors that have likely influenced the favourable reporting on the APNU+AFC Coalition Government coming from Saffron Street.
Additionally, to date, the PPP/C is still awaiting information on the non-compliant former Parliamentarians, some of whom are current Ministers in the APNU+AFC Coalition Government, to proceed with filing of private criminal charges. The PPP/C on June 21, 2017, sent a letter to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of the Presidency, Abeena Moore, requesting the names of the delinquent PNCR Parliamentarians, of the 8th and 9th Parliament, who failed to submit declarations for the years 2001-2006 and 2006-2011. The same was requested for APNU Parliamentarians who served in the 10th Parliament for the years 2011-2015. To date there has been no response.
Guyanese would recall that in July 2016, the PPP/C moved to the National Assembly to address the issue of greater accountability for persons in public life, via a motion. The motion called for all Parliamentarians to make their tax returns, as well as their asset declarations to the Integrity Commission, public for the last 10 years. This was voted against by the APNU+AFC Parliamentarians at the time.
These issues, relative to the APNU+AFC Coalition Government’s sordid lack of accountability, have been totally ignored by the Kaieteur News.
The Party has been, and remains, committed to transparency and accountability – unlike the APNU+AFC Coalition Government, for which these words have become empty rhetoric.
The Kaieteur News misled Guyanese for many years. The PPP will not sit silent and allow them to do so again.