Is NICIL above the constitution?
Either President Donald Ramotar is being improperly advised or he is proving rather quickly and early on in his presidency that he is actually no different from or better than his predecessor when it comes to being accountable with public funds. I mean, leadership issues are one thing, but money issues? Come on, man!
While I remain troubled by the stout defence of many pro-government folks that the billions of dollars from NICIL transactions do not have to be placed in the Consolidated Fund, even as constitutional clauses are cited showing all revenues must be placed in the CF, it was when the President jumped into the fray, head first, and repeated the same misguided line of reasoning that I realized change and hope are highly improbable.
Thanks to Messrs Sasenarine Singh and Nigel Hinds, among others, we learned that, Article 216 of the Guyana Constitution clearly states: “All revenues or other moneys raised or received by Guyana shall be paid into and form one Consolidated Fund.”
Now, do we really need to go to court and have a judge help us define what ‘revenues’ really mean? Is this what this dictatorial and corrupt PPP regime really wants, another court defeat? Or is this pending court defeat the main excuse the PPP is looking for to attach snap general elections to long overdue local government elections?
How can a government anywhere sell people’s assets and not place the receipts from such sales into a fund or account that is subjected to legislative scrutiny or have such receipts reflected in the annual expenditures and estimates of the nation? All government departments and agencies that rake in monies from business transactions have to do this, but not NICIL?
By the President’s logic, NICIL can sell off Guyana to China and Russia and the monies never be turned over to the people of Guyana or the sales not reflected in our National Budget or even be subjected to scrutiny by Parliament, the highest decision making forum of the country.
NICIL is above Parliament, is essentially what President Ramotar is ill-advisedly and misguidedly stating. Is the Attorney-General still providing the President with legal counsel?
Mr. Editor, on Monday, the US Government reportedly announced ‘it expects proceeds of $5.8 billion from its latest offering of shares in American International Group (AIG), the insurance company it acquired as part of the government bailout of the insurer in 2008, at the height of the financial crisis’. The AIG rescue was said to be the largest U.S. government bailout of a private company in history.
The story being referred to here is not exactly the same, but the principle holds steady. The US Government took US$182B in taxpayers’ money from the US Treasury and plunked it down into the largest US insurance company during the 2008 financial crisis, and the insurance company recovered to the point where it decided to repay the US government. The government, in turn, is seeking to give the money back to the people via stocks being sold from AIG.
I repeat: The money the US government used to bail out AIG belonged to the American people and so it has to be returned to the American people or the US Treasury. In Guyana, the assets sold by NICIL belong to Guyanese people, and so all monies should be placed into accounts held by the Guyana Treasury. Anything else is an avenue for corruption, to which the PPP regime is no stranger!
I sense a court fight coming and this is going to be an easy win…again…for the people of Guyana!