November 29, 2015

Fedders Lloyd MoU reeks of corruption – Gaskin, Jeffrey

– Finance Ministry says no contract awarded yet


On the heels of an intense public hue and cry over the secrecy and implementation of exorbitant ministerial salary

Dr Henry Jeffrey

Dr Henry Jeffrey

increases, the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Administration struck again, as another public outrage erupted over the lack of transparency surrounding the new arrangements for the construction of the controversial Specialty Hospital.
Criticisms continue to mount over the sole-sourcing of Indian company Fedders Lloyd to undertake the site evaluation and construction of the facility and the lack of reasoning regarding why the current Administration deemed the project impractical under the former regime, as political commentators, Dr Henry Jeffrey and Ramon Gaskin join in expressing their concerns over this publicly perceived act of corruption.
Dr Jeffrey, during an interview with Guyana Times on Saturday, pointed out that secrecy shrouded the entire process, adding that there is a complete lack of transparency in the undertaking.
“It is quite clear that these people criticised the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) about openness and transparency and tendering process and they’ve broken all in one stroke,” he posited.
It is a known fact that Public Security Minister and Vice President Khemraj Ramjattan is a close affiliate of the Fedders Lloyd Construction Company and for this very reason, there should have been a tendering

Ramon Gaskin

Ramon Gaskin

process; Dr Jeffery contended. He highlighted too, that as a matter of law, the project should have been put to tender.
“They are supposed to open this matter for tendering process and they are supposed to allow other people an opportunity…Ramjattan is a senior member of the Cabinet and he is in a position of kind of a conflict of interest and therefore, they (Government) have to be even more transparent than the PPP/C,” he reasoned.
Ramjattan is the legal representative of the Indian firm and for this reason; he was almost hauled before the Committee of Privileges on the charge of failing to declare pecuniary interests in matters debated in the National Assembly. Ramjattan was said to be in a “conflict of interest” position over his legal representation of the Fedders Lloyd Corporation, which he then believed,  was cheated of the contract to build the Specialty Hospital. Contentions were made that Ramjattan had political, rather than legitimate motives, for objecting to the US$18.1 million contract for the design and construction of the hospital which was awarded to Surendra Engineering Company.
“The whole situation is absurd… here they go again… another issue that will remain in the consciousness of the people and Local Government Elections is just around the corner,” Dr Jeffrey expressed.
Political commentator Ramon Gaskin raised similar points as he questioned the backpedalling of the coalition Government’s initial stance on the Specialty Hospital Project.
“There is a lot of inconsistency here… we were told that they would not be proceeding with it at all and now suddenly you hear, they are proceeding with it, so there is a lot of inconsistency,” Gaskin pointed out.
He explained that the entire situation appears to be laced with a hint of corruption given the close relationship between Ramjattan and the company that was single-handedly selected to construction a facility which the APNU+AFC coalition had vigorously rejected in the past.
“It now looks like an inside job that the Minister probably arranged for these people (company) to get this thing (project); it looks like that in the eyes of the public… It sounds like a corrupt transaction and we need to know more about it,” Gaskin said.

