April 27, 2017

Archives for March 2017

Govt optimistic Crab Island onshore base will create jobs for Berbicians

President David Granger meeting with ExxonMobil executives at State House on Wednesday

President David Granger meeting with ExxonMobil
executives at State House on Wednesday

Government is optimistic that a US$500 million onshore facility at Crab Island, Corentyne, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) will in effect create job opportunities for residents of the Ancient County.

Government announced on Wednesday that it would be investing the US$500 million in the construction of an onshore oil and gas facility at Crab Island, which would cater for the expansion of exploration and subsequent production of oil in Guyana.

Construction on the facility, which will serve as a logistics and supply base to the offshore production, should get underway during the course of this year.

The Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission has been advertising leasehold lands close to the Island.

The facility is expected to create some 600 jobs, which could bring significant relief to residents of Berbice who continue to complain about lack of employment.

According to the Government Information Agency (GINA), the supply base could consist of sections including maintenance, fabrication, warehousing, spares, housing, and spares handling.

Technical skills such as welding would also be in demand during and after construction.

Last year, Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman had said that jobs which would be created through the establishment of the onshore supply base facility would enable and enhance the labour force.

Explaining why Crab Island was selected as the site for the onshore base, Trotman said that the current traffic congestion along Water Street, Georgetown makes that location unsuitable. However, the wharves along Water Street will be used for the first phase of the Liza development.

Earlier this month, oil giant ExxonMobil advertised for onshore service providers. John Fernandes Limited (JFL) and Muneshwers Limited were among the shortlisted companies. These companies have port facilities along Water Street.

However, Minister Trotman pointed out, “Everyone is thinking in terms of Exxon’s operations only, but suffice to say we can’t find ourselves thinking of one discovery and one company.”

ExxonMobil and its partners struck black gold when significant hydrocarbon reserves were found in the Liza Field. The oil find was officially declared to be of commercial quantity last year. The company has presented to the Government and stakeholders its development plans for the Liza field with the year 2020 projected for oil production.

Additionally, there are several other companies that were issued licences to explore Guyana’s deep waters. Those companies include Repsol, Tullow Oil, CGX, JHI, Eco Atlantic and Ratio Oil.

“Some point in time, all will be looking to reengage and so the idea is to find an available piece of land or property which can accommodate all the operations,” Minister Trotman pointed out.

Meanwhile, President David Granger on Wednesday gave Government‘s commitment to ExxonMobil, when he met with the oil company’s executives at State House. The Head of State said the Administration was committed to the development of Guyana’s oil and gas sector in an atmosphere of transparency and trust so that the parliamentary Opposition and the people of Guyana were fully involved in the process.

The President met with the executives to discuss matters related to the status of exploratory and appraisal work in the Stabroek Block. He said it was important that there are regular and accurate announcements on matters pertaining to the development of the sector.

ECD estates closure: Cane fertilising stopped by GuySuCo

A number of the aggrieved workers who visited GAWU on Wednesday

A number of the aggrieved workers who visited GAWU on Wednesday

The signs are becoming even clearer each day for the workers of the Enmore and LBI Estates of the closure of those East Coast Demerara (ECD) facilities. Back in 2016, the Enmore and LBI estates were combined into the East Demerara Estate in an effort to save both facilities.

On Wednesday morning, the workers of the estate responsible for applying fertiliser to the canes informed the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) that they were ordered to halt such proceedings.

The workers engaged the Union’s General Secretary Seepaul Narine and revealed that they were informed by Estate Management that they were no longer required to apply fertiliser.

However, the female workers were told by management that they were still required to weed and the males to harvest the canes.

This, according to the workers, is adding weight to reports of the closure of the estates to which they strongly oppose.

The workers continue to voice their dissatisfaction, noting that they would be unable to find jobs should the decision be fully pursued.

Early last week, GAWU met with 40 workers attached to the estates after they were informed that GuySuCo’s Management had instructed the workers, those responsible for planting cane that their services for such would no longer be needed.

However, they were told that the cane cutting procedure would be continued. As such, the workers began calling for their severance pay as their services were no longer needed.

According to GAWU, even though the announcement was not made, the ending of cane planting activities is a clear indication that GuySuCo is gearing to close down its operations at the estate.

“The decision by the Corporation to end cane planting is testimony that the Estate is being geared for closure,” GAWU contends. “Interestingly, so far, no official announcement to that end has been made, either by the Government or by the GuySuCo, yet the Corporation is implementing steps indicating the estate’s closure,” GAWU had said after meeting with the workers.

