Just 4 days before the
last election on March 15th
2001, our attorney General's chambers,
entered a contract with a company, New Global consultants Inc., for the amount
of nearly 43 million dollars, the contract was intended to bring this country's
law review books up to date, since the last review was done in 1977. This
review would have brought the legislation up to date as of 1997, and not 2001,
as any reasonable person would have expected.
Investigations by the
local media, and I don't think that any one specific media house can take the
credit for this, disclosed that New Global was a shell company in New York,
which was not recorded as a legitimate company by the new York city's business
data base, and indeed was not even listed in the New York telephone directory.
A visit to the address in New York, which appeared, on the contract this country signed
with this company at 126-03 Liberty Ave New York, disclosed that it was the private office, of a
Guyanese lawyer with known PPP connections.
After weeks of denials and
finger pointing, from almost all involved, including the IDB, since it was
alleged that the IDB was funding the project but that the tender procedures
were waived by the cabinet, the permanent secretary in the AG's chambers, Mr.
Ganga Persaud, who was the one taking all the heat in this clearly completely
irregular transaction, called a press conference and informed the public
through the media that he, Ganga Persaud, was instructed by the cabinet of this
country to sign these contracts.
The president of this
country finally issued a statement on the matter, sent PS Persaud home on paid
leave, and promised us on the 13th
July 2001 that an investigation will be
launched to answer the numerous questions, the Guyana media and indeed the
Guyanese people, were asking concerning this contract.
All of this is common
knowledge, so it is only my attempt to recap the events as they unfolded, as
background information to what I will address next.
This matter should have
ended there, i.e. there should have been the promised investigation, the public
should have been satisfied with the result of that investigation, and the
culprit/culprits identified and dealt with.
Sadly there has been no investigation
that we are aware of, PS Ganga remains interdicted from duty with full pay, but
in the mean time some strange developments have surfaced.
Dr. Luncheon has informed
us that he is waiting for Attorney General Doodnauth Singh to return from holiday
to start this investigation, but two days before proceeding on leave and at
least a month, after, the president instructed that an investigation be
mounted, the attorney General Doodnauth Singh stated publicly in the Stabroek
News that he had no knowledge of the matter.
Something is very wrong
here, ladies and gentlemen, the permanent Secretary Ganga Persaud told us that
he was instructed by the cabinet to enter into these contracts. Within days, he
was sent home, two months has now elapsed and there has been no investigation,
we are ostensibly waiting on the AG to initiate this investigation.
Why should we wait on AG
Doodnauth, I kept asking myself. This matter concerns two diametrically
opposite stories, one as outlined by PS Ganga Persaud blaming the Cabinet, and
one as outlined by President Jagdeo himself, on behalf of the cabinet.
Fellow Guyanese, how
would like to end up in a court as an aggrieved party with someone, only to
discover that the person at whom you are aggrieved, is the judge presiding over
and directing the matter in the court. This is exactly what is happening here.
Surely fair play and an
interest in the truth, not to mention respect for our citizens' intelligence, dictate
that an independent body, whose only interest is getting at the truth, rather
than obscuring it, investigates this matter.
If the cabinet in this
country, cannot see the wisdom of having this matter investigated by an
independent group of persons, then, we, the citizens of this country, can only
draw the most adverse inferences from the facts that are available to us,
especially since I am informed, from an impeccable source, that PS Persaud who
is supposed to be on paid leave, visits his desk at the AG's chambers
regularly, I believe that the phrase "once per week" has been used.
It is hardly a situation
likely to reassure the public, that what we have been promised, is happening.
Especially since questions have been raised regarding the relationship between
this New Global Company, which apparently does not exist, and our government.
For the benefit of those
who have been following this matter closely, The explanation we have been
given, that this same company, New Global, were retained by the ministry of
education in 1999 to prepare and print school books, in a contract worth over
one million US dollars, is hardly a legitimate reason for us to be doing
business with a company whose bone fides cannot be established. It, in fact,
only deepens the plot.
The citizens of this country
must understand that this is only one bad contract which has surfaced due to
the watchfulness of persons within the AG's chambers who find such situations
unacceptable, it is only be the tip of the iceberg.