No decision made on continued funding for projects in Guyana – UK Govt
…contradicts Patterson, Jordan claim of secured funding for Linden-Mabura, seawall projects
The United Kingdom Government, through its local High Commission in Guyana, on Friday announced that continued funding for the Linden to Mabura road, the Kurupukari Bridge and rehabilitation of the Kingston Seawall is yet to be decided.
UK High Commissioner to Guyana, Greg Quinn clarified that no decision has been taken on continuing funding for the road. In similar fashion, Quinn also said that the jury was still out on funding for the Kingston-Ogle seawall project.
Both of these projects were being funded from the UK-Caribbean Infrastructure Fund (UKCIF). While Quinn acknowledged that the UK did support the initial design work for both projects, he noted that no decision has been taken on funding the next construction phase.
“As part of the UK-Caribbean Infrastructure Fund launched in 2016, over the last year, the UK has supported initial design work for the construction of the road between Linden and Mabura and the bridge at Kurupukari, which is being implemented by the Caribbean Development Bank”.
“No decision has yet been made on the next construction phase of this project. Similarly, whilst the UK funded the design phase of the Kingston-Ogle seawall project through UKCIF, no decision has been taken on the next phase of this project either,” the High Commissioner added.
Quinn’s announcement came five days after Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson claimed that the road projects would start on October 1 and that all decisions have been finalised.
“I am pleased to say that we have agreed and we have worked out that there will be paved asphaltic concrete road between here and Lethem; Phase One will be launched on 1st of October and that entails the road from (Linden) to Mabura and including a bridge over the Kurupukari River,” Patterson had announced. Finance Minister Winston Jordan was subsequently quoted as saying that funding had been secured for the project.
Only last week, the UK, in conjunction with the United States and European Union, diplomats had recently issued a joint statement calling on the Government to name an election date. They had warned the Government that violating the Constitution would have dire effects on what development aid they could give.
A No-Confidence Motion was passed against the Government since December 2018, but elections were not called in the required three-month timeframe. Instead, the Government went through several levels of court, unsuccessfully arguing that the No-Confidence Motion was not validly passed.
At the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), the final court had thrown out the Government’s case and had handed down judgement saying that when the No Confidence Motion was passed on December 21, 2019, Article 106 of the Constitution had immediately been activated. In addition, the court had noted that the provisions of the article were clear.
Instead of immediately starting serious preparations to hold elections in the shortest possible time, however, GECOM proceeded to carry out House to House registration based on the orders of unilaterally appointed former Chairman, retired Justice James Patterson.
A court case challenging this process and seeking to have GECOM comply with the Constitution was in fact filed and adjudicated. Following the court case, that process was ultimately stopped by his successor, retired Justice Claudette Singh, who then decided to merge the new data from House-to-House and to prioritise the printing of identification cards.
Eventually, a position was reached where GECOM decided that Claims and Objections will start on October 1; a necessary move towards having an Official List of Electors (OLE) to conduct elections.
In addition, Justice Singh informed the President via letter that GECOM would be able to conduct elections by the end of February 2020. On Wednesday, President David Granger had announced March 2, 2020 as the earliest date for elections. However, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has put little faith in this, saying at a press conference that a signed proclamation will hold more weight.