There was a sign on the desk of President Harry Truman which says “The buck stops here”. A poor country like Guyana cannot afford a Pageantry President, who exhibits a silent meanness to the majority of the poor and the working class, while remaining clueless on the core developmental needs of the nation. Any keen listener to the stage-managed programme called “THE PUBLIC INTEREST” can hear all the right words, but when you reflect on those words and the reality in action, the President is found severely wanting. Almost to the point of being deemed grossly incompetent.
A fit and proper President would have acted swiftly on the fact that 92 per cent of the medical supplies procured under his watch were done using the non-competitive and non-transparent system, called sole sourcing. What is surprising is that these unethical and crooked arrangements have expanded under this Granger presidency when compared to the Ramotar presidency. How can this be when in the 2015 campaign, he personally presented himself as the anti-corruption candidate? But as we are observing today, the proof is in the eating of the pudding. When the people expected justice from Granger, there is none to be had. This continued expression of feigned ignorance to the reality of the system has led many to ask why this duplicity? Who really is in charge?
These non-competitive and non-transparent methods used to procure medical supplies have placed public funds into the pockets of a few companies in a very inequitable manner. In one case, after a few weeks of securing one of these fuzzy deals from the PNC-led Granger Administration that was valued at some G$605 million, a G$20 million gift was “kicked-forward” to fulfil a “small days” fetish of a pageantry presidency. Doesn’t this smell like a bribe? This is nothing but old school “influence buying” similar to what the mafia did with the politicians of Chicago back in the days.
But what is an even more important development is that precedence has been set. The “brown paper bag” culture is alive and kicking under this Granger presidency. Those who want to get ahead on contracts and deals just have to deliver some arches, statues, and parade grounds and garnish these entrées with the “brown paper bags”.
When these things happen, the majority loses and only a handful of people win. It is as if the presidency is on sale. Case in point, some 64 per cent of the budgetary allocation in the 2017 Budget for the procurement of medical supplies has already been spent. However, more often than not, the poor people who have to visit the State medical facilities cannot even get aspirins. What are they really buying with this money – Viagra, and Cialis?
It is no secret that the key operatives in the local operations of that company (with the G$605 million deal) are close friends of the Granger Administration and even closer to the AFC leadership to the point that the Government-owned Kingston Hotel is under the control of one of these players. Thus, the preferential generosity! I have condemned such behaviour in the past from the friend and family crew under the Ramotar Government and it would be remiss of me not to oppose and expose such unethical and immoral attitudes from this now discredited Granger Administration and their friend and family crew.
Sole sourcing and selective tendering is the preferred way to bequeath contracts to favoured companies. These people in the Public Health Ministry with full support from the key players in the Finance Ministry are behaving as if their father has a legal transport on the Treasury and they have a right to advance these corrupt ways. Who suffers from all this crookedness? THE POOR AND THE WORKING CLASS!
One just has to read the report of the Auditor General to understand what is at stake here. But even with the Procurement Commission now established, it is scary how stony silent Ms Carol Corbin remains on this G$605 million deal. There are many Guyanese companies that can offer better quality medical supplies at lower prices in a more timely manner to the public hospitals. But as we all know, when there are arches to build and more pockets to fill, we must not expect the corrupt players in the Granger Administration to worry about the needs of the poor. Fool me once and the joke is on you! Fool me twice and the joke is on me! The poor and the working class will not be fooled twice in 2020.