Tony Vieira's Comments
18 October 2017


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(Aired 10 February 2002)

   Some people will never learn, I have stated over and over again that if you attack me unreasonably because of a commentary, I will crucify you.

   On the 21st January I did a commentary on GUYWA pointing out that bringing in expatriate managers to manage GUYWA will change nothing, since the system is badly designed and cannot serve the public effectively. On the 2nd of February 2002, I received a bill for water rates from GUYWA dated 14th January 2001. Ladies and gentlemen don't ask me how it took nearly seventeen days for this bill, the first one I have ever received from GUYWA, to go the ¼ mile distance from Pouderoyen to Versailles, like the water from GUYWA it just does not come well. Maybe we should do a commentary on the postal system. But after doing a comment on the stupidity of GUYWA and its boss Baksh I receive a padded bill a week later. Coincidence?

   This bill, the first I have ever seen from GUYWA, required me to pay one hundred and twenty two THOUSAND dollars, I handed it to my accountant Basdeo and asked him to go into GUYWA personally and ask them what the hell was going on. So GUYWA telling the public that I did not pay their bill is defamatory and I am thinking of teaching them a lesson in a court, we'll see about that, but I have paid this 122 thousand dollars. GUYWA spends 8 million dollars per year on stationary why can't they send a bill on time?

    Before I fix up Mr. Baksh who I was told insisted that an answer be published in the newspapers by GUYWA attacking me personally, let me address his GUYWA's claims.   

   Now ladies and gentlemen we are living in the tropics, so we have to bathe sometimes twice a day, almost all of us rural folk have kitchen gardens or plants in our yard, indeed we have been encouraged to do so by our successive governments, GUYWA telling us that they are using European standards to establish that we need 120 liters per day per person is patent nonsense. We are wasting water they tell us, since unlike the Europeans we bathe every day sometimes twice and we are watering our gardens and our ponds with this water they are giving us.

  This 120 liters per day per person maybe be appropriate for Europeans who live in skyscrapers, and condos and who do not have backyards and bathe once per month. But that is what GUYWA is using as the standard for Guyana. My 5-year son JO JO is still laughing.

   GUYWA tells us that elevated tanks are expensive to install but that electricity is costing them 60% of total operating costs, I thought that that was the point I was making i.e. we are installing cheap systems that we cannot afford to run because of the high and unreliable electrical costs. Ladies and gentlemen this sums up the entire farce of the Guyana situation today, we are building substandard, unworkable nonsense that does not last and is not sustainable and the people we are paying to do it for us, do not understand that this is poor management of our limited financial resources. Equally incredibly they even try to defend it. 

   And listen to this masterpiece of stupidity ladies and gentlemen, they tell us that if GUYWA puts in overhead tanks which will run 24 hours per day to the public they will be putting it into a distribution system that will be wasted because of leakage. Let me understand this Baksh, you are going to put an overhead tank directly to the consumer without a regulatory valve that allows you to shut down the flow to effect repairs etc? Are we also to understand that when you are pumping water at high pressure into the present distribution system it does not leak?  Can anyone suggest a word for this statement Ladies and gentlemen? My vocabulary fails to come up with one. That I can utter on Television.

   GUYWA tells us that in 1995 they prepared audited accounts for the first time in 30 years and submitted it to the subject Minister and that they have done so every year since then, I never said that GUYWA did not prepare audited accounts, I would not know if they did or not, I said that they broke the law since the document has not appeared in Parliament where it is statutorily required to be taken to discharge the requirements of the LAW.

  So as far as I am concerned GUYWA has not produced an audited account in 30 years, because IF it does not go to the Parliament it does NOT exist. Got it now Baksh?

   By the way Mr. Baksh since as the Minister of Water you have found it necessary to attack my credibility and integrity, were you not the General Manager of GUYOIL when a tanker with thousands of gallons of diesel oil in it sank whilst moored alongside a Georgetown wharf, which contrary to all norms of nature did not leave any trace in the Demerara River. Were you not the General Manager of GUYOIL when they were allowed to bid on the supply of fuel to GEC and Linmine thrice, contrary to our laws and was finally awarded the contract even though you were selling the oil at two or three United States dollars per barrel HIGHER than the Petrosol company who had the lowest bid, and is it not true that the extra cost was in the shipping of this oil, Which cost the consumers of GEC power several million US dollars extra until GP&L stopped it?

   Now if one were suspicious, one may very well suspect that there was a scam to defraud the people of this country several million US dollars by getting a kick back from the shippers of this oil. As far as my having the luxury of a swimming pool Mr. Baksh how many ministers who were in abject poverty in 1992 now have multi million dollar houses with 5 million dollar in ground swimming pools, property that they cannot possibly afford to buy in 7 years given their salaries?

   The price of the Pouderoyen installation being 6 or 9 million Euros still means that 1.1 billion dollars was spent on a system that does not work. I did make this one error ladies and gentlemen; it is the Demerara Harbor bridge renovations, which was 9 million Euros. But let me ask this question, because we don't have to pay it back, it gives us the right to waste it and not spend it wisely or allocate it to something else? Grant Aid is not infinite.

    Ladies and gentlemen sometime in 1980/81 Mr. Burnham personally called me, he was changing the regional system from the district commissioner type system to a democratic council system and since I was the administrative manager of Versailles he asked me to be a member of this regional council to help them to administrate the region. It was in its own way a compliment from Mr. Burnham recognizing my administrative skills and I accepted. Region number 3 made me chairman of 5 committees and member of 7 committees. It was more work than my estate business but not once was I ever accused of racial behavior or of fraud or corruption, in fact Komal Chand the top PPP representative of the council and the head of GAWU, will tell you that he and Fazil Rayman [The Regional Chairman at the time] and I used to meet at my house privately, to ensure that the pie was shared equitably, much to the chagrin of the PNC members of parliament people like Abel Felix and Conrad Wrights, The day Mr. Burnham died I resigned. I am not ashamed of those years Mr. Baksh, I tried to help, and I tried to give the PPP more say in what was going on in the region, and had several major battles with the PNC administration because of it. Unlike you people I practice what I preach, this region under the PPP is riddled with corruption today, Baksh, like everywhere else. 

    No one accused me of developing only Afro Guyanese areas and not Indo Guyanese areas Mr. Baksh and I was chairman of the Housing and Land selection Committees. I believe that you are now being accused of this lopsided type of development Baksh, it is public officials like you who cause civil wars.

  Finally ladies and gentlemen GUYWA says that I have neglected to cast any proper blame on GP&L. I thought that the main point I made was GUYWA's use of high powered pumps which were being systematically destroyed by the poor voltage and the high cost of electricity provided by GP&L and was the main problem with the GUYWA system in the West Demerara, since it relied so heavily on this expensive electricity rather than gravity from overhead tanks.

   However in view of this accusation made by GUYWA, I would like to offer my profoundest apologies to this nation for negotiating the ridiculous privatization deal of GEC, for my utter stupidity of making a management contract I cannot now pay, for raising the electrical costs beyond the reach of the common man or indeed GUYWA, for entering a contract with a company which has not had a significant effect on the quality or reliability of our electrical supply despite numerous price increases. For all of these transgressions, I humbly crave your forgiveness.