This revelation, according to GAWU contradicts the words of the Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo that “sugar will not die”.

The Union had informed that it learned through a meeting with GuySuCo that plans to end cane planting at the East Demerara Estate and at the Rose Hall Estate in East Berbice were afoot.

Early in this Month, this newspaper was informed by workers of the Enmore Estate – who took to the streets in protest – that they were given letters from the Agriculture Ministry which stated that the East Demerara Estate would stop proceedings after the 2017 crop harvest.

GAWU noted that the East Demerara Estate employs some 2200 employees in the field, factory, security, administrative and managerial sections.

All will be unemployed if the estate is to be closed.

 

Carifesta XIII launched in Barbados

It was yet another colourful display when the Government of Barbados launched Carifesta XIII on Monday, with a live broadcast of the occasion.

The event was held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre in Bridgetown, Barbados. Barbados has set aside Bds$6 million for the hosting of the regional cultural arts festival later this year, August 17-27. Some 3000 artistes are expected to attend Carifesta from 15 countries, while interest had been generated in the United States, Canada, Brazil and Cuba.

The Carifesta Secretariat has already been established, with a logo and jingle created, while the website had gone live, CMC reported.

Under the theme, “Asserting Our Culture, Celebrating Ourselves”, Barbados is hoping to host the best Carifesta yet. In addition to the Grand Market, there will be a number of entertainment events at various venues across the island “where the extensive talent of this region will be showcased”, the Barbados Culture, Sports and Youth Ministry was quoted in local media as earlier saying.

According to the Ministry, plans are being made for two super concerts, three signal events and nightly performances from the various country delegations.

Many of the venues, including some schools, are currently at various stages of refurbishment in preparation for the festival, last hosted in Barbados in 1981.

Barbados Culture Minister Stephen Lashley is urging local businesses to use the Festival as an opportunity to showcase their services and their goods to the world.

“I hope you’ve thought a lot about the creative sector. There are many opportunities, within the Carifesta experience…I want you to factor in how business and entrepreneurs will respond to the opportunity of Carifesta,” Lashley recently said.

“This event is not just another Carifesta, it focuses on the empowerment of men and women through the creation of business ideas that can be transformed into products and services the rest of the world wants,” the Culture Minister noted.

 

‘What apology’!

AG Williams continues to shift blame for ‘outburst’ in Court

basilAlthough Justice Franklin Holder has called on Attorney General Basil Williams to apologise for his outbursts in court, the State’s chief legal adviser has expressed an unwillingness to do so.

“What? I don’t know about apology,” Williams declared on Wednesday during a brief press conference when prompted by reporters on whether he would heed the Judge’s desires and issue an apology.

Justice Holder had written to the acting Chancellor of the Judiciary, Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards complaining of the behaviour of the Attorney General during the hearing of a prominent court matter involving trade unionist Carvil Duncan.

But Williams maintained his innocence as he continued to cast blame on his predecessor, Anil Nandlall for causing Justice Holder to abruptly walk out the courtroom – even though the Judge has since clarified that the issue stemmed from the Attorney General’s “egregious” and “disrespectful” behaviour during the court proceedings.

“Nandlall was the one who caused the problem…we can’t allow Nandlall to create this problem and leave it unresolved. The Judge and I will resolve this issue,” Williams stated, in contradiction to the Judge’s explanation, which was published in snippets in the State-owned newspaper.

In fact, the Attorney General even defended his actions and his statements.

“Everything I dealt with in that short time was to disabuse the learned Judge’s mind that his interpretation was not (so),” he stated.

Williams believed that the Judge fell prey to “transferred frustration” as a result of Nandlall’s “barracking” of nearly three hours.

“Perhaps his detaining the learned Judge again as he was preparing to leave the bench, seeking clarity on whether the witness’s answer of ‘no’ was recorded, induced certain misapprehensions in the Judge’s mind in all the circumstances and the Attorney General became the victim of transferred frustration,” Williams said in a statement circulated during the media engagement.

But according to articles published in the State newspaper, Justice Holder, in a letter dated March 24, 2017 to Justice Cummings-Edwards, said he “took umbrage to his (Williams’) tone and what he was insinuating, which was in effect that the court was being selective in recording the evidence”.

