Tony Vieira's Comments
18 October 2017

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Jagdeo's Real Pensions
(Aired 14 November 2011)

   Guyanese are discussing   president Jagdeo's pension, it has become a huge talking point in the nation as to what and how much his pension will cost us but people are only concentrating on the actual amount, not enough emphasis is being placed on the ancillary entitlements of his package which will total a very considerable amount of money for example, presidential guards will guard him until he dies not ordinary police, as was the custom in the past, we don't know how many presidential guards will be required and how much this will cost, and this will go on for as long as he lives, domestic and other servants will be paid for by the state, first class trips twice a year for him and his family will be paid for by the people, his upkeep will include chauffeur including duty free vehicles and he will not be required to pay taxes ever, etc this is important in view of what I intend to disclose tonight, but this retirement package for this man who is still very young, will be enormous and ruinous over time to this poor nation, since the cost of the benefits will increase as time passes and the presidential Guards, the servants, the gardners and chauffeur will all get more expensive as the cost of living increases and their salaries adjusted upward, all of these privileges have to be paid for with your taxes, but for what? This man is only a legend in his own mind, this man's presidency has been the biggest disaster in the history of this country, under his stewardship crime especially narco trafficking has been allowed to escalate completely out of control taking hold even at the most senior levels of his administration, no one even tries to deny that Roger Khan was seen coming out of his office according to the Wikileaks cables from our own US embassy and reported in the newspapers on the .......xxxx.

   The economy over the last 10 years of his stewardship 200-2010 has seen a growth rate of only 1.98% of GDP when it was hovering around 5% before he took office, racial division has increased aided and abetted by his acolytes who are now well known and vilified in the media as they ought to be.  The Council On Hemispheric Affairs [COHA] in the Stabroek news of January 27th 2011 tells us that Jagdeo leaves a tattered legacy of stagnation, violence, corruption, arch-sectarianism and unfettered crime, they also tells us that  the Jagdeo heritage has failed to advance the freedom and fairness to include the afro Guyanese without which the country will never advance. 

But  tonight I want to look at one of Mr. Jagdeo's real pensions.

 

In December 1999 pursuant to the Government of Guyana's Privatization Policy, the Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation Ltd. [GPC] was privatized and the present company, the new GPC, was formed. The chairman of the company was a person called Ranjisingh [Bobby] Ramroop. GPC is a private company incorporated under the Companies Act 1991 and which, by virtue of its privatization by Ramroop acquired, inter alia, all the assets including propriety rights to intellectual property for example limacol, of Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation Ltd.  It is alleged by the opposition that the amount agreed upon has not been fully paid to date, a down payment was made but apparently the full amount agreed to has not been made as yet, I cannot verify this since NICIL does not confide in me. But in view of what I will tell you tonight I have no doubt that Ramroop did not have the money to buy this complex and that the sale to him was in my opinion the first step in a plot to give Mr. Jagdeo his real pension, but you decide.

    After buying GPC Ramroop then created a company called Queens Atlantic II, According to Dr. Luncheon's sworn testimony in the Jagdeo/Kissoon trial as reported in the Kaiteur news on October 4th 2011 he said that "NICIL ‘approached' Jagdeo's best friend to acquire the Sanata complex.  Dr. Luncheon also under oath said that he was not aware of any other tenders, so this was a sweetheart deal between the President and his best friend Bobby Ramroop which violated all of our laws regarding privatisation, competitive bidding etc. The story gets complicated from this point and cannot be exposed in all its glory in view of the time I am allocated to do this commentary, but after acquiring the Sanata complex in 2007 through at first a lease arrangement with the government and then applying to buy it all 18.8 acres of it with all buildings etc thereon, for an undisclosed amount since even Dr. Luncheon he does not know how much was paid for it but the government [guess who] granted tax holidays to Queens Atlantic II to conduct its affairs, Mr Yesu Persaud brought this matter at an open forum at which jagdeo was present and Jagdeo in one of his now famous tirades cussed out Persaud and told him that he does not know what he is talking about, but in the end Yesu Persaud was right, so the government had to move to the parliament to change the law to allow these tax free concessions to this one company.    

    So whatever the business that this QA II was involved in, it did not have to pay any corporate taxes for a period of time numbering several years.

   Then it surfaced, when I was in Parliament in the Public Accounts Committee, that the auditor general reported in the section dealing with the Ministry of Health, that the government was buying all of their drugs from the New Guyana Pharmaceutical Corp. and that the company in violation of all of our laws of public tendering was not subject to the process of competitive bidding to supply these drugs annually amounting to several million US dollars a year.     

    Mr. Winston Murray and I questioned this anomaly and it turned out that the Ministry of Health had a letter from Cabinet instructing them to buy everything for all the government health facilities, including the Georgetown and New Amsterdam hospitals from the new GPC. There is also credible evidence that GPC did not have to find the money to buy these drugs, and other medical paraphernalia such as injection needles, saline water, saline bags, in other words everything which the clinics and hospitals require nationwide even cotton swabs; against all norms GPC were apparently not required to supply them and then be paid when they actually supply the items as is normal in these transactions, but were given the money in advance of every purchase to acquire them. When asked about this i.e. Why not buy it yourself if you are going to give all of the money up front to GPC, the lame excuse we got from the ministry of Health was that they did not have the space to store all of this material. So whatever price GPC wanted to sell these drugs etc to the government for, was written on a blank check which they reportedly got in advance. But this was not enough skulduggery for Jagdeo.

