Letter: The only new developments under Public Infrastructure are corruption, cronyism

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Dear Editor,

Please allow me space in the letter columns to express concern as well as to educate your readers about the level of misinformation being peddled by the Ministry of Public Infrastructure as it relates to the “successes” of this Ministry.

The undisputed fact is that since the APNU+AFC Granger led Administration assumed office no new transformational or major infrastructural project has been undertaken. All that has been reported are projects started by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration pre May 2015, and in some instances funding moblised awaiting contract awards for execution.

Let me, specifically, refer to a number of projects, such as: The Cheddi Jagan International Airport, the East Bank four lane highway, the West Coast Demerara road (Vreed-En-Hoop to Ruby), the East Coast four lane highway and upgrade (Betterhope to Bellfield), the East Bank Berbice road, the Sheriff Mandela upgrade, the road link between East Coast and East Bank, the Guyana Power and Light power utility upgrade project GPL’s PUUP (funded by the EU/IDB), new ferry to be funded by India, the Linden to Lethem road and the Kurupukari crossing. These are all projects that were in the pipeline at different stages. Therefore, I urge all Guyanese not to be fooled by the propaganda lines and sound bites being peddled by the current Administration.

The only new developments in this sector are the corruption and non-compliance with procurement processes, sole sourcing of contracts to friends and cronies and the heavy over reliance on the force account unit.

The New Demerara River Crossing, this project was at the pre-feasibility stage when the PPP/C demitted office in May 2015. The country is now aware that the feasibility study was sole sourced to a preferred contractor even after more than a dozen firms submitted bid proposals, responding to a public advertisement. How this is possible, only the Ministry of Public Infrastructure knows. The Wind Farm proposal was around pre May 2015, and discussions were ongoing about the cost that would entail in a power purchase agreement, feeding into the national grid and developing real capacity. However, the boast of the current Administration as it relates to this project is that a political investor, a publicly declared AFC financier, is the preferred investor. We are not aware of the cost to purchase electricity and they are a number of other unknowns as it relates to this project.

Maintenance of roads and bridges, maintenance of hinterland roads and bridges, maintenance of highways, maintenance of streetlights, maintenance of ferry vessels, maintenance of interior airstrips, maintenance of wharfs and stellings and maintenance of river and sea defenses are all routine tasks of this Ministry and in some instances these declared programmes were not executed as confirmed by the Minster when he declared a 73% completion of the capital projects for 2017. Yet, the Ministry is calming a highly successful year.

Editor, Government collect taxes and are expected to provide goods and services to its citizens. It is obvious that the APNU+AFC Government specializes in the collecting of taxes and are still learning how to deliver goods and services to the taxpayers. This unscrupulous approach of selling propaganda through public relation blitz is a failed method that is seen and experienced by all Guyanese.

It is in this environment of boast by the Minister of Public Infrastructure that Guyanese are yet to be assured of the short-term, medium term or even a workable long-term solution to ensuring cheap reliable and renewable electricity. We all suffered the indignities of constant black out during the entire year and even during the festive season, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Guyanese deserve more so we demand more of this Administration.

Yours faithfully,
Bishop Juan Edghill,
PPP/C MP

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