The Judge said Williams responded by saying that the last person who told him what he should not say was a magistrate and he was now dead. “He further said all morning Mr Nandlall disrespecting you and you have not done anything about it,” Holder wrote, adding that he told Williams that this was not a true statement of what had occurred.

“This was followed by a most egregious statement by Mr Williams, which is: “I could say what I want to say and when I want to say it; I have always been like that.” At this point, Justice Holder said he left the bench without adjourning the matter. “Immediately after hearing these words, I rose from the bench and went into my chambers. I did not adjourn the matter, nor did I give any instructions to the parties,” Justice Holder outlined.

In the letter, he also expressed that the Attorney General should apologise to him in an open court. Nonetheless, Williams said he was prepared to work with the Judge to resolve the issue. In fact, the Attorney General said he would be responding to the complaint in writing.

Nandlall – who was Duncan’s lawyer during the court proceeding – had interpreted Williams’ statements as a death threat against the Judge and condemned the Minister’s actions.

But, during a press conference Friday last, Williams threatened to file legal action against news outlets that reported on the allegations of him issuing death threats.

Meanwhile, the Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has called on the Guyana Police Force (GPF) to launch an investigation into the allegations.

Despite the Attorney General’s pleas of innocence, the PPP insists the matter warrants an extensive probe as it believes the threats should not be viewed in isolation, but in conjunction with other incidents where the Government has attempted to subvert independent offices.

Fisherman busted with ganja on bed

City Magistrate Judy Latchman remanded to prison a 50-year-old resident of Oronoque Street, Georgetown, when he appeared to answer to two charges of narcotics possession.

It is alleged that Mark Stephens on March 24, 2017, at Da Silva Street, Kitty, Georgetown, had in his possession six grams of cannabis plus an additional 70 grams of the drug for the purpose of trafficking.

The fisherman denied the charges.

When asked why Stephens was charged separately with regard to the offences, the prosecution related to the court that the man had initially admitted to ownership of the six grams while denying any knowledge of the second parcel of cannabis. The court heard that on the day of Stephens’ arrest, he was sleeping on a bed in a Kitty house when Police Officers searched the premises and unearthed the substance on the said bed.

Stephens’ Attorney contended that the substance was found in a general area, which his client had no control over, as he was a mere occupant of the premises at the time of the raid.

Bail was granted in the sum of G$60,000 for the first charge (six grams), but the defendant was remanded for the second charge.

The matter continues on April 10 at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.

Former Secretary General to UNESCO, Carmen Jarvis dies

Guyana’s former UNESCO Secretary General, Carmen Jarvis, 91, died on Wednesday evening in the United States.

Following is a statement issued by her daughter.

Carmen Jarvis presenting a copy of her autobiography to President David Granger in October

Carmen Jarvis presenting a copy of her autobiography to President David Granger in October

It is with the deepest sadness and a full heart that Alison and I announce that our dear mother Carmen Enid Peterkin Jarvis, made her transition early last evening in Atlanta, GA. She passed peacefully in her sleep. My mother was a phenomenal woman – a tower of love and strength to her immediate and extended family and a shining example of godly womanhood. She shared herself and her God-given gifts freely with others and with her community and always exhorted others to aim for excellence in everything they undertook. As a result she leaves behind an inimitable legacy of achievement in many areas, including education, international development, Girl Guiding, civic and charitable involvement and two books. I am so happy that I was able to take her home to Guyana and to New York for the launching of her autobiography last October, because she derived so much pleasure from being able to meet and greet dear family members and long-time friends. It is hard to imagine what life will be like without having my Mum to speak to almost on a daily basis, because she was lucid until the end; but she was ready to go. Hers was a life well-lived and even while we mourn, we celebrate this fact and the substantial legacy she has left. May the angels carry her safely on their wings and may God receive his faithful servant with open arms. Rest in eternal peace, dearest Mum.

Opposition says civil society finding it difficult to satisfy President’s criteria for GECOM chair

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo and members of the PPP engaged members of the religious community during last week’s consultations

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo and members of the PPP engaged members of the religious community during last week’s consultations

Following several rounds of consultations, civil society groups have made several submissions with regard to their nominees for the chairmanship of the Guyana Elections Commissions (GECOM) to the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Opposition.

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo had on March 21, met with 55 representatives of 33 civil society organisations, which included leaders of the Christian, Hindu and Muslim faiths; the Private Sector, the Guyana Trades Union Congress and the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana; Amerindian organisations, the National Toshaos Council and the Justice Institute.

