Political harassment, intimidation narrative (Part 2)

first_imgDear Editor,APNU/AFC claims that the East Coast Demerara lands were sold without due process and for prices far below the market value. What are the facts? First, one parcel was sold for $185 million to an investor that is presently completing construction of a modern cinema and mall in the front of Liliendaal, a project similar to one in TrinCity in Trinidad. This plot of land was previously offered for sale in a “fit and proper” tender. The person awarded the land in the public bidding offered the highest price of $150 million, but then failed to secure funding to finalize the deal. The Trinidad investors, answering Guyana’s call for foreign investors to invest in our economy, sought land to create a modern entertainment area. It was an attractive offer, and the PPP Government suggested various areas for this investment.The investors offered a price at least 15% higher than the price we had previously obtained through public bidding for the Liliendaal front lands. The irony is that, in a short while, leading members of APNU/AFC, maybe even the President, will be praising this investment as they commission this new facility, totally ignoring that they have also charged two decent men with misconduct; men who contributed to making the project a reality.The second parcel of land at the back of Liliendaal was sold for $150 million. The price paid by those investors is at a rate per acre paid by Giftland Mall. Giftland Mall was a good investment secured under the PPP and commissioned during this administration. Senior Cabinet persons attended the commissioning and lauded the investment. They were right in heaping praise on the Giftland owners and their vision. But why were Ashni and Brassington not charged for the sale of the land on which Giftland sits? If the sale of the other parcel located within a stone’s throw of Giftland represents misconduct because the Government did not charge more for it when the price was similar to the Giftland parcel, then certainly the sale of the Giftland parcel should also constitute misconduct.The third parcel of land, in Ruimveldt, was sold in accordance with the laws of Guyana. It was advertised for sale, and bidders were solicited during a two-month period. It was eventually sold to the highest bidder at about $598 million.How could this be misconduct? If APNU/AFC want to score political points by insisting they could have obtained better prices, then that is their right. But no political party has a right to twist the facts and then charge anyone with misconduct in office, even when the statutes do not even support these charges.If this is a new paradigm, where is SOCU, as APNU/AFC is guilty of gross misconduct on a daily basis? Guyana should have obtained at least US$250 million as a signing bonus for the oil contract.Comparison with other countries that have signed oil contracts in the last decade ranks Guyana’s signing bonus as the smallest, even though Guyana had the most attractive oil potential. In addition, the signing bonus of US$18 million was stashed away in a hidden bank account, and APNU/AFC admitted only when confronted with hard evidence. Who is being charged with misconduct?APNU/AFC allowed a contract to rent a house for $175 million annually. The house was bought for $25 million simultaneously as the contract was signed, and the person contracted was paid six months in advance. He then used part of the money to pay for the house. Who has been charged with misconduct?There is a case of a medicine procurement contract with a value of $605 million. There was no advertisement, no tender of any kind. An analysis of the medicine bought showed that the value at International Reference Prices amount to only $190 million. Who is being charged with misconduct?Every day in Guyana, laws are being flouted by this Government and its agencies with greater abandonment and more brazenness.There is the brazenness of the $1.5 billion Durban Park fiasco, where the accounts conveniently disappeared. They failed to meet trade requirements with America and lost the fish export market. The misconduct is not only in central government, but extends to their officers, such as REOs, lower down in Government architecture.The Georgetown City Council is imposing an illegal parking meter contract on the Guyanese people. The REO in Region Two arrogantly says his misconduct was due to excitement, and the REO of Region six bought a used, obsolete bulldozer for $15 million when they tendered for a new bulldozer. Misconduct in office has become the norm these days.Clearly, APNU/AFC has wrapped itself in a cloak of political intimidation and harassment. The reprehensible ‘misconduct in office’ charges against Ashni Singh and Brassington are only the latest example of intimidation and harassment.Sincerely,Dr Leslie Ramsammylast_img