Calls are being made from all sections of society for a retendering of the process. Critics asserted that since the project falls under a new arrangement, then there also needs to be a new tendering process.
“Well it is my opinion that, if indeed the hospital should go forward, then it must be retendered. It should be retendered because the first tender was scrapped and now if Government wants to proceed with it (the project), it has to be retendered. You can’t just call the other guy and give it to him, it doesn’t work like that,” Gaskin explained.
Dr Jeffrey shared similar views as he too called on the new Administration to cancel the contract with Fedders Lloyd and put the matter to tender.
President of Transparency Institute of Guyana Inc (TIGI) Calvin Bernard is also quoted in another section of the media calling for the project to be opened to tender. “Bottom line is it should go back to tender,” he stated.
On the other hand, Government adamantly maintains that there is no time to put the matter to tender. Private Sector Commission Chairman Norman McLean supported Government’s position, claiming “I don’t see a problem. Do you want them to go over the same bidding process again?” he questioned.
Meanwhile, both Dr Jeffrey and Gaskin are calling on the Government for more information about their version of the Specialty Hospital Project.
For Dr Jeffrey, he is demanding to know why the Government flip-flopped on its initial posture towards this project.
“I don’t even think they have explained clearly to people why having the Specialty Hospital now is different from having it under the PPP/C… why is it… what has happened to make this sudden change around… they need to say clearly what differentiates this project from the PPP/C project,” Dr Jeffrey stated.
Public Health Minister, Dr George Norton had told Guyana Times that his Administration was not “properly informed” about the project, hence its initial position towards it.
“… if Guyanese were going to be employed in this hospital, if Guyanese have to pay to receive treatment in this hospital, what types of treatment, are the Guyanese students going to be taught there. These are things that were not coming through with regards to the bidding of the contract to build the hospital,” Dr Norton stated.
The Specialty Hospital, a project initiated by the PPP/C Administration, is aimed at catering for complicated surgeries, ranging from heart operations, organ transplants to cosmetic surgeries.
In 2012, an US$18 million contract was awarded to India-based Company Surendra Engineering, which was tasked with designing and building the controversial facility. The funding was provided by the Indian Government through a Line of Credit. In January, the contractor’s services were terminated owing to several contractual breaches. The matter was taken to the High Court and compensation was accordingly awarded to the Government. (

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Region 2 woman hacked to death by husband

A mother of one is now dead after her jealous husband chopped and stabbed her to death on Saturday afternoon.

Dead: Malinie Narine

Dead: Malinie Narine

Dead is Malinie Narine, 23, of Jib Village, Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam). Her husband Vishnu Narine, a labourer was battling for life in the Intensive Care Unit at Suddie Public Hospital up to press time. He was unsuccessful in taking his own life after committing the gruesome act sometime around 17:30h.
According to information reaching Guyana Times Vishnu had a heated argument with his wife during which he equipped himself with a cutlass and a knife and dealt several chops and stabs about her body. The young woman sustained multiple injuries to her abdomen and hands.
Further reports revealed that after inflicting the fatal injuries to his wife, the man then turned the knife on himself, slitting his throat. Both weapons were recovered at the scene by investigators.
This newspaper was told neighbours heard loud screams at the couple’s home and rushed over to investigate. Upon arrival they stumbled upon a bloody scene. The police was summoned and transported the injured man to hospital. His wife had already died.
Mother of the deceased Sattie (only name given) described Vishnu as a jealous and abusive person, adding he would prevent Malinie from visiting her although they live in the same village. The grieving mother related she learned about the tragic event from villagers.
“I hear he chop she up and stab her then he slit he throat, I didn’t see her long, her father and I are separated long”

Murder suspect: Vishnu Narine

Murder suspect: Vishnu Narine

Sattie explained.
According to the dead woman’s father, Toolsie aka Robin, he left the couple sleeping at their Jib residence earlier in the day. The man recalled that his daughter was often threatened by her husband, who often expressed intent to take her life.
Toolsie pointed out that his son-in-law does not like his wife socialising with her family. The young family lived with her father at Jib.
“I told him to behave yourself but he got angry and started the stupidness, he ask me to tek a drink and I refused” the man related.
The couple shared a four-year-old son, Donnie Narine. This newspaper was told Malinie had endured an abusive relationship but never spoke out.
Following the incident, the news quickly spread throughout the community and scores of persons converged at the scene. Many persons were overheard saying that they knew the young couple had domestic problems.
At the bloody scene, the deceased was lying lifeless on the downstairs bed. She was fully clothed. Her body was taken to the Suddie Mortuary and is awaiting an autopsy.

