The following is a statement issued by PPP/C Member of Parliament, Charles Ramson Jr, in relation to the recent controversy surrounding storage of medicines and medical supplies for the Georgetown Public Hospital and the Ministry of Health:
I have listened to Minister Trotman at the Press Briefing regarding the Pharmaceutical Bond rental corruption scandal and the recommendations outlined in the report submitted to President Granger and I make the following points:
- None of the recommendations actually say that the contract should be terminated. There is only a recommendation to review the contract. There is not even a recommendation for a review with a particular objective e.g with a view to terminate the contract.
- The report recommended that the Attorney General review the contract. How could a contract which was approved by Cabinet be reviewed by one of the persons who is a member of Cabinet and who partook in the decision to approve the contract? There are obvious and inherent conflict of interest, natural justice and bias issues.
- The first recommendation makes reference to money owing to the New GPC Inc. This was not what the Minister stated in Parliament. It was stated that the sum of $19m was paid to the New GPC Inc. This is, therefore, an admission that the Minister’s statement was untrue. In addition, this was not the most important point of report so it speaks volumes that this was indeed the first recommendation.
- Since the contract was approved by the Cabinet why is the Minister of Health being made a sacrificial anode with a recommendation that he makes a public apology? It was approved by the Cabinet the responsibility is, therefore, that of the Cabinet and the President who chairs Cabinet.
- Has the report examined the value and benefit of the storage facility being offered by the New GPC Inc’s bond verses the Sussex Street bond in terms of square footage, certification etc.?
- The Minister stated in Parliament that the Bond was already in use storing drugs. Based on what was said by Minister Trotman this is clearly not so and the Minister was therefore misleading the Parliament.
- We are still unclear whether the Food and Drug Department and all the other relevant agencies actually certified the bond as the Minister stated to the Parliament.
- Did the report consider the callous, disrespectful and arrogant treatment shown to the Members of Parliament for the opposition who merely asked questions on the issue as we are expected and mandated by the people of Guyana to so do?
The report is merely a red herring in an attempt by the government to hoodwink the nation on what is simply a corrupt transaction. For the report to have a modicum of credibility and legitimacy at the very least it would have recommended to terminate the contract. In addition, maybe SOCU or SARU may want to investigate with a view to recover the money paid but those operations may be preoccupied with a PPP persons agenda.