September 24, 2016

New govts usually change the top personnel of agencies

Dear Editor,
In a Guyana Times letter of March 10, former President of the Republic Donald Ramotar claimed that Badrie Persaud, formerly Managing Director of the Guyana Oil Company (Guyoil) Limited was unceremoniously dismissed from his post by the newly elected APNU-AFC Govt.
Persaud claimed that he was entitled to due process which was not given before he was relieved of his duties. However, his appointment with GuyOil was political as he was an ardent supporter of the PPP and therefore he should have been prepared for an employment change without cause when the political landscape shifted.
Most newly elected Democratic Govts including the USA usually change the top personnel of agencies under their control at the start of their administration to ensure political loyalty for execution of their agenda and other reasons.
The elected APNU/AFC Govt was apparently no exception to adopt such considerations and specifically with respect to the dismissal of Persaud there appeared to have been, “more in the mortar than the pestle” as the revelations of an Auditors Report on GuyOil may have given the Govt ‘just cause’ for his dismissal.
In listing Persaud’s management achievements, former-President Ramotar claimed that during the 10-year period 2006 – 2015 he increased GuyOil revenue by over 150% but he failed to note that during the same period the price for a gallon of gas increased by over 400%.
He made investments in new stations and wharves but these were intended to make GuyOil more efficient and competitive and less to do with Guyana’s development per se as claimed.
Further, no mention was made of the large unaccounted losses of fuel and lubricants as well as financial improprieties which occurred at GuyOil during Persaud’s management.
Finally, contrary to former-President Ramotar’s claim, cheaper aviation fuel provided by GuyOil will not automatically result in more flights full of visitors to and from Guyana.
Evidence has shown that the significant drop in airlines fuel costs over the past year have not reflected in substantial reduction in airfares in the USA and elsewhere.
Therefore, development of the tourism sector in Guyana will require much more than cheaper air fares, extension of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, a specialty hospital and a fancy priced room at the Marriott.
These facilities would hardly be considered or be on the wish list of tourists eager to see the ‘land of many waters’. Safety and security are major concerns for visitors to Guyana and recent events have shown that criminal activities in the country have been on the rise and are getting progressively worst.
Further, a Capital City strewn with garbage, poor infrastructures such as lack of potable water, reliable electricity and a good and reliable transportation system (land & water) are disincentives to attract potential tourists. Therefore much work remains to be done to truly make Guyana a tourist destination.

Yours truly,
Charles Sohan

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