D’Urban Park saga
…PPP explores penalties for Govt
President David Granger’s priorities appear to be backwards following his decision to launch an investigation into allegations of corruption against Guyana’s Government-Analyst Food and Drug Department (GA-FDD) Head, Marlon Cole, instead of acting on evidence of legal breaches in the D’Urban Park scandal.
This is according to Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, who was at the time responding to questions from media operatives on Monday.
Jagdeo pointed out that the D’Urban Park fiasco was of much more significance and contained heavier concerns, which warranted a full-fledged probe into the undertaking, as opposed to disgruntled manufacturers who felt wronged by the GA-FDD for banning the import of products deemed bad for public consumption.
Meanwhile, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) is contemplating whether it should push for Government to face repercussions for what it believes was criminal activity concerning the D’Urban Park Project.
PPP General Secretary Clement Rohee told a news conference on Monday that once a proposal was brought to the Executive Committee of the Party, its members would deliberate on the option of pursuing legal penalties.
“The PPP would have to consider whether it wants to take these matters further. This is a matter for Mr Anil Nandlall to make recommendation on whether he considers we should take the matter further. So he and the Leader of the Opposition and the Chief Whip would discuss whether the matter should be taken further and it will be brought to the Executive if that is the case and it will proceed from there,” he explained.
Rohee asserted that the entire undertaking was laced with elements of criminality, contrary to assurances by President Granger.
“This specious justification advanced by the President in respect to this particular project is tantamount to a cover-up of horrendous proportions. It is a national scandal beyond the imagination of any decent-minded citizen,” Rohee said.
The General Secretary expressed concern over this incident being the “umpteenth” time Granger had to “stick his neck out in defence of his untamed and get-rich-quick Ministers” who, according to Rohee, are developing a reputation for becoming involved in one scandal after another.
Commenting on the criminalities in the D’Urban Park saga, Rohee outlined that the Project breached Section 16 of the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act and Section 216 of the Constitution as an “unusual course of action”, claiming that the statements the “establishment of a company was expedient at the time” and was “not a secret one” were all excuses and justification for a series of illegal acts to plunder the Force Account, at the Infrastructure Ministry.
“Had it not been for a motion by the parliamentary Opposition on Private Members’ Day, this revelation would have never seen the light of the day. The establishment of a ghost company branded Homestretch Development Inc (HDI) populated with persons close to Government and a Cabinet Minister was never made public by the Granger Administration until questions were asked in the National Assembly,” he stated.
Rohee said this brought into focus the transparency and accountability deficit of the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Administration.
“The Government has failed to reveal to the National Assembly who are the ‘private citizens’ that came forward to ‘give their time and resources’. This gives the lie about budgetary uncertainties. No one knows how much ‘time’ and how much ‘resources’ were given to this project,” he posited.
According to Rohee, the PPP is observing the tactics of the Government to resort to the thread-worn excuse about the previous Administration’s track record in Government as a reason for its failure to be transparent and accountable currently.
The General Secretary said, “Little does the APNU/AFC Government realise that such specious arguments mean little or nothing to the people of Guyana. What the people would like to know is precisely the answers to the questions posed in the National Assembly by the PPP/C Members of Parliament.” Controversies surrounding the project include the fact that Education Minister, Dr Rupert Roopnaraine is a director of a private company that was established to solicit donations from private individuals for the construction of a government project. The entire undertaking has been shrouded in secrecy since its inception.