This company was then allowed to expand and they formed 5 subsidiary companies between 2007 and 2008 the first company they formed was called Health Care Life Sciences Inc. under what is described as an ‘investment agreement' was permission to import all items duty free and was signed on 1st August 2007 i.e. Emancipation day it was a public holiday but Ashni Singh was working, this company received the following duty free concessions all authorised by Ashni Singh and received by Bobby Ramroop....... This video show the items for this Health Care Life sciences Inc which, came in duty free the list includes, enclosed mini van, 4 forklifts, double cab pickup, 500 KV generator, electrical switches and panels, even gutter brackets, toilets, washbowls and other items too numerous to mention separately..... 

I can't even begin to guess what the revenue waived from all of this duty free nonsense would cost.

    On the same date 1st August 2007 i.e. the same Emancipation day, the following duty free items were awarded to a second company initiated by Ramroop called Health International Inc. which formed part of Queens Atlantic II group also signed by Ashni Singh ....this list includes one truck, one enclosed mini van, one canter, 10,000 sq. ft. of industrial type aluminium, a power washer, another 500 KW generator and this list is long as you can see it contains 89 items but many of the items contained multiple amounts of the same thing eg item number 24 is for 50 fifty rolls,  repeat 50 rolls of 1x2.5 mm single core cable- red; of course there are also similar amounts of black, green and yellow cable on this order as well....  

     The next three companies formed by QAII this time labelled as "Supplementary Investment Agreement" were all dated February 1st 2008 so we don't know which came first but I will start with a company under QAII which was called Printing and Graphics Inc. as I said it was dated 1st February 2008 and included duty free 31 pallets of a complete printing press i.e. the press was ultimately  used to print the Guyana Times newspaper, and in the preamble to this duty free gift from the people of Guyana were the following words quote "that the printing press will as its principal objective produce high quality print and graphics materials for the local and export markets" end quote ladies and gentlemen they were buying a printing press to put another government controlled newspaper on the market and had the effrontery to describe it as contributing to the development of the Guyanese economy! Nowhere in the application to customs to get a duty free printing press did they say that it was for that purpose.

    The fourth company granted this blanket duty free status created by QAII and Ramroop was Global Hardware Inc.  signed on the same day February 01 2008 by Ashni Singh and Ramroop  and gave duty free concessions for the items shown here,  it contains roofing materials, hundreds of flashings, hundreds of valleys, thousands of screws, vents and vent capping etc. i.e. the complete necessities to recondition a massive roof or roofs now remember that Luncheon said under oath that he is not aware of what amount of money this complex and the buildings were sold for to Ramroop, and that there was no competitive bidding during any of these shenanigans.  

   The fifth company established by Ramroop which obtained unlimited duty free privileges and were signed to by Ashni Singh on the same day i.e. 1st February 2008 was called  Global Textile [Guyana] Inc. and the duty free list contains within its massive concessions  9 air conditioners ranging from 12,000 to 30,000 BTU hundreds of mouldings, 46 complete toilet bowls with s traps, 22 vanity tops with basins, white receptacle plates both duplex and single I don't know what these are for but they bought over 1600 of these plates, 288 telephone wall jack plates, 400 white on / off switches, paint rollers, paint brushes, 10 six piece bathroom sets chrome, and the list goes on as you can see even doors came in here duty free for whatever it was that Ramroopp was doing there at Ruimveldt, and as you will no doubt understand these companies all five were granted duty free and tax holiday privileges so what I am showing you here is just the tip of the iceberg, since everything that these people have to obtain they bring it in duty free and we don't have all of the duty free concessions granted to them; so inevitably there are many other lists perhaps even more comprehensive since they are manufacturing highly sophisticated drugs there now.

From day one there were gross inconsistencies and irregularities perpetrated by this company which appeared at all times to be operating above the law, for example the following appeared in the Kaiteur news on 12th May 2008, The Guyana Times, Health Life Sciences Inc, Health Care International, Global Textile (Guyana) Inc, Global Printing and Graphics and Global Hardware Inc., are all companies that currently do not legally exist. They are among 161 companies that have defaulted.  This information was published in the Official Gazette of September 18, last. All of the named companies that were struck off of the register of companies fall under the Queens Atlantic Investments Incorporated (QAII) which acquired the Sanata Textiles Complex in 2008.

The issue of these new companies and all of the tax privileges they were getting attracted the involvement of the National Assembly. To justify the tax concessions granted to them, the government was forced to move to the National Assembly with a Bill to legitimise all of this. The Memorandum of Understanding that allowed for the acquisition of the Sanata Complex was signed between Dr Ranjisinghi "Bobby" Ramroop, the Chairman of QAII, and Geoffrey Da Silva, Chief Executive Officer for the Guyana Office for Investment in March 2008.

The company was allowed several hundred millions in tax breaks and concessions which were all found to be illegal and the laws were subsequently amended to correct the situation.  The Kaieteur news reports the situation this way quote "The company was allowed several hundred millions in tax breaks and concessions which were all found to be illegal and the laws were subsequently amended to correct the situation. Included in Financial Paper No. 5/2009 for $1.449 billion were amounts totalling $473 million for purchases of drugs mainly from the New Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation towards which this government had earlier found itself acting illegally" end quote.

   So all of the information we have point to the fact that someone was handing out gifts from this government which had the sole purpose of creating a billion dollar  corporate giant in less than 5 years, and since laws were changed, broken, bent, moulded and flushed down the 200 odd toilets this company bought, anyone with one functioning brain cell would immediately know who the real owner of QAII is; the question we have to ask is how the PPP cabinet allowed this man Jagdeo to do this, knowing that it was wrong, and that it was Jagdeo who was setting himself up for generations to come, but they did not say a word to anyone; one can only conclude that the main reason they did not say anything was that they were either afraid or they themselves were thieving and they could not expose him. So this is Jagdeo's real pension the silent owner of QAII which makes him a billionaire at the expense of the poor Guyanese taxpayers.