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Herstelling man found dead under tree

The body of a Herstelling, East Bank Demerara, man was found in a neighbouring village just after noon on Saturday.
The dead man has been identified as Samaroo Seepersaud, 63, called “Allan” of Lot 11 Herstelling New Housing Scheme. His body was found under a tree on a dam behind the Park Vue Hotel in Farm, EBD.
There were no marks of violence on the man’s body and investigators believe he may have died from natural causes. However, they are awaiting results of a post mortem examination to get a confirmation.
One of the dead man’s son, Bihsham Seepersaud, related to Guyana Times that his father left home around 08:30h on Friday for his morning run and hangout with his friends but never returned.
Bihsham noted they began worrying after 16:00h, since his father would return home around that time from his daily outings: “He does go lime with his friends them or some times go bet on horse races in town and thing, so we di’n take it as anything. Is till after 4 o’clock then we start get worried cause he does always come home that time.”
He went on to say they began calling family and friends to find out his whereabouts but got no information. Bihsham related that by night family and friends went over and they began searching for him. They even went to his grandfather’s abandoned house in Coven Garden, EBD, but did not find him there either.
“So we went home back because it get late but early this morning we went out back to look for him. We went in the scheme (behind Park Vue Hotel) driving round because people said they see he in there but we di’n find anything. Then sometime after 12:00h, my brother and two friends went back on foot and find he on the dam,” the son related.
According to Bihsham, they do not know how the man ended up there and none of his friends saw him on Friday. Nevertheless, the man said they too do not suspect any foul play in his father’s death.
The father leaves to mourn his wife, three children, other relatives and friends.

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“Release the reports now” – Jagdeo urges Govt

Forensic Audits…

– says theft of public resources claim is “nonsense”


“Release the reports, let people comment on the reports, all these audit reports, so if you are getting them, release them

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo

to the country.”
Those were the sentiments expressed by Leader of the Opposition and former President Bharrat Jagdeo in the face of failure by the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government to make public the findings of the forensic audits of state agencies.
After months, or even years, of a hue and cry about widespread corruption in many state agencies and projects under the former People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration, the APNU/AFC upon assuming office back in May 2015, launched a series of forensic audits costing the nation hundreds of millions of dollars.
But six months later, the Government is still to make public the audit reports, especially for agencies such as the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), which the APNU and AFC while in Opposition accused of massive corruption.
“We have not heard anything about the Hope Canal, because they said it was corrupt and it was useless, so where is the audit report for the Hope Canal too. They should release the NICIL report and the response by NICIL the other audit reports,” Jagdeo told a news conference on Saturday at the PPP headquarters, Robb Street, Georgetown.
Jagdeo highlight that the only audit report to be released thus far is that of the Caribbean Festival of Arts 10 (CARIFESTA X), hosted by Guyana from August 22-31, 2008.
However, it is believed that this release was convenient, since the accounting officer at the then Culture Youth and Sport

Finance Minister Winston Jordon

Finance Minister Winston Jordon

Ministry, Keith Booker died a few years ago and therefore there can be no response to the audit queries.
Jagdeo said that while his position remains that the forensic Auditors Christopher Ram and Annand Goolsarran do not have the integrity to conduct the audits, he is still eagerly awaiting the publication of the findings, which he is convinced will vindicate the PPP/C’s long held position that this exercise was unwarranted and baseless.
“They have started off this course of action, then you have to ask them what they are doing, because we would like to see the findings although some of the people who are doing the audits are the accusers and the accusers should not be doing the audits. Now that you have done the audits why not release it?” Jagdeo questioned, adding that, “I know a lot of what we have heard was about theft of public resources through NICIL and through the Hope Canal etc… that’s a lot of nonsense.”

