Corruption is a plague that must be resisted, rejected and condemned in every form and fashion, wherever and whenever it is identified. Last week, we learnt of the fiasco involving Integrated Security Services with the non-payment of its workers in some instances for two months, which was reported from the Berbice area.
My colleague, People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Member of Parliament (MP), Harry Gill is representing this cause. What is worrying is that officials of both central and regional government allegedly in defence of the contractor, instead of addressing the issue based on the merits of the claims raised by the workers, sought to obfuscate the issue by saying that I, Bishop Juan Edghill, am a shareholder/part owner of Integrated Security Services (ISS). This, obviously, was an attempt to have the guards drop their claims and to have MP Gill fade into the background.
Editor, I would like to state publicly for the record that I, Bishop Juan Edghill, am not a director or shareholder or part owner or in any way, form or fashion connected to ISS. My position on this matter is clear: if you employ persons and they deliver services, they must be paid. The guards must receive their full benefits for services from ISS.
Against this backdrop, I am not at all surprised or dismayed by the attempts by the PNC-led APNU+AFC government to hide their incompetence and nepotism by creating smokescreens. They are undoubtedly unashamed, brazen and boldfaced in the execution of their devious plans, even when large numbers of persons are affected. They ensure that their small elite group receives maximum benefits.
We know as a country that individuals and companies with known alliances to the political directorate are sole sourced and awarded contracts to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, annually. A simple case and point is the Sussex Street Drug Bond that was sole sourced to a known PNC financier/supporter.
Now we have this developing situation of a contract being awarded to someone with no experience in the procurement of drugs and medical supplies being awarded contracts for $1.4B for the procurement of medical supplies. That came on the heels of a lucrative fertilizer contract. This is the latest addition to the long list of persons without the requisite qualifications being either handed contracts or employed with super salaries, many of them being relatives or friends of some senior government functionary.
The list of irregular deals and transactions of this government, in just over two years, comprises too many to mention. So, in the interest of space, here are a few: D’Urban Park, where over $1.4B was expended and to date no documents are available for the Auditor General; the Ansa McAl $605M sole sourced contract for the GPHC; Guyanese have also witnessed the mishandling surrounding the new Demerara River crossing, which is not over yet. The unacceptable reconfiguration of the scope of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, which includes a reduction from eight air bridges to a mere two and yet the contracted sum remains the same; the lack of accountability and transparency at the Mayor & City Council as it relates to expenditures to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. This list is by no means exhaustive.
Guyanese, beware of wolves in sheep clothing. Is this the good governance and good life that you voted for?
Bishop Juan Edghill