Tony Vieira's Comments
18 October 2017

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Auditor General's Report 2002
(Aired 19 December 2003)

    In a commentary on the 14th September 2001 I described for the public the importance of the annual Auditor General's report, the first one I did was in respect of the year 1999, in prior discussions with AG Goolsarran he was as disappointed as I was that the media in Guyana paid little attention to the annual audits. That has now changed and the media now seem to understand that the annual audit gives us a record as to how our managers have been running our affairs.

   The executive in this country's run our affairs in such secrecy that their actions largely go unnoticed, we know that something is not right but we cannot quantify or verify it, since the parliament is a joke a place where there is no accountability, so it is only after the Auditor General's report is published almost two years after any action by a government functionary is made, do we see the consequences, in real terms, of that action.

    After criticising the government's performance, or lack of performance for three years publicly with no tangible result, we have to conclude that even the media is wasting its time trying to criticise this government and embarrass them into doing their jobs with transparency, accountability and competence.

    The usual excuse is that no matter how bad these audits show that the PPP is running the country, it is better than the PNC did, since they did not have any audits. Well I don't know which fool is expected to accept this explanation but I object to it in the most ferocious terms.

   Furthermore any political opposition who can go through the process of constitution reform and not insist on an equality of treatment provision being incorporated in the new constitution cannot rely on my support or the support their own constituents for that matter. If any afro Guyanese is given unequal treatment under the law, he has no recourse, so let me put this as plainly as I can, for the benefit of the PPP who have accused me of being a tele-spokesperson for the PNC.

    the PNC rigged elections and the PNC did not keep proper records of their performance in government, these are facts, what is also a fact is that the PNC did not deceive the public about what was going on, there was no big song and dance and no long winded speeches about the birth of a new democracy in 1992, there were no speeches about transparency, there were no speeches about lean and clean governance. There were no promises of inclusively but the PNC were far more likely to award contracts in a non racial manner than we see happening now, in fact if the PNC is to be blamed for anything, it is that in 28 years they did not enrich and empower their own people enough; Indo Guyanese were allowed to share in the national pie as much as any Afro Guyanese. Ask any contractor operating at the time if there was one Afro Guyanese firm that got all the contracts, controlled all the chicken, I was here and I saw it, anyone who did not, is blind.

   So the PNC were Riggers, yes! bad bookkeepers, yes! But they were not hypocrites.

   I therefore reject this nonsense that the PPP is better than the PNC because they publish the Auditor General's report whilst the PNC did not.

   Having decided to publish it, probably through pressure from the Carter Centre to tell us how transparent their government is; how is it possible that after 11 years in office the consolidated fund has not been balanced? This is the main bank account of the nation into which all monies are placed and from which all monies are withdrawn to do the nation's work. How is it possible that on almost every page of the AG's report we see signs of un-reconciled bank accounts, overdrawn defunct accounts, breaches of the law in not returning unspent balances to the consolidated fund at the end of the year, contract splitting to avoid the tendering process, re-allocating monies after Parliament has approved the national budget into areas which were not authorised, whilst not spending it in areas where it was authorised to be spent, these are all criminal acts which would attract jail time anywhere else, but not once has anyone been sanctioned for it; ladies and gentlemen which of you would employ a manager and when you discover that he has been breaking all of your company's rules of bookkeeping, to the extent that irregularities can escape undetected, would not call the police and fire him.

   There are only a few aspects of the 2002 Auditor General's report that I will point out for you here tonight, since 1998 the public debt has been static at 1.699 billion US dollars; despite every conceivable form of debt relief, HIPC aid and other grant aid the public debt in 2002 was 1.651 Billion US dollars, all of the debt relief we have gotten has not reduced the national debt at all, and what do we have to show for it? Do any of you see some improvement in your standard of life? The PPP are racking up more debts than the PNC ever did and I don't see where it is doing us any good. There is also no evidence that the HIPC money is getting to the really poor people in this country this money was for them specifically.

    I have told you repeatedly that this government is anti business, and that in the controversial World Bank report for 2002 it is plainly stated that the PPP government is not enabling private enterprise in this country and they have failed to provide a climate in which private enterprise can grow and flourish, and here is additional evidence from the AG's report; of the 3960 companies which are registered in this country 315 were deemed to be defunct in 2002, additionally one thousand eight hundred and seventeen companies were deemed to be inactive in 2002 as compared to 262 companies in 2001 and only around 400 filed returns. 

   When it comes to killing private entrepreneurs the PPP qualify as serial killers.

   Finally ladies and gentlemen; my fellow broadcasters may be interested to know that 30 million of the tax payers' money in this country of all races, was sub-vented to GTV during 2002, whilst the Brazilian embassy an embassy in a country which I perceive to be most important part of Guyana's future, had an accounting unit staffed by two persons, the Accountant was involved in (a) preparation of payment vouchers (b) writing up sub-accounts cash book and votes ledger (c) collecting revenue (d) effecting payments and (e) reconciling bank accounts.

    The other super person, the Accounts clerk, was required to perform duties as translator/bilingual secretary, receptionist and typist clerk.