Jagdeo had always made it clear that he is supportive of the forensic audits, but had concerns about the Auditors – Goolsarran and Ram – and their integrity to do an impartial job.
“We in the PPP will support any forensic audit but for a forensic audit to be fair and to do its work to find corruption, you have to have the skills to do that and I submit that these two persons, they are political operatives. They do not have the skills to practice forensic audits… We are in favour of hiring a reputable international company, in a transparent process to do this, to do forensic audits of all of our accounts,” Jagdeo had declared in a televised programme of TVG-Ch28 back in August.
Jagdeo had previously questioned the objective of the audit, highlighting that the process was being used for political gains by the Government.
“Normally when you do an audit, you get all your findings and you submit a management letter and the management responds to your findings… But everyday they are releasing little bits to the newspapers to make it a political process,” he highlighted.
The Government has been flip-flopping regarding the real reason behind the forensic audits of several State agencies.
When it was first initiated, Finance Minister Winston Jordan had declared that the aim was to ascertain how the assets of the State were sold, disposed of or transferred under the previous Administration, adding that those found guilty will face criminal charges.
However, Junior Finance Minister Jaipaul Sharma disclosed that one of the reasons why the Government is commissioning audits was to satisfy the demands of the donor agencies and the international community.
He explained that before the APNU+AFC coalition got into Government, the international community indicated several expectations it had of the new Government.
“The demands for this new Administration are a lot. We have to fulfil these demands, in areas of accountability and transparency… We aren’t doing this because we want to spend money or we want to witchhunt anybody… it’s a demand and request from these agencies that transparency and accountability must be available,” he noted.
He added that if the Government did not perform the financial audits, it would not have the financial support of the international bodies.
This statement was received with expressions of great incredulity by members of the local business and financial community when it was published.
Finance Minister Jordan, however, attempted to backpedal from his Junior Minister’s statement and explained that the international community did not actually demand the forensic audits, but they did throw their support behind the initiative.
He said the APNU+AFC coalition had discussions with members of the international community, including the British High Commission, the Canadian High Commission, the European Union and the Inter-American  Development Bank (IDB), to name a few, and they all spoke of the need for accountability and transparency.

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Body washes up at Kingston Seawall

The body of another male was washed ashore at the Kingston seawall, behind the Marriott Hotel.
The discovery was made around 14:00h on Friday by personnel at the hotel. The male is of African descent and believed to be in his late 20s to early 30s. He had facial hair and was clad in a blue check shirt and underwear – his pants nowhere to be found.

Investigators at the scene just before retrieving the body from the water

Investigators at the scene just before retrieving the body from the water

Reports surrounding the incident are sketchy and up to noon, the man’s identify was yet to be known.
When Guyana Times visited the scene, the body was lying on the shore in the water. Sometime after investigators removed it.

According to reports, the body was still fresh when it was retrieved as a blood-like substance was seen oozing out of the mouth. Investigators believe the man had died recently and have not ruled out foul play.

Ranks at the scene were examining the body for marks of violence but it was unclear whether any were found.

Various reports/theories were emanating from the scene, with persons saying a life jacket was seen some distance from where the body was found, while others commented the man may have been a vagrant.

This discovery comes less than a month after two bodies were found a short distance away. The bodies of the young couple were found earlier this month in the vicinity of the CID headquarters, Eve Leary.

They were later identified as Kavita Ackloo, 19, called ‘Shevon’, of Cummings Lodge, Georgetown, and Ramesh Beharry, 18, called ‘Boy’, of Good Hope, East Coast Demerara.

A bucket containing a poisonous chemical was found in close proximity along with several packets of medications, leading police to conclude the couple committed suicide.

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69.7% Guyanese unable to repay mortgages

Economic crises deepen…

Hundreds of Guyanese are on the verge of losing their properties as a result of inability to pay their mortgages, as the local economy continues to flounder, according to People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Member of Parliament Irfaan Ali.
Ali said based on data in his possession of his own investigations from many financial institutions, non-performing loans or loans where the borrower failed to pay instalment for three months, have increased by 69.7 per cent in 2015 and continues to skyrocket.

PPP/C MP Irfaan Ali

PPP/C MP Irfaan Ali

“The non-performing loans moving from $8.8 billion to $20 billion, and as I said that was the half-year figure of the Bank of Guyana and over the last quarter it has not improved, it has deteriorated further. Some institutions would have been setting aside resources in excess of 100 per cent of that of 2014 for bad debt. These are the numbers we are having and that is a serious indication as to what is coming out of the financial sector and the banks themselves. So from the macro side, those are some of the numbers that present a worrying trend for us,” Ali told a recent news conference.

