Home Letters Is the President listening to his supporters?
Just when you think an APNU/AFC self-inflicted scandal is over, another one piles on, threatening to out-do the previous one.
Until now, I deliberately avoided commenting on the Bondgate fiasco as individuals who could be considered supporters of the ruling APNU/AFC were daily expressing their outrage in ways that, had the same comments been made by me, they would have been expected as coming from a PPP parliamentarian, and would not have had the same impact.
But the feeling of righteous indignation expressed by the likes of anticorruption advocate Anand Goolsarran; outspoken WPA executive Dr David Hinds, Kaieteur News columnists Freddy Kissoon and Peeping Tom is evident that the honeymoon is over, and Guyanese are determined more than ever, to hold the APNU/AFC Government accountable.
And so the question must be asked: Is the President listening to his supporters? Judging from his inaction on other embarrassing and controversial events that are rapidly becoming the hallmark of his leadership, it does not appear so.
As Minister of Public Health, Dr George Norton is, in my opinion, the designated ‘fall-guy‘ for the outrageous decision taken by the APNU+AFC Cabinet to rent an unfinished, uncertified pharmaceutical bond for .5 million (US,500) monthly from a known supporter/financier of the coalition Larry Singh of Linden Holding Inc.
Editor, most Americans do not earn that type of money for the entire year in the USA, and the security deposit of million I’m convinced, was given to Singh to facilitate the renovation of the building he had just bought for the exact amount.
And to prove just how insensitive the Administration is to public opinion and criticism, Brian Tiwarie, owner of BK International, the man who was just gifted a whopping US.7M by the Granger Administration based on a claim by the Attorney General, Basil Williams that BK had filed a USM lawsuit against the Government which turned out to be false and misleading, and another controversial figure, Larry Singh, shared the spotlight at the opening of the 19th Biennial Delegates’ Congress of the PNCR at its Congress Place headquarters.
The mere presence of these men there would have been a nightmare for any public relations officer involved in the Administration’s damage control. Who in the Administration can be so naîve as to ignore the gravity of the BK and Bondgate scandals that shocked the entire nation by inviting these controversial businessmen to the highly publicised PNCR Congress?
Perhaps the strategy was to get the PNC hardliners at that Congress to rally around Brian Tiwarie and Larry Singh and give critical support to the Granger Administration during this crisis.
But what is evident by Singh’s presence there, is that President Granger, the Leader of the PNCR, does not hold Larry Singh responsible for putting his Administration in this scandalous predicament, for no one would have dared invite Larry Singh to the PNC Congress without Granger’s approval. And if this is so, it is likely that the President’s close advisors may even have been aware of existing conditions of the proposed pharmaceutical bond before it was discussed at Cabinet level.
Whether certain information were withheld from some members of Cabinet is no excuse, as the sheer size of money involved was big enough to raise eyebrows and initiate due diligence before any contract was signed.
Now we know that the original contract was signed for an executive building and not a pharmaceutical storage bond. Another piece of misinformation made to parliamentarians in the National Assembly.
I believe the administration took a calculated risk that turned ugly. I have a theory that could have provoked the making of this deal: With a more vigilant press and opposition, it will be difficult for government to later siphon off funds from the treasury as was done by the PNC regime under Forbes Burnham. Could it be that a percentage of the .5 million monthly rental finds its way in the pockets of a few unscrupulous government officials, or more likely the APNU coffers to help finance its 2020 re-election campaign? Just a thought!
Say what you want about the Guyana Times and other media houses but the independent press must be commended for courageously and objectively reporting the many blunders of the David Granger Administration since they took office.
I salute the investigative reporters who fearlessly dig deep to uncover these corrupt dealings by an Administration which was elected on the promise of being transparent and accountable to the people of Guyana, and to put an end to the “corrupted” policies and practices they accused the PPP/C of.
The Granger Administration has been plagued with making terrible choices, either through inexperience or downright disregard for accountability and the rule of law. Many have already been reported on, and there are more to come.
Harry Gill, MP