UG and wastage of funds
In an effort to upgrade our higher educational facilities, European money was given to fix the biology labs at the University of Guyana (UG), but the expected work was never done.
President Bharrat. Jagdeo had challenged us to bring cases of corruption to him. I have mentioned this UG case publicly several times. So far no response has been given. A refresher of these instances and scenarios are therefore in order as outlined below.
(1) Kaieteur News, 1st Oct., 2007, I wrote: “So how can UG ‘highlight ongoing biological science,’ or ‘share and disseminate information on knowledge and scientific research?’ Therefore, I also cannot see how any meaningful ‘opportunities for collaboration and networking’ can be set up. For example, the Biology labs are in a state of disrepair.
There was a hole in the floor, windows cannot close or open, and the plumbing and electrification were defective (fire hazards), despite the EU grant/loan to repair the labs. No one was ever charged for misappropriation of these funds. How can any government permit misappropriation of funds for education? We must ask why this is allowed to happen.”
(2) Kaieteur News, 29th August, 2007: “The science (Biology) laboratories were supposed to be renovated and upgraded (with European Union, EU, funds – loans or grants), the work was not done, or very little was done. No person was held responsible or accountable!”
(3) In another Kaieteur News letter, I wrote: “Is there an abdication of responsibility by officialdom at UG? The President of Guyana, Bharrat Jagdeo, has challenged Guyanese to tell him and his PPP Government where incompetence exists and where unseemly corrupt practices are being perpetrated. This is a commendable request by the President and his PPP Government.
However, the implementation of this directive seems unusually slow or absent. We hope this promised directive also includes UG, since the apparently unseemly and distasteful practices in our only institution of higher education in the presence of the young university undergraduate trainees cannot and must not be tolerated.”
We had already complied with the Presidential requests over three years ago by presenting cases of blatant improprieties and abnormalities at UG in the press, and have done so several times since then. But so far we have not seen any action by officialdom. Hence we would like to remind President Bharrat Jagdeo and his PPP Government of their promises. We do not want people to think that the words of the President and the PPP Government of Guyana do not have any value.
Briefly, others and I have written a few times on the question of financial accountability at UG. This is particularly important in light of the fact that Guyana’s financial resources are scarce and limited and must therefore be well managed.
The case in particular that I am talking about is the supposed renovations of the biology labs (Pre-Aug. 2001– to my arrival) at UG. So far the UG’s administration and/or the relevant authorities have not responded to the previously raised questions.
The UG admin is silent, the PNCR Parliamentarians are silent, the UG Council is silent, and the PPP Government is silent. No voice of decency in the land.
So far no response was made and no consequences ever meted out to the perpetrators who stole from the youths of Guyana!
Because the EU money was not spent at UG on the intended developmental purposes, no further grants came. UG suffered. Money usually does not go to corrupt people, places and institutions. We have just seen that people are wary to help the Pakistani Flood victims because of the reputation for corruption by the Pakistani Government.
President Jagdeo was recently able to reprimand UG’s faculty who were late with their marks. More recently, President Jagdeo has taken to publicly and inappropriately malign Mr. Freddie Kissoon about his academic publication record. The sums of money taken from the UG project constitute a serious crime which occurred under the watch of his Presidential choice of VC and admin. Yet President Jagdeo is silent.
The message was loud and clear the President’s or PPP’s chosen personnel could do whatever they want. The Faithfull’s bungling incompetence and corruption only became magnified, since they know that President Jagdeo’s PPP elite are above the law. The doctrine of the “Paramountcy of the Party” prevails. This was not supposed to happen again.
We are still waiting for answers from UG admin and the President Jagdeo PPP Government.