Calling the D’Urban Park project a “monumental scandal and cover-up,” PPP/C member Gail Teixeira yesterday said that her party will continue to probe until all the outstanding questions are answered.
“This is all a web of deception that is going on and it is insulting to the Guyanese people… and disrespect to the Guyanese people,” she said during a press conference held at Freedom House, adding that information is coming out in snippets only because of the pressure the party has been applying.
“Again, the government and the old PNC philosophy of the less you know the better for the government, is playing out, as with all matters of public importance to the citizens of this country,” she said
She questioned why there were no budgetary allocations for this legacy project and later reminded reporters that it was only in the Supplementary Financial Paper No 1 of 2016 that $407 million were provided for works being done at the site since April 21, 2016 when the Ministry of Public Infrastructure took over the project.
Teixeira said vehicles carrying out works were noticed in September 2015 and the company – Homestretch Development Incorporated (HDI) – that was responsible for the execution of works was never registered until January this year.
Asked by Stabroek News if the PPP/C knew who was executing the project during those four months, Teixeira responded that the party was clueless hence the probing questions.
She reminded that earlier in the year the opposition made unsuccessful attempts to get answers in the National Assembly but has since had some success.
“We predict that we are on the tip of the iceberg and more will come to light. The APNU+AFC government must come clean and give full and public disclosure on the Jubilee Park Development project,” she stressed.
She said no one knew that the recreational park was in the making until January and there was a belief prior to this that it was City Hall cleaning up the area.
Meanwhile PPP MP Dharamkumar Seeraj who was also present said the party feels that there is a lot of secrecy surrounding the project and that a lot of contributions have been made.
He said it is felt that the company is covering up how much was actually received. He said there is no accountability and that the “President’s pronouncements on this matter are not going to make these questions go away.”
Granger last week rubbished the opposition’s accusations of a lack of transparency saying that HDI was a special purpose company that was set up to manage the preparation of the facility for the independence jubilee celebrations in the absence of a budgetary allocation and none of its directors received any compensation for their roles.
Seeraj added that the President himself getting involved by publicly commenting on the issue and not providing the answers was a “new beginning in this scandal.”
MP Joseph Hamilton said the government is contradicting itself with respect to its public comments on the project. He said the company has three “faceless” directors and the public needs to know their identities and where they are.
It has already been established that Larry London is a director and the PPP has identified Minister of Education Dr Rupert Roopnaraine as another.
Hamilton said the PPP/C knew that business persons have contributed sand and wood and that there are contractors who are owed large sums of money. “We want the government to say to us how much this project cost the Guyanese people.
The Guyanese people want to know and the President utilizing his political capital unnecessarily will not help the situation until and unless you bring the necessary information so that the Guyanese people are clear on the first phase of the project… where the money went, who collected the money and secondly the total cost of the project including all the sources of funding,” he said.