The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA) Major (rtd) Aubrey Heath-Retemyer has dismissed suggestions that the agency is being influenced by members of the government.
“We have never been influenced by anyone in this government. That is the honest truth but because we are located here [in the Ministry of the Presidency compound], the perception is whatever it is. So, we would like to move out,” Heath-Retemyer told Stabroek News, while assuring that the agency is sticking to its mandate, which is working to ensure that stolen state assets are recovered.
Opposition PPP/C MPs have publicly stated that SARA is being controlled by the government.
Noting that the agency comprises professionals, Heath-Retemyer told Stabroek News that “while we would like to work faster than we are going presently, we have to be mindful that we have to abide by the laws. And even though we would have a strong inclination… that we can recover monies or other property or patrimony one way or the other, the approach required by law is that we have to take a number of steps.”
He said that the nation has a right to expect that agencies such as SARA demonstrate proficiency and produce results in the shortest possible time. “These are legitimate expectations. But we are also constrained by the virtues of the law and the capacity to deliver in a certain manner,” he said.
Heath-Retemyer told this newspaper that in end what the agency would like to know is that Guyana would be better off as a result of its presence than it was before. “We do not see any other administration being allowed to be as negligent and as careless… that lawless, if the country adheres to what is now in place. I think this administration, to its credit, even though we can move faster, the things that are being put in place are for the first time bearing fruits,” he said, before adding that in another few years the country’s resources would be better accounted for.