The gauntlet is thrown

Dear Editor,

The litany of accusations of corruption that continue to be hurled at the former PPP/C administration and even public servants who were merely doing technical jobs has not ceased, and has assumed new momentum as the coalition government attempts to deflect attention away from the downward spiral into which they have taken the economy.

The accusations, on nebulous grounds, of PPP/C leadership and affiliates has assumed new dimensions with the misuse of SOCU and the formation of SARU. The initial forays against members of the private sector by these two bodies were merely obfuscatory actions that were intended to divert attention.

After having assumed administrative office, the aggressiveness with which Dr Cheddi Jagan implemented policies for the elimination of poverty is well documented, nationally and globally.

Dr Bharrat Jagdeo’s role in this continuum of achievement is admired and well respected, even by some coalition supporters; and, I believe, envied by some who aspire to his reputation and capabilities for exemplary leadership. Dr Jagdeo, in my view, can best be described as the architect of modern Guyana.

The ministers in the PPP/C administration worked indefatigably, relentlessly, trying to reverse the severe downslide in every sector. Slowly, inexorably, the country was fulfilling its promise of a transformed and incrementally-appreciating developmental growth trajectory.  Dr Jagdeo was subsequently instrumental in creating synergies for access to loans, even without collateral, to build homes; and he had engineered the reduction of interest rates to manageable proportions.

Additionally, as more lands were opened up for housing projects, the scope of qualifying home-ownership aspirants widened, with Guyanese of all colours, classes, creeds, races, religions, with no differences being recognized or considered, benefiting from the PPP/C’s home-ownership initiative. The Housing Ministry’s records will attest to this fact.

Former President Jagdeo and PPP/C ministers also aspired to own homes in this land of their birth, for which they had worked hard and sacrificed much; and they are prepared to show the world how they afforded to acquire lots at the disputed Sparendaam Housing Project and build their own homes. We are refuting the accusations of all the anti-PPP/C protagonists that the Sparendaam lands were acquired under questionable circumstances that gave a distinctive advantage to then government functionaries.

Those who have authored articles and have spoken to the press appeared, unwittingly or not, to have ignored the fact that the Sparendaam housing development was consistent with the policies and practices of the PPP/C administration as it relates to housing development countrywide.

Secondly, the price paid for the Pradoville 2 lands were comparable to the market generated prices from a publicly advertised competitive bidding process for the sale of lands to private developers in close proximity right on the East Coast of Demerara.

The actions by the current government, which can justifiably be described as vindictive and petty, are because former President Bharrat Jagdeo opted to build his home, a right afforded every Guyanese citizen, in the Sparendaam Housing Development; so they have conjured up a plethora of accusations denouncing him for acquiring a home in this country, to which he gave decades of selfless and unstinting service.

We in the PPP/C have endlessly called on our accusers to show to the public figures and statistics, and their sources of information of all their allegations of fraud committed by the former administration; as well as to reveal where all these monies they claim were stolen by the PPP/C administration went.

Since this issue is one in a continuum of sensational national discussions I take this opportunity, through this missive, to publicly urge the convening of a public forum on corruption for stakeholders countrywide, where accusers and accused can debate the allegations of fraud and corruption against the PPP/C leadership; and where the accusers can – and should, present irrefutable evidence to validate their accusations, or admit that their accusations have no merit.

However, we are of the considered opinion that they will never rise to the challenge because their unfounded allegations are vented with a specific agenda, and that is to discredit the PPP/C leadership and to cast doubt in the public’s mind about the soundness of their character and commitment to working for the national welfare, as opposed to enriching themselves at the expense of the Guyanese taxpayers.

Until proven otherwise, we are convinced that this smear campaign against the PPP/C leadership, and the proclivity of the intellectual authors to fabricate and publicize sensational figures to capture headlines, as both ego-boosters and attention-grabbers, and this mastered art of creating fictional stories designed to denigrate and demonize opponents, are ploys to deflect public attention from their abject failure in all areas, their incompetence, ineptitude, and poor leadership and administrative skills, all of which characterize this current government, where the twin sins of arrogance and ignorance flourish.

So let us assemble accusers and accused, the voices of reason in the Guyanese society, and yes, any interested party, to settle this matter once and for all. The gauntlet is thrown.

Yours faithfully,

Juan Edghill

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