Ali said there are a number of factors which are responsible for this crisis, including the fact that the new government has not created employment, but rather it has placed hundreds of persons on the breadline directly an indirectly.

He used as an example the discontinuation of the 100 Homes Project, which would have direct employment for more than 300 Guyanese, many of whom may have loans.

Another area that is responsible for the increase in non-performing loans, according to Ali, is the current crisis in the rice industry, where many farmers are millers are already having their assets repossessed by financial institutions.

“A lot of the rice farmers and millers have huge loans in the banking sector, they have their assets pledged to those loans and the banks will have no other choice but to come down hard on the rice farmers,” Ali said.

Further, the increase in non-performing loans can be linked to the slowdown in economic activities as many businessmen with huge loans are unable to make their payments as business transactions have slowed tremendously.

Another factor which is attributed to this fiasco is that of the increase in unemployment, as many large employers were forced to retrench their employees, again many of whom may be holders of mortgages.

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Chairman dubs it “rubber stamp”

Region 10 Land Selection Committee


Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) Regional Chairman Renis Morian is questioning the importance of the Regional Land Selection Committee which formed part of the August 2012 agreement signed between the previous Administration and the region. The Committee was established by way of Motion under the stewardship of former Regional Chairman Sharma Solomon, in an effort to give assistance to residents and farmers seeking help with regards to land ownership in the region.

Former Regional Chairman Sharma Solomon

Former Regional Chairman Sharma Solomon

Region 10 Regional Chairman Renis Morian

Region 10 Regional Chairman Renis Morian

However, works of the Committee came to a standstill recently when Morian took office. Solomon had contended that Morian, his predecessor, was now tasked with the responsibility of the Committee. However, the Regional Chairman recently stated that he is uncertain of his role regarding the Committee, when prompted by Councillor Owen DeSouza to shed light on its status during the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) statutory meeting earlier this month.

DeSouza was at the time seeking assistance on a number of issues involving farming malpractice at the Dakoura Creek water site which is a main source of water for some residents at Block 22, Wismar, Linden.

Rubber stamp
When questioned by Guyana Times on Tuesday, with regard to agricultural development in the region and any possible collaboration with the Land Selection Committee, Morian said he is unsure of the importance of such a Committee. He said given the situation with lands being owned and controlled by numerous agencies, the Land Selection Committee is basically a “rubber stamp”.

“The truth of the matter is, I am yet to see the importance of a Land Selection Committee. The RDC don’t issue lands. I brought the Minister of Housing to Region 10 to share some of the land issues that residents have.  There are residents that are waiting 10 years for a title, waiting 10 years for a plot of land, when Region 10 is blessed with acres of land…there are lands owned by NICIL (National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited), there are lands that are under Housing (Ministry). There are lands that are under so many different agencies”, the Regional Chairman stated.

He said he was advised to seek the assistance of a lawyer regarding the issue, however the Government would have to foot the bill, since the region is not in a position to do so. Nevertheless, he said lists of applicants for land titles are sent to his office at the RDC, which would often times include persons from outside of the region.

One agency needed
“But truly speaking, the whole issue of land regionally needs to be centred at one agency… one agency should be responsible for lands, and then we would see the importance of a Land Selection Committee, but as it is right now we have inherited a system that was chaotic and has marginalised residents in Region 10”, he further stated.

The Regional Chairman added that there are issues regarding land in the region which were brought to his attention and while he intends on seeking a solution, the region is not yet ready to take on a Land Selection Committee. He then made an appeal for issues to be handled at the level of a central agency.

“I’m making an appeal… to the Government and Cabinet, especially in the area of Region 10, to look to have one agency look at the whole matter of lands… we would like to see an effective and viable Land Selection Committee, not a rubber stamp,” the Regional Chairman emphasised.

