Minister Patterson should be fired for ‘blatant lies’- Opposition Leader

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Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo has called on Head of State, David Granger to immediately fire Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson over what he described as a repeated plethora of “blatant lies” in an attempt to defame the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and its approach to building a new Demerara River crossing.

Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

Jagdeo told reporters Minister Patterson had not only lied in his utterances with regard to him having doled out all of the Petroleum Blocks available for exploration, but in his pronouncements over the new crossing for the Demerara River.

Speaking to the new river crossing, Minister Patterson during an Alliance For Change (AFC) press engagement this past week had insinuated that the Jagdeo-led Administration had not only gone to tender for a new bridge, but that he was peeved since the then favoured location would have seen his friend profiting.

Jagdeo said that the PPP commissioned a pre-feasibility study in 2013 at a time when he had already left office and had, in fact, invited Expressions of Interest for three different locations, a clear testament to the fact that the Administration had not yet settled on a location for the construction of the new infrastructure.

Jagdeo also spoke to Patterson’s reaction to his prediction of impending acts of corruption through the award of Exploration Licences to be issued to companies currently applying that share close linkages – through complex shareholding structures – with Ministers of Government.

According to the Opposition Leader, the ploy employed by Patterson was, in fact, a strategy to deflect from the substance of the allegations laid in relation to the corrupt practices and focus attention on further misrepresentation of fact.

Misrepresentation, he said, is readily reported by the Kaieteur News, which the former President accused of being in the pockets of the regime as an outlet to peddle misinformation.

Still on the lies exhibited by Minister Patterson, Jagdeo drew reference to his assertions that the PPP/Civic Administration under the former President had given out all the licences – information that could have readily been had since that is available at the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC).

Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson

Speaking specifically to the coverage of what he deemed as “fake news”  being provided by the outlined news outfit, Jagdeo drew reference to the fact that when Patterson’s lies had been exposed using maps and information supplied by the GGMC, this was carried by all of the media houses except the Kaieteur News.

In his criticisms, Jagdeo noted that although the news outfit was provided with a copy of the map showing the available blocks, this was not represented.

He expanded by saying that with the perception being peddled by Minister Patterson that all the oil blocks had been given out, the Administration can secretly enter into deals for the remaining blocks since the impression given by Patterson is that there are no available petroleum blocks.

According to Jagdeo, “this Minister should be fired for lying…what Patterson said at that press conference is a lie and no amount of obfuscation, no amount of the Kaieteur News’ lies that they keep peddling and the fake news can change that fact.”

Having established that Patterson had lied on the matters related to the petroleum blocks, the Opposition Leader also called out the Minister over his misrepresentations on the proposed bridge across the Demerara River.

In seeking to debunk the assertions made by Patterson, the former President drew reference to a document which the Minister had displayed at his press conference purportedly requesting in excess of $100 million in order to fund a pre-feasibility study.

According to Jagdeo, that study commissioned by the PPP in 2013 after his tenure in office, in fact, cost just over $5 million, a far cry from the more than $150 million the coalition paid for a substantive study.

The former President was adamant that following their pre-feasibility study in 2013, the Government then tested the market by inviting Expressions of Interest (EoI) specifying the three locations that had been identified.

Jagdeo said Minister Patterson needs to understand the concept of testing the market and pointed out if the then Government had already made a decision on the Houston-Versailles location, it would not have issued an EoI request in the latter part of 2013 identifying the three possible sites that were proposed in the pre-feasibility study.

Jagdeo told media operatives that when the matter was first raised by the PPP/C, the questions related to the proposed financing structure, possible subsidies, Government guarantees and toll increases – questions he said Patterson is yet to answer.

He pointed to the study conducted by Government which indicated various options for tolls and subsidies.

According to Jagdeo, the PPP/C is merely seeking to solicit answers to questions from Government on the likely increases in tolls, subsidies and debt guarantees to be borne by the State among other uncertainties.

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