Questions raised over several political appointees at GuyOil

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Mere days after assuming office, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) uncovered a number of political appointments in various State agencies, with the latest being Guyana Oil Company (GuyOil).

According to reliable sources, a niece of former President David Granger is employed as a senior functionary with the State-owned company.

Inews was told that the current employment of Marketing Manager Jacqueline James is also raising eyebrows. James is the wife of outgoing Police Commissioner Leslie James, who was appointed by the former President in 2018, and was sent on 306 days of accumulated, pre-retirement leave on August 2, 2020. He is scheduled to reach the age of retirement in April 2021.

Other questionable appointments include the hiring of Attorney-at-Law Suzanne Bullen as Company Secretary. Bullen previously worked at the Guyana Gold Board (GGB) as the Legal Officer.

That was until she was implicated in the 2017 money laundering probe surrounding gold dealer Saddiqi “Bobby” Rasul and sent on administrative leave by the Natural Resources Ministry in order to facilitate an investigation.

In fact, it is understood that from a list of current staff at GuyOil, the new Government was able to decipher the appointment of 12 political appointees, for whom opportunities were created back in 2017.

According to sources, the salaries of these appointees do not commensurate with the work they do or industry averages.

Since coming to power, President Dr Irfaan Ali and his Cabinet have been weeding through political appointees and others who collected “fat cat” salaries for little to no work, who were inherited from the previous Government. It has been said that such positions existed in almost every Ministry.

One such position happened to be the “Director of Public Parks”, created especially for Retired Lieutenant Colonel Larry London, the man at the centre of the controversial D’Urban Park project.

Local Government and Regional Development Minister, Nigel Dharamlall had revealed that his predecessor, Ronald Bulkan, paid over $800 million to 56 staffers for doing absolutely no work during his five-year term in office.

Dharamlall related that the discovery of Bulkan’s mismanagement of taxpayers’ monies was made when he along with Junior Minister Anand Persaud conducted a situational assessment of the Ministry.

The Ministers found that there were 23 staff members in Bulkan’s Secretariat earning a total of $7,730,000 per month. The Minister noted that those persons are all active members of the APNU/AFC coalition.

During a recent interview on the National Communications Network (NCN), Attorney General Anil Nandlall had revealed that London was getting a $500,000 take-home salary in his position as Director of Public Parks, as well as his light bills paid.

Gratuity is a benefit normally afforded to public servants, where they are paid a lump sum at the end of their employment, calculated as a percentage of their pay. According to Nandlall, London was even granted gratuity as high as 22.5 per cent of his salary.