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Teachers reject bicycle shed classrooms

JC Secondary School

Several teachers attached to the Johanna Cecelia Secondary School in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) have refused to teach the Grade 10 students of the school, stating that the area is not conducive for learning.

Children under the bicycle shed at JC Secondary School

Children under the bicycle shed at JC Secondary School

Guyana Times was informed that the students were put under the bicycle shed by the school’s Headmaster Alex George, after they complained of the classroom being hot. The move under the shed was a temporary one to accommodate the children and to relieve their physical discomfort as a result of the heated classroom, but from all indications, the bicycle shed has become the classroom for the children.

This move by the Headmaster came in for much criticism from parents who have children attending the school. One parent said that she is not satisfied with the move to have the children placed in an area where rain falls, bicycles are parked and noise from the streets poses a distraction to their learning. Despite several complaints made to the Headmaster, the situation remains unchanged.

The children have also made their own complaints, stating that if the Headmaster sees it fit to put them under the shed, then they are of the view that the shed should be enclosed, hence making it into a classroom, and another area should be provided for the accommodation of the bicycles.

According to a teacher who wishes to remain anonymous, the children are left outside and although rain splashing on them in downpours, no intervention is being made.

That teacher said she had refused to teach the children, since it is unacceptable to have the children exposed to the rain as well as the noise distraction from the road. There is said to be two garbage drums filled right next to the ‘classroom’ as well.
Guyana Times was informed that the classroom the children occupied previously has now been given to the ancillary staff.

When teachers questioned the Headmaster about whether the children will return to their respective classrooms, given the fact that the rainy period is upon us, the Headmaster told staff members that taking back the classroom from the cleaners would mean him practicing double standards.

Many teachers are of the view that the shed which was allotted to the children to occupy is not conducive to learning, and is merely what it was initially build for – a bicycle shed. They are therefore calling on the Education Ministry, through the Department of Education to intervene into the matter.

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Massive corruption in award of US$18M Specialty Hospital contract

Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan
Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan

 Lack of transparency

– says Opposition Leader  
– Ramjattan at helm of scandal


Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan has come under intense pressure and the situation promises to heat up even more, following the announcement by the David Granger-led A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC) Government, that it has contracted Indian Company Fedders Lloyd to continue the construction of the controversial Specialty Hospital.
The situation is troubling, not just because Government has back pedalled on the stance it took against the building of the State of the Art facility, but because the contractor, to whom the project has been given, is closely connected to Minister Ramjattan.

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo

Concerns have already begun mounting following Government’s announcement on Wednesday that it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Indian company, which had lost the bid to Surrendra Engineering Company back in 2011.
The MoU was signed on Wednesday between Finance Minister Winston Jordan and a representative of the company, Ajay Jha. This now paves the way for works to restart the construction of the Hospital.
But the now Public Security Minister is facing severe criticisms and there are talks that the move is an “underhand” one, particularly because there was no tendering process for the project. The sudden move by Government to use the company without giving any other construction company a fighting chance at the tendering process has raised eyebrows.
During the tenth Parliament, Ramjattan was almost hauled before the Committee of Privileges on the charge of failing to declare pecuniary interests in matters debated in the National Assembly.
Ramjattan was said to be in a “conflict of interest” position over his legal representation of the Fedders Lloyd Corporation, which he then believed,  was cheated of the contract to build the Specialty Hospital.

Finance Minister Winston Jordan and  Fedders Lloyd’s representative Ajay Jha during the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the construction of the Specialty Hospital

Finance Minister Winston Jordan and Fedders Lloyd’s representative Ajay Jha during the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the construction of the Specialty Hospital

