Letter: Patterson should resign now as Chair of Public Accounts Committee!

Former Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson

Dear Editor,

Recent revelations of “jewelrygate” show what the PNC (APNU/AFC) meant by having the good life. They were having a grand time having fun with taxpayers’ money running in to hundreds of thousands of dollars. A few were having the “good life” – not the masses of working poor living hand to mouth and living from paycheck to paycheck, trying to make ends meet on their minimum wages. A disabled person on Public Assistance gets about $7,000 per month (and sometimes they try to take that away), while Ministers get birthday gifts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Using public funds for extravagant gifts for Ministers and senior officials of agencies seems fraudulent, immoral and a violation of government rules. If this is a violation of rules, I call on the government to fire, discipline, or charge every person in every agency involved in these scams, who signed on the documents ordering and approving those transactions. This new administration should move hastily to impose the required sanctions, including terminations, on every accounting and approving officer who conspired to push through the paperwork. Bishop Edghill should be commended for exposing this corruption.

There seems to be an abundance of evidence that Mr. Patterson may have received these expensive gifts from several agencies under his portfolio. He should do the decent thing and resign immediately, or be removed by those authorized to remove him.

Giving away oil blocks, public lands, public assets, is as iniquitous as a Minister’s assistant initiating paper work to secure expensive gifts for the bosses. As I said in my recent article, “Don’t Steal, the Government Hates Competition,” Guyana is a rich country, but we are poor because of this type of ongoing stealing of national resources.

Here are some Guyanese viewpoints on Internet sites:

“Patterson stated that ‘the practice of giving memorabilia and other gifts to Ministers is not new, and Ministers from both sides of the political divide have been presented with gifts and other memorabilia on numerous special occasions.’ Giving by whom and for what purpose? It is vital that one recognizes what is deemed ‘giving of gifts’; one must note the contents AND context. Giving a gift of a hand-made basket from a community is different from having a HALF MILLION DOLLAR WRIST BAND that is given by the Board with whom the protagonist is associated (Devanand Bhagwan).

“It is a conflict of interest to take such (humongous) gifts. It is outrageous by any standard – especially in the context of a poor country where most of the people have difficulty coping from day to day.”

“The blame game goes back and forth, a never-ending cycle, let’s say the now Govt. loses the next election, they too will also be blamed for the monies they fill their pockets with and you know what? They really really fill their pockets till there’s no more space to put it, in the meantime the Guyanese people are the real sufferers here, the supporters of the Govt. whoever is in power supports the filling of the pockets so..whatever (Tiger).

“Whether it is $500,000 in gifts of gold pieces or $3B in fake road projects, all must be investigated and the guilty made to reimburse the government.
Even if the stolen money is being worn on somebody’s wrist or around their neck or invested in FLORIDA or in a palatial ranch on the sea coast.
This idea of the the Big Devil stealing billions trying Little Devils for stealing thousands may make for political comedy but not when it involves the devils stealing from the people (Emile Mervin). Mr. Patterson must do the decent thing and resign now from the Public Accounts Committee.

Dr Jerry Jailall