The budget cuts triggered the investigation at NCN and the subsequent revelation of irregularities
I recommend to all that they read the KN story under the headline ‘Monies still unaccounted for at NCN’ dated July 3, especially those who questioned the rationale behind the budget cuts initiated by the parliamentary opposition. In this article it was reported that the Chairman of the Board of Directors at NCN Dr Prem Misir admitted that it was the budget cuts which were responsible for the initial probe into possible financial irregularities at NCN when the company was taking stock of its accounts. Without attempting to dilute all the other critical information Dr Misir disclosed to KN, I do believe that this apparent confession might be the most critical piece of information exposed to the public that should help guide any reasonable political conversation with respect to the importance of the budget cuts. The legitimate question to be asked now is whether or not the budget cuts, especially those to NCN’s budget, are justified.
I am sure that all right-thinking Guyanese would answer this question in the affirmative, as none of us would prefer to have irregularities persist while the ordinary workers and the people of Guyana suffer as a consequence of having the nation’s financial resources mismanaged, unaccounted for or deposited in the personal accounts of company executives. I believe the staff of NCN who I consider were coerced into protesting these cuts, will now have a greater appreciation of why the cuts were necessary.
I congratulate KN for engaging Dr Misir on this very important issue and I thank him for being open about the obvious financial irregularities that transpired at NCN. It is hoped that the investigation goes beyond NCN and the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company’s jingle competition and extends to other aspects of the daily financial operations of this state entity. According to Dr Misir the “grey areas” being probed will inform any police involvement; it is, therefore, hoped that all those “grey areas“ will be exposed.
It is clear that the budget cuts were necessary and are critical to the strengthening of any kind of democracy of which we may boast. As seen in the NCN case, these cuts have the potential to occasion the kind of financial investigation into state entities to ensure that there is some level of accountability and transparency.
It would, therefore, be sensible and responsible for the government to change its unhelpful narrative regarding the budget. It is time for the PPP/C government to be more open and honest with the people. In the light of Dr Misir’s revelation, which hints at the value of the budget cuts, I wonder where are we going with this budget-cut court case? Is it really necessary? And wouldn’t it hurt more than help the political situation?
I also ask who is paying the government’s lawyers. In this case, is it the Guyanese taxpayers, who have themselves voted, through their representatives, in favour of these cuts? So this looks like a case of the people paying lawyers to challenge their own action. Is something wrong here? The last time I checked it was the parliamentary majority who voted for these cuts. Very perplexing indeed!
The PPP/C government should be focused on how it can engage the parliamentary opposition with the hope of arriving at justifiable supplemental budget proposals which are able to gain the full support of the people.