Eyewitness: Throwing stones…from (AFC) glasshouse

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

Your Eyewitness notes that the AFC – under its newly-installed leader Ramjattan – has called Transparency International (TI) to investigate the old allegations by VICE News that VP Jagdeo took bribes for facilitating foreign investment here. But “corruption buster” Ramjattan’s request reminded your Eyewitness that the selfsame TI’s local representatives (TIGI) had reason to accuse Ramjattan of committing the exact sin he’s now invoking to tar his bête noir Jagdeo?? Is it a question of a Freudian projection?

So, what is it your Eyewitness is talking about?? Let’s cast our memory back to Dec 2015, not long after Ramjattan’s AFC had helped the PNC get into office (and given themselves a 50% raise!!). Three years before Ramjattan had represented an Indian company, Fedders Lloyd, that was protesting the award of a contract to construct a Specialty Hospital to another Indian company, Surendra. That itself was a very messy affair and questions had been raised about the propriety of then Parliamentarian Ramjattan using his office to promote foreign investors!!

The end of the (sordid) story at that time in 2012 was that the contract for the Speciality Hospital had been cancelled and the money was to be used to upgrade some primary care hospitals. But lo and behold (!!) as soon as Ramjattan got back into office the Specialty Hospital reappeared on the APNU/AFC Government’s agenda!! A lot of eyebrows were raised even as mouths gaped at the resurrection!! Was this a coincidence? Or was Ramjattan still involved – now in a higher office as Vice President!?

Ramjattan stoutly denied any conflict of interest when Fedders Lloyd got the MoU – as a raging furore in civil society and analysts about where there’s smoke, there gotta be some fire!! And this is where TIGI got into the act. “TIGI has no reason to disbelieve the Vice President when he stated that there was no client relationship with Fedders Lloyd and that he acted in the public interest against what he considered an injustice. However, the fact that the continuation of the works on the Specialty Hospital was awarded to this company via an MoU without going back to tender and without legal support from the Procurement Act, raises the question as to whether the Vice President’s influence might not have been brought to bear in the decision to award the contract”!!!

What made matters worse was that the Government had awarded the reincarnated contract to Fedders Lloyd WITHOUT tender!! The Ministry of Finance said they’d approached Fedders Lloyd “in the interest of time,” and that they’d been involved originally!! So that excused breaking the law.
And RAMJATTAN DEFENDED THE DECISION!!! As TIGI commented, “It would have been better if he had not said anything further on the matter”!!

…at strugglers

Your Eyewitness couldn’t believe the callousness of some who snickered at the three unfortunate overseas Guyanese who perished in that fire in Richmond Hill. That four families shouldn’t have been living in that one house. Well, shouldn’t the question be turned as to why those four families were living in such conditions?? Doesn’t it mean that their lives there were better than what they’d experienced here?

And shouldn’t we who are in Guyana be asking why?? We read about hundreds of thousands trekking through Central America to get to the USA – or in boats to Florida – to live under even WORSE conditions than those Guyanese. Didn’t our people trek to the US, because our beautiful country was destroyed by the PNC under Burnham that practised racism and drove so many persons out?? Weren’t the kick-down-the-door bandits making life here so precarious.
At least that house was worth over US$700,000 and the neighbourhood’s very safe. Can we say the same for Guyana where there are beatings after every election?

…but sparing the culprit

Your Eyewitness notes the continued calls for renegotiation of the oil contract. But why’s the obvious route being ignored? Put the squeeze for Trotman to squeal in a Court?? Gotta be at least “undue influence”??