During the consultation last week, the civil society bodies were given up to March 27 to submit the names of nominees that met the new requirements set out by President David Granger.

According to Opposition Chief Whip Gail Teixeira, at a press conference on Wednesday, some of the groups have made their submissions while others are having difficulties finding persons to fulfil all the criteria set out by the President.

“We’ve got about 12 to 15 (submissions)…but there are some civil society bodies who’ve indicated that when they examined the criteria, even when they come up with names, not one name can fulfil all the criteria,” she stated.

Teixeira explained that while the proposed nominees may meet one requirement, such as exercising jurisdiction in civil matters, they may not fulfil the other part of  the criteria which is a wide electoral knowledge.

She added that should one go “strictly” by the new requirements, even the nominees submitted by civil society may not fulfil the criteria. To this end, the Opposition Chief Whip insisted that the criteria set by the President undermined the constitutional provisions and were causing extreme duress in finding nominees.

“His Excellency, the President, has gone beyond the Constitution and place undue restrictions and pressure and duress on the selection of the position of Chairperson, which the Constitution itself did not contemplate. The focus of the Constitution was the integrity and the independence of the post holder, and we stand firmly by that position,” she noted.

According to Teixeira, the remaining submissions of nominees from civil society for the GECOM chairmanship are to be handed over by the end of Wednesday. She added upon the receipt of all the nominees, the Party would then examine the next step forward.

After rejecting the initial list submitted by the Opposition Leader, President Granger has since outlined the qualities that the nominees for the GECOM chairmanship should possess in order for him to consider them for the post.

The President’s criteria state that the candidate should be qualified to be a judge of the High Court or an Attorney for a minimum of seven years.

In the absence of those requirements, the President said any other “fit and proper person” should have wide electoral knowledge and be capable of handling electoral matters since he/she was qualified to exercise unlimited jurisdiction in civil matters.

That person should not be an activist in any form – gender, racial or religious nor should that person have any political affiliation or belong to any political party in any form, apparent or hidden.

That person must be able to discharge his/her functions neutrally, between the two opposing parties, as he or she would have done in court between two opposing litigants.

Additionally, the person must be able to discharge the functions without fear or favour, not allowing any person or organisation to influence him or her to compromise his or her neutrality.

The President also said that the person should have a general character of honesty, integrity, faithfulness and diligence in the discharge of their duty as Chairman of GECOM.

However, following the consultations with the civil society bodies last week, a statement from the Opposition Leader’s office noted that the criteria were considered “an imposition on the Constitution which makes no such demands”.

The statement said most disconcerting was the stipulation that the candidate must not be an activist in any form. “(It) was thought to be discriminatory and violated the anti-discrimination articles of the Constitution,” the statement explained.

During the consultations, Jagdeo said he had grave reservations about the legality and constitutionality of these criteria outlined by the President. In fact, he expressed his intention to bring these concerns to the attention of the Head of State.

Nonetheless, the Opposition Leader said he remained committed to submitting six more names as requested by the President.

 

Guyanese in NY remember Cheddi and Janet Jagan

By Vishnu Bisram

Grand-daughter of Cheddi and Janet Jagan, Vrinda Jagan, speaking at the event to honour the former presidents

Grand-daughter of Cheddi and Janet Jagan, Vrinda Jagan, speaking at the event to honour the former presidents

The Guyanese American diaspora (from greater New York area) held a seminar and cultural variety programme last Sunday afternoon in tribute to the late former Presidents Cheddi  Jagan and Janet Jagan in Richmond Hill, Queens to celebrate his (Cheddi) 99th birth anniversary and to memorialize and commemorate the 20th anniversary since his death and 9th anniversary since her (Janet) death.

Glowing tributes were paid to both former Presidents in their role as freedom fighters; first against the colonial rulers and subsequently against the PNC dictatorship.

Some dozen speakers paid tribute to Dr. and Mrs. Jagan. The keynote address was delivered by former Minister of Government and Ambassador to Brazil and Canada, Mr. Harry Nawbatt.

Both Cheddi and Janet were among the founders (Ashton Chase and Jocelyn Hubbard were the others) of the Political Affairs Committee (PAC) which was later transformed into the PPP (1950). Jagan served as leader of PAC founded in 1946 and PPP from 1950 till his death in March 1997.

The NY event was hosted by the Guyana Solidarity Movement (led by Rhuben Khusial) comprising of dozens of non-government organizations including splinter groups of the Association of Concerned Guyanese (PPP support group).

