Despite the APNU/AFC Government saying that it has made strides to address the issue of corruption in public office at the opening of the Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru, which is being held under the theme “Democratic Governance against Corruption,” the Opposition, in a strongly worded missive, is classifying the incumbent Administration “as the most corrupt Government in the post-independent English speaking Caribbean.”
Citing examples of the controversial rental of the Sussex Street Bond for $14M GYD per month, the $620M in drugs procured from a preferred supplier at three times the market value and in contravention of the procurement process, the billions expended on the D’Urban Park Stadium and for which the Auditor General cannot find the records to properly audit and the US$18M signing bonus, among others, the PPP said that “this is the most corrupt Government, which has ever held office in independent Guyana.”
Moreover, the party in entrenching its position posited that “corruption under this Government has reached to such alarming levels that the March 2018, US State Department Report titled, “International Narcotics Control Strategy Report – Volume II,” identifies Government corruption, for the first time in Guyana’s history, as one of the main source of money-laundering. In short, we have a Government of money-launders.”
See the PPP’s full statement below:
After being in office for only three years, this APNU+AFC Government can easily be classified as the most corrupt Government in the post-independent English speaking Caribbean. Indeed, its corruption is only surpassed by its incompetence.
In three short years it has managed to completely by-pass the public procurement process, mandated by law, and has handed to its cronies and financiers, hundreds of contracts to the value of Billions of Dollars. In one single transaction, the Minister of Health, Volda Lawrence ordered the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) to purchase $620M in drugs and pharmaceuticals supplies from an identified supplier, without any resort to the procurement process. Then shamelessly and publicly accepted a gift of a freezer from the supplier to store some of these pharmaceuticals. What is worse, the pharmaceuticals were acquired at a cost of over 100% more than their market value.
This Government rents a house, in Albouystown, for $14M GYD per month to store pharmaceuticals, when that same house can only yield a rental of approximately $100,000 GYD, on the open market. Over $300M GYD has thus far been paid in rental for this bond. This very landlord, who is a member of the PNC, rents a building from a sitting Minister, which is situated in the heart of the city, for a meagre $800,000 per month. This premises is a popular liming spot for Ministers and one of the preferred places where corrupt deals are brokered. Again, there was no resort to any form of procurement, in relation to the rental of this house in Albouystown.
This Government expended over $2B of taxpayers’ dollars in the construction of the D’Urban park facilities and established a company that was given the major construction works under this project, comprising of a Minister and known members of the PNC. Again, there was no resort to any form of public procurement. Despite repeated demands, they cannot produce any credible records to the office of the Auditor General, in relation to this project.
Whenever this Government resorts to the procurement process and it does not yield the contractor of their choice, they manufacture a reason to scrap the process and restart it until the desired contractor is awarded the contract. At the level of the Regional Tender Boards, this practise is even worse. The Regional Executive Officers are allowed to manipulate the process so that cronies and party loyalists are awarded the contracts.
This Government has surreptitiously negotiated a petroleum sharing agreement with Exxon Mobil and for over a year refused to make it public despite thunderous public pressure. Dozens of questions have been raised about this contract, but this Government has persistently refused to answer any of them.
This is a Government that refuses to submit itself to the Integrity Act, which requires the submission of their assets and earnings of Ministers and Public Officials. This is a Government that voted against a Motion, tabled by the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) in the National Assembly, which called upon all Members of Parliament (MP) to disclose their Integrity Commission submissions as well as their income tax submissions for the past 10 years.
This is a Government that surreptitiously stashed in a secret bank account, $18M USD, received from ExxonMobil as a signing bonus and uttered not a word about it to the public, for over a year, until the information was leaked to the press.
This is a Government that secretly paid itself, retroactively, a 100% increase in salary, to the first day that it took office.
We can continue, but we believe that the picture has been painted.
This Government has the audacity to accuse others of corruption and manipulates the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) and directs the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) to institute fabricated and malicious charges against political opponents and highly qualified professional Guyanese, who have served their country and their people with distinction. The charges instituted against Dr. Ashni Singh and Mr. Winston Brassington are simply the most recent.
Corruption under this Government has reached to such alarming levels that the March 2018, US State Department Report titled, “International Narcotics Control Strategy Report – Volume II,” identifies Government corruption, for the first time in Guyana’ history, as one of the main source of money-laundering. In short, we have a Government of money-launders.
We ask the public to observe the deafening silence of former crusaders against corruption, in the face of the massive corruption, which permeates this Government. We further ask the public to note that whenever these crusaders and others, troubled by their consciences, speak out against the corruption now taking place, they duplicitously make a comparison with the PPP/C Administration as to create a veneer of balance.
We say without any fear of contradiction that this is the most corrupt Government, which has ever held office in independent Guyana.
People’s Progressive Party
April 14th, 2018