Tony Vieira's Comments
22 October 2017

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Law review contract
(Aired 15 September 2001)

    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.