Home Letters Judge for yourselves, did David Patterson tell the truth?
On Monday, August 15th, 2022, by way of a news article, former APNU+AFC Government Minister David Patterson admitted that the $188 million rental for UN offices in Guyana was high. This admission, though welcome, is a bit disheartening because of inferences that suggest the Government got a good deal, when this was not the case.
There is a quote that says “Lies are like cockroaches, for every one you discover, there are many more that are hidden,” and Mr Patterson’s admittance reminds me of this quote.
In Parliament, I answered a question from the Opposition Bench on this matter, and there I relayed that under the APNU+AFC Coalition, a 10-year lease indeed was signed with Blue Wave Apartments Inc for the rental of a property located at 107-108 Duke Street Kingston, Georgetown to house the United Nations (UN) offices in one compound.
At the time, I also expressed my dissatisfaction with the agreement the former Government had entered into.
Reading Mr. Patterson’s attempt in the article, to justify the then-government’s action was both sad and vexing.
Allow me to draw your attention to the Lease Agreement between BLUE WAVE APARTMENTS INC. and THE GOVERNMENT OF GUYANA, represented by the then Ministry of Public Infrastructure.
In Article 4 – The Tenant hereby covenants the following condition:
1. To pay the Landlord the Lease Fee as set forth herein, in accordance with the following conditions:
2. Years 2019–2025 (year 1 to year 7)
From January 1, 2019, to December 31, 2025 Lease Fee is USD 68,882.00 per month plus the Applicable VAT (currently 14%) with the Quarterly VAT inclusive Lease Fee being a TOTAL of USD $235,576.44 payable in advance in USD.
3. Years 2026–2028 (year 8 to year 10)
From January 1, 2026 to December 31, 2028, the Lease Fee will increase by 1% for each of the remaining three years under this Lease Agreement plus the applicable VAT payable in advance in USD.
[The payment once made in US dollars shall be converted at the official commercial rate of exchange (ie THE SELLING RATE) prevailing at the depositing Bank.]
I now take you to Article 8. While the said (Article 8) in fact states that the Landlord shall, during the term of the Lease, be responsible for all major repairs to the structure of the building, Article 9 states that the Tenant is also responsible.
Mr. Patterson’s statement that “Included in this fee were water rates, rates and taxes, security from (6:00AM to 6:00PM) on working days, maintenance of landscaping, car parking, grounds, and other associated external structures,” suggests that was the end all.
However, I draw your attention to Article 12 of the Government of Guyana agreement, which states, “Water, Electricity, Security, and Utility. The Tenant shall pay directly all sums due during the term of this lease in respect to his consumption of electricity and all utilities consumed or benefitted from the utility company or its agent.
The Tenant shall also make provision for internal and external manned security for the building and their operations once it has been handed over to them.
Also, in Article 9 (2) The Tenant covenants from time to time and at all times during the term hereby granted to clean and tidy at his or her own expense all areas of the interior of the Leased Premises.
The building was also leased devoid of furniture and furnishings.
Citizens, it can also be confirmed and verified that the UN in Guyana have been paying all utilities and security, and all charges as it relates to their obligations in the contract.
I hold firm to the belief that the previous administration acted in total disregard for citizens, whose tax-paying dollars could have been used more wisely. The evidence has been presented, now, you be the judge.
Finally, I assure you that the Government, under the leadership of His Excellency President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, will continue to work with our international partners here in Guyana, the UN agencies in this instance, to ensure they are properly housed in a comfortable workspace, “an energy-efficient and cost-effective facility.”