Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo on Tuesday lashed out at the now cowed anti-corruption advocates and civil society bodies over their silence on what he calls “blatant corruption and excesses”, exhibited by the coalition A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government.
The People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) General Secretary was at the time responding to queries at his Church Street office, over his Party’s seeming failure to effectively challenge some of the excesses he repeatedly lamented. Jagdeo
responded, “It seems as though we are the only ones fighting the corruption. Where are the civil society organisations now?”
The former President was at the time addressing a press engagement at his Church Street office and had again lamented the $1.4 billion D’Urban Park Project.
He spoke too of the controversial $605 million drug purchase single sourced from ANSA McAL as well as the infamous ‘pharma-gate’ scandal costing taxpayers $174 million annually.
Jagdeo has since questioned where the organisations were that “were so vocal against these things”.
He told members of the media that despite being elected representatives in the 65-member National Assembly, “the civil society organisations have not taken a position on GECOM as yet” save the Guyana Bar Association, which he concedes recently filed court proceedings.
He suggested that the anti-corruption watchdog body had only taken public positions on things in the past.
The Opposition Leader quickly highlighted prominent TIGI Past President Anand Goolsarran, who accused the then PPP/C Administration of siphoning off $28 billion annually through misfeasance and other nefarious and corrupt means.
According to Jagdeo, “it is time the Government breaks this down.”
Jagdeo challenged Government to have the TIGI Past President provide a breakdown of the $28 billion in procurement fraud and to go after the people involved.
In lashing out at the current Administration over its penchant for excesses, Jagdeo pointed to the early budgets presented by Government, which inherently allow for a situation where “they have two budgets running parallelly (sic), they don’t close the budget”.
He explained that during the month of December the Administration would take the opportunity to spend large amounts of money without having debates in the Parliament.
Jagdeo lamented a situation too where Government agencies make out cheques in large amounts during that period and “the accounting officers holds billions of dollars in cheques that are then used in a fashion we will never be able to trace whether we are getting the services or not”.
President Granger, in his most recent pre-packaged televised programme “The Public Interest”, lamented problems over the Skeldon Sugar Factory, the fibreoptic cable project and the Hope Canal among other large projects undertaken by the PPP/C Administration.
Granger also hinted too at his new cost measures/austerity measures in the face of an inherited dire economic situation.
Jagdeo retorted, however, that “the President has not spoken about the spending of his (APNU/AFC) Government and the wanton spending”.
He drew reference to the $80 billion liability to the treasury as well as the $1.4 billion D’Urban Park “stadium that is not in use…rent a bond for $174 million a year which is a bottom house”.