Chairman of Region 10 Mortimer Mingo yesterday denied that he had a house lot at the Pradoville 2 housing scheme as stated in court testimony on Wednesday by Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr Roger Luncheon.
Mingo in a statement to the media said that Luncheon had contacted him in August 2010 saying that he (Mingo) had been identified to receive a house lot at the controversial Pradoville 2 scheme and that was the last he heard on the matter until testimony on Wednesday in the libel matter brought by President Bharrat Jagdeo against Kaieteur News.
Responding to the controversy created by Luncheon testifying in the High Court that Yearwood was one of the Afro-Guyanese to be awarded lots at the
Pradoville 2 Scheme, Mingo said that Luncheon had advised him in August 2010 that the lots were located at Sparendaam on the East Coast Demerara where the NCN radio antennas were sited. He said he was further told in a telephone call by Luncheon that the lands were being assigned to senior government functionaries and regional chairmen. Mingo said that Luncheon then advised him that he would be getting one of the lots and would be contacted later as to how the allocation was to be made.
Said Mingo: “I immediately contacted my attorney-at-law on the offer that was made to me by the Head (of the) Presidential Secretariat and he advised that I acknowledge the offer, and wait and see what and how they would proceed with the offer”.
Mingo said that since then he has not heard anything from the HPS or anyone concerning the said plot of land.
“I have not signed any agreement or condition of sale or paid any money for any land at Sparendaam, or have I received any lease, title or transport for that land from the Government of Guyana. In fact I have never seen the land”, Mingo added.
Defence attorney in the libel matter Christopher Ram told reporters following the conclusion of the continuation of the case yesterday that he had seen a statement issued by the PNCR in which Mingo has denied that piece of evidence given by Luncheon.
“I have since spoken with Mr. Mingo who confirmed that it was his statement and moreover that he was willing to come and testify in this matter”, he said. He later said that the defence will be calling the PNCR member as a witness in the matter. Luncheon had made the claim during cross-examination by Ram.
Asked what his reaction to the denial by Mingo was, Ram responded “enlightening!”
If the statement about Luncheon’s offer is confirmed it suggests that the HPS was integrally involved in contacting those who were to have lots at this controversial scheme. The government has not provided information on a range of questions asked in relation to this scheme.
The approach to Mingo, a senior PNC official, also raises the question as to why Mingo did not immediately reject the offer considering that the PNCR has been steadfastly critical of schemes like Pradoville 2 which were not transparently handled.
It also raised the questions of why the chairman of Region 10 who resides in Linden should be offered a lot in Georgetown and whether all regional chairmen were approached. The PNCR Chairman of Region Four Clement Corlette had blasted the Central Housing and Planning Authority over the lack of answers about the scheme and had written to it for answers to no avail.
Prior to Mingo’s statement, PNCR General Secretary Oscar Clarke had denied the claim by Luncheon.
During a brief telephone interview yesterday Clarke told Stabroek News that “I have spoken with Mingo and I am satisfied that Dr. Luncheon is at least a stranger to the truth”.
It would be politically embarrassing for the PNCR for any of its senior members to occupy a lot at Pradoville 2 as the party has strongly criticized the controversial scheme.
To date the government has not explained how the land was allocated for housing, how its allottees were chosen, the pricing of the lots and concerns about preferential services to the scheme.
Jagdeo has sued Kaieteur News, columnist Freddie Kissoon and Editor Adam Harris over a column authored by Kissoon which the President says painted him as a racist.