September 26, 2016

Govt’s housing, land transactions above board – former Housing Minister

… says Kaieteur News’ lies, manufactured “muck” will be exposed

By Michael Younge

Former Housing Minister Irfaan Ali on Wednesday exposed a series of lies, misinformation and manufactured controversies


Former Housing Minister Irfaan Ali

published in a series of tabloid-like articles in the Kaieteur News aimed at discrediting the progress and development made by the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) in the housing sector over the past two decades.
Ali, speaking during an interview with Guyana Times, made it clear that while he had “no intention of responding to the lies” published in the tabloid, he was compelled to do as the articles seemed to be attacking the hardworking professionals and public servants in the housing sector, particularly in the Communities Ministry, in an attempt to link them to some “imagined wrongdoing” or “political conspiracy”.
He described the attacks on the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) as “calculated” and “deliberate” before calling on the current A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance For Change Government to release all of the requisite information on the various land developments and private developers’ projects that would expose the wickedness of the articles.
“The senior staff of CH&PA are not political tools or agents, so I would appreciate if these calculated attacks can respect the professionalism and dignity of these highly qualified and technically competent technicians,” Ali stated.
The former Housing Minister said that the 1000 homes project was the signature project of the Ministry and followed all the relevant procurement rules and guidelines as he responded in general to the misinformation that was being published daily by the Glenn Lall-owned publication.
“There is no secrecy or mischief in the way the programme was operated,” he maintained as he explained in detail that all of the procurement was done within the prescribed rules and guidelines.
Ali, when questioned further, advised that each of the homes carry a defect liability period in which corrective works are carried out.

Private developers
He also said that on numerous occasions the lists of companies and individuals approved as private developers were made public and even laid in the National Assembly.
“Kaieteur News also carried the entire list. I am, therefore, shocked at the misrepresentation of who are private developers. I would ask the CH&PA to once again make public the complete list of private developers approved and also release the numerous advertisements for procurement and expression of interest for contractors in relation to the 1000 homes project,” the now Opposition parliamentarian said.
He also responded to the most recent article published by the tabloid which contained an allegation that a former Finance Minister had benefited from 25 acres of land.
“This is a blatant, obnoxious and devious piece of journalism,” Ali stated before advising the Guyana Times that “no EX Finance Minister benefited or was allocated any such land”.
“How can this nastiness and blatant lies be even considered journalism,” Ali questioned during the interview.
He called out the Kaieteur News on the matter, opining that “this is not just irresponsibility but total disregard for ethics, honesty, integrity and any minimal principle that forms the core of journalism”.
The former Government Minister said that while he had come to expect this sort of reporting from the tabloid, as of late “the rottenness is beyond reason”.
Ali is not the only former Government Minister that has had to upbraid the Kaieteur News for its continued publication of a series of spurious articles on various issues.
In addition, the newspaper has been attacking several professionals who would have played a significant role in delivering affordable homes to Guyanese by assisting Government in developing private lands by interjecting private capital and substantial financial resources into various initiatives.
Under the previous Government’s stewardship, thousands of poor, middle income and upper-middle income Guyanese were afforded the opportunity for the first time to own their homes and private property as a result of prudent policy formulation and implementation on the part of the then Housing Ministry.

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