The PNCR yesterday said it will deal internally with the recent disclosure that its Region 10 Chairman Mortimer Mingo had accepted and had attempted to pay for a house lot at the controversial ‘Pradoville 2’ Scheme.
Responding to questions at an APNU news conference at the party’s Secretariat, PNCR executive member Lance Carberry said that the party has “well documented mechanisms” for dealing with such matters. “But I want to make it clear, Mr Mingo, like any other member of society, has a constitutional right to decide where he will, in fact purchase land,” Carberry said. He said though that questions could be asked as to whether Mingo’s exercise of political judgment was appropriate.
Pressed further on the issue, Carberry said: “the party has its own internal ways of dealing with these matters. And these matters will be dealt with, as they are dealt with; normally, confidentially and internally”. According to him, if there is a need for the party to make a public statement the party will do so. Carberry said he was unaware if Mingo submitted an additional statement to the PNCR explaining his position on the matter.
Mingo, the PNCR’s top official in Region 10, was brought into the fray after Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr Roger Luncheon had testified on the President’s behalf at the High Court on Wednesday that Mingo was one of several African Guyanese who had been offered house lots at Pradoville 2.
The housing scheme has attracted searing criticism from sections of the public including the PNCR over the lack of transparency and preferential services to it.
Following Luncheon’s testimony, Mingo issued a statement on Thursday which said: “Some time on or about August 2010 I received a telephone call from Dr Roger Luncheon, Head of the Presidential Secretariat, who informed me that the Government of Guyana was in the process of allocating house lots at Sparendaam, East Coast Demerara where the radio antennas were located, and that these plots of lands were being allocated to senior government functionaries and regional chairmen. He further said that I had been identified as one of the recipients for a house lot and that I would be contacted later as to how the allocation would be made.
“I immediately contacted my attorney-at-law on the offer that was made to me by the Head of Presidential Secretariat and he advised that I acknowledge the offer, and wait and see what and how they would proceed with the offer.
“Since then I have not heard from the Head of the Presidential Secretariat 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 received any lease, title or transport for that land from the Government of Guyana. In fact I have never seen the land.”
Mingo, however, did not say that his acknowledgement was in the form of a cheque dated September 3, 2010 and that he had later moved to have it dishonoured.
On Friday, Minister of Housing Irfaan Ali called a press conference to display the cheque which he said was payment for the land at Pradoville 2. The minister said that the cheque for $1.5 million was dishonoured by the bank and he produced the evidence to this effect.
The cheque, made out to the Central Housing and Planning Authority, was signed by Mingo but did not state what the money was for.