Brian Tiwarie has reacted, strongly, to a letter I had sent to the press, in which I stated that the APNU/AFC regime handed over eight containers of steel that were imported by Surrendra Company for the Construction of the Specialty Hospital, to BK International Group, days after the 2015 General Elections. I indicated that the PPP/C Government had paid all required charges to GRA and to the Wharf, took the containers off the Wharf and the Ministry of Health took possession of these containers.
In the meantime, the PPP/C Government had moved to the Courts to sue Surrendra to recover monies paid to them after the Government terminated the contract. The intention was to execute the judgment obtained against Surrendra by levying on the containers to recover the judgment.
Mr Tiwarie claimed that we did not know what were in the containers, or their value. That also is not true. At the request of the Office of the President, the GRA did a 100 per cent inspection of the containers. As a result, we were assured that the value was sufficient to satisfy the judgment.
These containers were removed at the instance of Mr Tiwarie. Therefore, I maintain that millions of dollars’ worth in steel were virtually handed to him by his new-found political friends.
After I released the letter Mr Tiwari sent to me dated March 23 2015, in which he assured me that he was a “born PPP” and still is, obliviously embarrassed, Mr Tiwari seemed to have gone on a frenzy, throwing caution to the wind and unleashed a wild set of charges against me.
He claimed that he sent that letter to me because I threatened to stop his company from using GuySuCc’s hangar. This is absolutely untrue.
GuySuCo granted his company permission to use that facility, not me nor the Government. It was not my policy or that of my Government to interfere with entities governed by a board of directors. He alluded to an incident where certain APNU officials travelled on a flight which the Government of Guyana had chartered. Of Course I objected. I had every right to do so. In any event, this incident is absolutely unconnected to his letter 23rd March 2015. This incident occurred long after.
Mr Tiwari also claimed that the PPP/C had allowed Surrendra’s representative to leave Guyana. That is another lie. The truth is that after his case was completed with Surrendra, the court discharged the injunction which prevented the representative from leaving Guyana. There is a Court Order to this effect. As a result, the representative was free to leave the Country. This had nothing to do with the Government.
The fact is that the PPP/C ended this contract with Surrendra after their breach and took legal and administrative measures to recover tax payers’ money.
Mr Tiwari’s actions prevented the Government from recovering these monies.
In clear Mafiosi style, Mr Tiwari made a lot of allegations against my brother. Let me state from the outset that I am not my brother’s keeper. However, I feel compelled to respond because, Mr Tiwari attempts to implicate me in a number of wrongdoings. As a result, I took the time to speak to my brother to ascertain these claims of Mr Tiwari.
He informed me as follows:
1. My brother never purchased any land from GuySuCo. No one owns any such land on his behalf.
2. My brother offered to purchase lands from GuySuCo. He never received a response. I challenge Mr Tiwari to produce evidence to the contrary.
3. My brother never purchased any pontoons or tugs from NICIL.
4. My brother owns a tug, which he has owned long before I became President.
5. As regards the barge, this barge was owned by MARAD. Mr Tiwari used this barge for years and when it became unworkable he abandoned it at Parika and left to sink.
6. My brother was awarded a contract to fetch materials for the Government. He was permitted to repair and use this same barge. This he did for years. Eventually, MARAD offered to sell him the barge. They produced a certificate of valuation. My brother purchased at a price above that valuation.
7. A few months ago, Mr Tiwari caused SARU to investigate this matter. I believe Mr Tiwari wants back this barge because it is now in good condition. SARU investigated this matter and examined my brother’s documents. My brother has heard nothing since.
8. Mr Tiwari also charged that my brother received a container of parts from a Chinese businessman. Another lie. I was told that it is Mr Brain Tiwari who introduced my brother to the Chinese businessman. He told me that he had ordered from this businessman a part for the steering of his tug. The gentleman obliged and brought it in. It was housed in a box not more than five feet long and three feet wide. That is a far cry from a forty feet container. He also informed me that in Mr Tiwari’s presence, he enquired from the gentleman, the cost, however, this gentleman refuse to accept any payment.
Mr Tiwari conveys the impression that I have some personal vendetta against him and his company. This is another fabrication. I have known Mr Tiwari for many years before I became president. Why then would I suddenly develop a vendetta for him?
The truth is that when I assumed office, it was reported to me that Mr Tiwari’s company has a long history of not meeting contractual deadlines and submitting huge variations to contracts already signed, sometimes more than the original contract value. I was unprepared to tolerate such abuse. Also, there was a long line of contractual breaches by Mr Tiwari’s company which he was failing to deliver on. These include:
1. His company was contracted to rent the GRDB Wharf, and to develop it with an option to purchase in the end for 0 million. The rent was million per year. No rent was paid for four years. No development works were done. As a result, legal proceedings were file by NICIL. The matter is still pending in the Court.
2. His company also miserably failed in respect to a contract to build a wharf for GPL at Vreed-en-Hoop. GPL faced tremendous cost overruns and delays as a result. GPL was forced to move fuel by road instead. This cost the company millions of dollars in additional expenses.
3. Bk International fabricated a claim that GPL destroyed 0 million of heavy-duty equipment which he claimed were on a piece of land at Vreed-en-Hoop, which he owned. In response GPL contended that the land was abandoned, over grown with bushes and had some pieces of old iron on it, which they dumped in the bushes nearby. In fact GPL claimed they spent million to clear the land and pieces of old iron are still in the bushes. BK International demanded 0 million in compensation and when this demand was refused they sued. The matter is still in Court.
4. BK’s management of the Haags Bosch project was a complete disaster. They ousted Puran’s Bros from the project and took over management of the site. It was so bad that the IDB refused to fund the project if BKs continued to be the contractor. Our Government terminated the contract. BK went to court. Even this Government could not help him. They eventually ejected him from the site.
5. The East Bank Road Project is another casualty. I do not believe the contract is completed as yet.
6. Three contracts to drill wells for GWI were awarded to him years ago. To date none has been completed.
I can go on but I think I have said enough.
I hope that I have made it clear that I have no personal axe to grind with Mr Tiwari. Mr Tiwari has a problem with me. It all started when I begun to demand that contractors fulfil their contractual obligation.