His role as lawyer for the Indian firm had long been questioned by the then PPP/C Government. It was believed that the then AFC Leader had political rather than legitimate motives for objecting to the US$18.1 million contract for the design and construction of the hospital which was awarded to Surendra Engineering company.
The PPP/C believed that Ramjattan had acted in contravention of Standing Order 107 which states that “No Member of the Assembly shall appear before the Assembly or any Committee thereof as Counsel or Solicitor for any party, or in any capacity for which he or she is to receive a fee or reward.”
Meanwhile, Opposition leader Bharrat Jagdeo on Thursday said that the new agreement between Government and the Indian company “reeks of corruption”, as it serves the interest of its own.
According to him, a single source company could not be awarded a contract that is $18 million.
“How could you ask the person that is making the proposal to you to do the assessment of work done. The proper thing to do was to seek the independent assessment by a consultancy firm of work that has been done before, do new bills of quantity and then go out to tender”, the Opposition said.
According to the MoU, Fedders Lloyd will review the works already started, conclude a design of the hospital that is acceptable to the Government, and commit to fully equip the facility on completion of its construction. The company also undertakes to commence work on the facility immediately following the signing of the MoU.
The Specialty Hospital, a project initiated by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration, is aimed at catering for complicated surgeries, ranging from heart operations, organ transplants to cosmetic surgeries. In 2012, a US$18 million contract was awarded to India-based company Surendra Engineering, which was tasked with designing and building the controversial facility. The funding was provided by the Indian Government through a Line of Credit (LOC).
The current Administration, which was on the Opposition side of the National Assembly during the 10th Parliament, had heavily criticised the project. The coalition had even cut the $1.25 billion that was budgeted for the Hospital in 2013. The previous Administration had only received $34.4 million as supplementary funding for the hospital in the 10th Parliament as a result of the absence of APNU Member of Parliament (MP) Volda Lawrence, when a vote had been taken for the funds.
The previous Administration was hoping that the hospital would be a pull factor to bring tourists and overseas-based Guyanese back to Guyana for “health tourism”. However, the new Administration had said with the current state of affairs in the health sector, it was better that the construction of the Specialty Hospital be put on the ‘backburner’ and the money used to enhance the primary health care system.
Government had requested the EXIM (Export, Import) Bank of India to cancel the LOC for the Specialty Hospital and to reallocate the balance of funds to a project to modernise three primary healthcare facilities – Bartica, Suddie and West Demerara Hospitals.
However, the Government of India while indicating that it had no objection and support for the modernisation of primary healthcare facilities, suggested that Government should consider salvaging the Specialty Hospital as it will complement primary healthcare facilities in Guyana.

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Car dismembers West Coast Berbice man

Police are investigating the circumstances which led to the death of a West Berbice labourer on Thursday afternoon at Rising Sun Public Road, West Coast Berbice (WCB), Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice).

Dead is Shermon Harper, 41, of Lot 11 Seafield Village, WCB. He sustained a severed hand and leg, along with broken ribs and other bodily injuries.

While details of the incident are sketchy, Commander of B Division (Berbice), Assistant Commissioner Christopher Griffith told Guyana Times that the driver of the car – Davendra Singh of Rose Hall, Corentyne, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) – has been arrested and is in Police custody assisting with the investigations.

According to the Commander, the driver was tested and found to have zero alcohol in his system. Nevertheless, Griffith related to this newspaper that initial reports suggest Harper was crossing the road when the accident occurred.

However, the dead man’s stepdaughter, Keisha Moore, told this publication that shortly after 13:00h, she received a telephone call informing her of the accident. She said she went to the neighbouring village, where she saw Harper lying on the road with an arm and leg missing. “When I went there, the Police were already there and they said they are investigating,” Moore related.

The woman further explained that a part of one of Harper’s hands was left in the car which was parked some distance away from the body. Another relative, Samuel Daniels, told Guyana Times that when the family arrived at the scene of the accident, Harper’s covered body was lying on the road.

He noted that the man’s leg was across the road from where his body was lying. The relative said the man was riding home from his boss’s house, where they were celebrating someone’s birthday. It was unclear whether Harper was intoxicated at the time of the accident. There were no witnesses to the accident.

Reports are that the labourer, who is differently able and has a hearing impediment, was pushing a bicycle alongside a boy, when the boy ran to safety leaving him in the path of the oncoming car. This publication understands that the driver of the car was allegedly speeding at the time but this information is yet to be confirmed.

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