Some of the splinter groups supported the AFC-APNU coalition in the 2015 election because of what they claim was disrespect from the PPP leadership. The members of all of these groups expressed disappointment with the direction of the coalition government. They have called for a reformed PPP to which they commit their support in order to remove the APNU-AFC from office.

cheddiSunday’s program featured brief speeches from several prominent community activists and PPP stalwarts including from former PPP Exco members Cyril Belgrave, Prof. Chuck Mohan, ACG founding member Mel Carpen (who broke with the PPP in the 2015 election), Dr. Tara Singh, Richard Hyuen (a Chinese Jamaican) who described Dr. Jagan as his hero; Hyuen also saluted Janet who he met several times in New York. Everyone gave anecdotes and snippets of their relations with the Jagans. The program also included scintillating dances, poems, and singing. Everyone performed for free in tribute to their heroes.

Speakers noted how Dr. Jagan was raised on a sugar estate and how he was successful in school going to the US to further his studies. They described how Cheddi and Janet dedicated their lives, income, work and teachings towards national ending colonial rule and the PNC dictatorial rule. Mention was made of how the British and American Anglo axis toppled the PPP and Jagan from office in 1953 and 1964 and installing the pro-imperialist PNC in office.

Speaker after speaker spoke on the incorruptible honesty of the Jagans. They noted how they fought for the rights of the working class and the dispossessed. Some speakers lamented that the PPP has deviated from Jaganism and that the leadership had become too arrogant. The speakers urged the party leadership and the Guyanese public at large to emulate Jagan’s legacy and commitment to uplifting the lives of the poor and working class.

Speakers also urged the PPP leadership to reform the party and make it inclusive to re-attract former members (who became alienated and left because the party lost its Jaganite moorings). One speaker in particular called for the party to embrace youths and for the older generation to make way for new youthful leaders. Speakers also feel the party should be inclusive to attract supporters of other parties and that it should collaborate with other (minor) parties to stand guard against what they see as increasing authoritarianism in Guyana under the coalition regime.

The event was coordinated by Rhuben Khusial of West Coast Demerara, who also served as Chairman of the proceedings. Faiuze Alli moved a vote of thanks. The event attracted a near packed house at Royal Princess catering hall. Guests were served a full complimentary dinner and a variety of drinks.

Policies that hurt

The most recent report released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after a visit here by a high-level team from that institution has once again vindicated the position of various stakeholders that the economy is in tatters and the coalition Government must act with haste if it were to lessen the impact its policy decisions, taken over the past months, would have on the masses.

The IMF, in its 2017 Concluding Statement detailing its findings on Guyana’s economic outlook, as part of its annual consultations under Article IV of the Articles of Agreement governing borrowing, noted that Guyana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth was uneven, buoyed by the new gold mines, while the non-mining sector saw a contraction.

The economic indicators are not very promising, and experts are predicting that the situation will even get worse if the necessary corrective actions are not taken immediately. So far, we have seen very little effort by the Government to stimulate growth in the economy. Instead, it has chosen to increase the burden on major sectors with a slew of tax measures and other policies that constrict their potential for growth.

The IMF statement referred to above has confirmed that the Government slavishly followed the recommendations of the Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre (CARTAC) on extending the Value Added Tax (VAT) regime to crucial sectors, without regard to the social impact on citizens. In fact, we are witnessing almost daily the implementation of certain policies that hurt businesses and increase hardship on the average citizen.

Additionally, in the last year, there have been no major announcements regarding Foreign Direct Investments in Guyana, or any major job creation initiatives. The IMF has projected real economic growth of 3.5 per cent driven by an increase in public investment and a recovery in rice production. However, as stated before, most of the major sectors are declining, including rice, which recently saw one of the major players closing its doors after being in operation for 25 years.

Additionally, the increased borrowing by the Government has been a major point of concern, particularly over the last few months. The IMF has said that the debt-to-GDP ratio is projected to reach 61 per cent of GDP by 2019 and has recommended fiscal adjustments. However, Government continues to “bank on oil money”, as local authorities have informed the IMF that once oil production starts, the debt-to-GDP ratio will decrease.

The IMF has also noted the recent “increase in exchange rate flexibility”; however, Government has failed to acknowledge that there is a problem and advance measures to address the issue.

