An old Guyanese saying goes ‘if oil a float, water deh ah battam’ meaning a little evidence can tell the whole story. The Auditor General’s report for fiscal year 2017 uncovered seven rooms in a local hotel packed with drugs belonging to the government. Upon investigation, no documentary trail could be uncovered to explain why government drugs were in Ocean View hotel rooms. Surprisingly the Guyana Police force was not called in to investigate. An excuse by an unnamed official at the Ministry of Public health “that the Ministry had sought the assistance of corporate citizens to have the items stored at the offsite locations temporarily since the construction of bonds was ongoing” was accepted and recommendations made.
Editor, the facts outlined in the AG 2017 Report are; there was no written agreement for use of rooms for storage; No rental charged for 7 hotel rooms; Plenty of air-conditioned bond space available; No inventory of drugs ‘stored’ was available for accountability; No Ministry official stationed at the hotel to control access; No delivery slips; No receipt for storage; No security for untold millions of dollars’ worth of pharmaceuticals; No record of any ministry official requisitioning drugs from this ‘storage’ facility exists; No written record of any kind to track entry and exit of the ‘store’ rooms; No paper trail in a country known for paper based bureaucracy; No paper or electronic trail of emails and/or notifications to health facilities of this new ‘storage’ location.
The inescapable conclusion is that this was a large-scale theft of drugs bought with taxpayers monies; that the hotel was being used as a transshipment or pickup location far from prying eyes and ears; that when discovered there was a conspiracy to cover up this theft and that cover up must have included anyone in the Ministry of Public health professing belief that there were valid reasons for the use of these rooms as ‘storage’.
To the perpetrators of this scheme to defraud the taxpayers and deprive the people of Guyana of much needed pharmaceutical supplies, I offer two more old Guyanese sayings ‘time longer than twine’ and ‘moon ah run till day ketch am’. There will be a law enforcement investigation into this blatant scheme soon enough and justice will be served.