Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo has questioned what he termed the double standard of the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) as it pertains the handling of their investigations into the consultancy contract which was awarded for the construction of the new Demerara River crossing.
The contract in question was awarded to Dutch company, LievenseCSO, for a feasibility study into the new Demerara River bridge crossing. The Opposition had requested that the Public Procurement Commission investigate the award of the $148 million sole sourced contract.
In its report on the matter, the Commission flagged Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson for requesting from Cabinet that the contract be sole sourced, instead of being processed through the Procurement Board as the law says should be done. It was subsequently announced that SOCU would be investigating the contract award.
Jagdeo on Wednesday told a group of supporters at Independence Street, La Grange, on the West Bank of Demerara that “SOCU is playing a duplicitous game with Patterson because they have not called him in as yet and we will push hard for the entire Cabinet to go in (to SOCU),”
Thus far, Minister Patterson has provided statements to SOCU but has never been summoned to be questioned as is the case with several of the Opposition Members as the investigation into Pradoville continues.
Jagdeo, on Wednesday, held a series of meetings with the residents along the West Bank of Demerara as he presented the Party’s candidates and their plans for the November 12 Local Government Elections.
At the La Grange meeting, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) General Secretary spoke boisterously about their plans for the Local Authority Area with the main item on the agenda being the refusal of any increased taxes.
“We have a message for everyone and it is all about progress and working for a better future for all our people and really meaning,” he said, while calling on the residents to aid in getting the Party’s plans out there.
He said the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Administration is out of touch with the reality of what is happening in Guyana since they are all living the good life while the common man has to be continuously fighting for what they deserve. He spoke at length about increased taxes that burdens the common man and provides additional revenue for the Government to waste.
“Over $30 billion in increased taxes to the common man. People in the hinterland have to pay an increase $1.3 billion because they put the VAT on so many things. We (the PPP) had said that because life in the Hinterland is so hard that they can bring in items such as soft drinks and water and so on tax free but this Government taxes that now. They have to pay $5000 more per barrel for fuel, $300 for water and $500 for water,” Jagdeo said.
At the Patentia Tarmac, the Opposition Leader told a crowd that despite being in office for three and a half years, the APNU/AFC Government remains wasteful. He identified that every sector of the economy is being rapidly declining, adding that the country is still mourning the death of the sugar industry.
“We had said and I will say it again that when the PPP gets back in office we will provide a stipend to every laid off sugar worker, while we find jobs for them,” he said, to loud cheers from many of the former Wales Estate workers.
He reiterated that not only the sugar workers are affected by the estates closure, rather it is the wider communities as well since businesses depended on their earnings as well. He said during his meeting is Canal, people complained of having to pull their children out of school because they can no longer afford to send them all because they had to quit care farming following the closure of the Wales Estate.
“I never thought we would have gone back to the days of hunger but I’ve seen people gone back to hunger because I know as a boy how it was. I thought we have gone a long way in eliminating hunger. They killed the momentum in the economy growth,” he noted.
The party leader called on his supporters to reject the APNU/AFC Government in their large numbers because that will send a message that they are exhausted with the constant promises and very little delivery.
“We can only reduce the hardships if we participate in the Local Government Elections… this is an important referendum to send a signal to the Government that we are abhor to their national policies… we have to come out in our numbers… we have to crush them in a massive way so they can see the writing on the wall,” Jagdeo urged.