Most importantly, on the issue of the impending closure of more sugar estates, the IMF has reiterated previous calls from various stakeholders for careful decisions to be made about the future of the industry. Considering the fact that no economic and social impact assessments were carried out, the Government is being accused of basing its decisions regarding the future of the industry purely on politics. In this regard, the IMF has warned the Government to be “mindful of the large social impact” and the need “to protect those affected” by the process of change in the industry. Everyone knows that no matter how the authorities try to spin the issue, the resulting impact on individuals and communities would be quite significant and, perhaps, it would take decades before they fully recover.

We had said before that the Government and GuySuCo’s management should have engaged in serious consultations with all stakeholders and do the necessary impact assessments before making such decisions. After all, this is people’s livelihoods that will be affected and they deserve to be fully engaged on what matters to them.

It could be recalled that in 2016, the IMF staff had urged the authorities to adopt a restructuring plan for the sector that will improve cost efficiency, productivity, and alternative revenue streams, drawing upon the reforms proposed by the Commission of Inquiry. At the time, the delegation had said that the scope and pace of reform should take into account social implications. This aspect was certainly ignored by the powers that be. We urge the Government to stop being in denial regarding the current crisis facing the country and rethink its policies in the interest of everyone.

‘Come clean’

…Opposition calls for “full disclosure” on controversial G$605M drug purchase

…several questions submitted for Health Minister to answer in Parliament

Opposition Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira

Opposition Chief
Whip, Gail Teixeira

The Opposition Peoples Progressive Party Civic is calling for “full disclosure” in relation to the over G$605 million emergency drug purchase for the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) and  has moved to have the subject minister provide answers to a raft on questions on the matter, in the National Assembly.

This publication understands that the questions were submitted to the Parliament, seeking written answers from Minister Volda Lawrence on general procurement procedures by her ministry and the G$605 million drug purchase.

“Let me tell you what we are hoping to get, what we seeking to achieve; full disclosure,” PPP/C parliamentarian Juan Edghill told a press conference held at the office of the Leader of the Opposition, on Wednesday.

Both Edghill and Opposition Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira told this newspaper that they had submitted questions to the National Assembly.

According to the MPs, Minister Lawrence has not provided the nation with clear answers on the controversial matter. “The nation is being told there was a shortage… But you all could recall the Minister of Health saying during a motion that there was no shortage,” Edghill stressed.

He explained that a few questions were submitted to the National Assembly, and they were “by no means all the questions” the party has on the matter.

The PPP had made an aggressive call for the governing Board of the GPHC, to provide information, by way of minutes of its meeting, to show who gave the go ahead for the G$605 million contract to ANSA McAL

“This cannot be right, everybody has cried out against it,” Edghill had told the news conference.

According to the MP, if there is a crisis at the hospital; it is not for the minister to intervene but the Board.

Edghill had said the situation is a case where a political decision was made, after which, it would seem that the officer of the tender board was expected to comply administratively to facilitate “an improper transaction”.

Moreover, he posited that Lawrence’s justification of the whole sole sourcing scandal was very poor, especially since the advertisements for drug procurement for the medial facility were cancelled on four prior occasions.

The Parliamentarian had further stated that Lawrence was no stranger to the procurement laws in Guyana  and since she chaired the Public Accounts Committee in Parliament, she should be well informed of the concerns of the Auditor General with regards to sole sourcing.

Since the scandal broke local manufacturers have come forth and shown that the public treasury could have saved as much as half the amount being spent with ANSA McAl had the health ministry utilized the other available agencies to provide the very items at much cheaper prices than what was quoted by ANSA McAL.

Local manufacturer, NEW GPC INC, in a statement had said  that it could have supplied many of the items instantaneously, since there is usually inventory on hand. In a worst-case scenario, the company said, the delay would have been less than a few days to get the products manufactured right in Guyana.

Lawrence in her initial speech on the scandal recused herself and laid blame squarely at the feet of the suppliers, the procurement body and staff of her Ministry and GPHC among others she deemed as “moles.”

She had outlined in her initial statement that her impetus for giving the contract to the Trinidadian company ANSA McAL, was because procurement for the “engineered shortage” of pharmaceuticals needed to be expedited and “ANSA McAL not only airfreighted the drugs (this helped spike the cost to import the items) for the public health sector, but also donated four refrigerators to GPHC to store the emergency supplies at the internationally acceptable temperature of 20 to 80 C.”

Head of State David Granger had stated that disciplinary actions will be taken against anyone found to be at fault as it relates to the recent sole scouring of pharmaceuticals for the GPHC.