Public procurement body first, then anti-money laundering law

Dear Editor,

It is in the best interest of the PPP to allow the Public Procurement Commission (PPC) to be established the way it was designed by this said PPP Government;  in law.  Failure to do so shall continue to render great harm to Guyana’s financial system.  No opposition party worth their salt will give away everything for nothing; that is political “hara kiri.” That is why any mature Government and some of their friends in the leadership of the private sector should know better than to demand the passage of the Money Laundering Bill without offering the PPC in exchange.  Can the AFC and APNU afford to lose that 52 percent majority with an opportunity to grow 52 percent to 60 per cent or more?  How would the people judge the majority opposition when whatever the PPP demands they give it and everything the opposition wants the PPP stuff it down the toilet?  That is an unequal relationship and can be seen as the minority bullying the majority.

If there was ever a time that the majority opposition should use their power it is now.  It is time to put Guyana first and let us get everything that is good for the people.  A fully functional PPC first, since it is 10 years overdue and then the Money Laundering Law.

The PPP Government passed laws that will bring independence and transparency to our very murky procurement system in Guyana in deference to the IMF when they wanted debt write-offs, but quite cunningly refuses to implement those laws.  This is the true nature of the PPP.  Guyana will save billions of dollars in putting the crooked deals done under the Jagdeo / Ramotar cabal under the microscope but the Pradoville crew will have none of it.  So why should the majority opposition entertain them again on the Money Laundering Bill?

It was the Governor of one of the US States, Lincoln Chafee who said “trust is built with political consistency”.  The people can only trust politicians who are consistent in their actions.  Both Brigadier David Granger and Mr. Khemraj Ramjattan have expressed public opinions on this Money Laundering Bill and the need for a functional PPC, and hence, there is no need to divert from a promise you have made to the people regardless of what the PPP and their soul mates in the private sector think.

Hold the line and give a voice to the voiceless in Guyana.

Where are the voices of these private sector entities when the poor people of Guyana continue to suffer from all the abusive and crooked deals conducted under the PPP?  Where are the voices of this private sector when the nation was saddled with a mal-investment of $47 billion at Skeldon Sugar Factory when the truth remains that the old sugar factory (at no incremental cost) was producing more sugar than this new Chinese factory?  Where are the voices of this private sector when the PPP squandered over $11 billion on the Kingston-Marriott Hotel which the taxpayers never authorized?  Where are the voices of this private sector when the PPP Government under-spent on job creation projects including industrial estates across the country in exchange for billion-dollar deals with their friends. Where are the voices of this private sector when the people continued to be fleeced of hundreds of millions in tolls to cross the Berbice River when the real cost is a fraction of that $2,200 per crossing with all this profit going to the friends of the Jagdeo/Ramotar cabal?   This situation exposes the duplicitous characters in the leadership in some of the private sector organizations.

That is why in the eyes of the masses, they continue to lose credibility and they are more marginalized more than any other Private Sector Commission in the history of that organisation’s existence.  Gone are the days when we had private sector players who cared about the nation, like Dr. Yesu Persaud.

If the APNU and AFC misread the sentiments of the people on the ground and let the PPP have its own way on this Money Laundering Bill without the establishment of the Public Procurement Commission, they will pay a heavy price at the up-coming elections and the few dozen private sector commission operatives cannot help them and will have no one to blame but themselves.  The people are not with the PPP; the PPP’s private polls confirm this reality.

A principled position on this Money Laundering Bill has nothing to do with being anti-national, this has everything to do with cleaning up the some $15 billion in graft and corruption that continues to feed the PPP machinery every year. The people will be very unkind to any political force that is seen to be rewarding the corruption vehicle driven by the PPP. Perception is reality in politics and unfortunately the AFC learnt that lesson the hard way and paid a heavy price over the public perceptions around how they voted on the Amaila Falls Project; a waterfall that has been proven to be one “dry-up” waterfall.

I appeal to Mr. Granger and Mr. Ramjattan, this is the time to lead the political debate and drive public policy for the people and by the people.  Anything else is more of the PPP and can Guyana afford to have more of the PPP especially in a local Government system that has all but collapsed under the PPP mis-rule?

Yours faithfully,
Sasenarine Singh

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