“Cock and Bull story”
The recent public meetings that the AFC has been having in many parts of the country are highlighting a trend of rising anger of the poor and the working class against the ruling PPP cabal. This trend is quite noticeable in the sugar belt. It is our humble political calculation that if such anger had existed during the 2011 elections campaign, the PPP would not have been in Government. Therefore, all this loose talk of “snap elections” can be a blessing in disguise for any political force that is on the path of exposing the wanton corruption and executive lawlessness that continues unabated under the minority PPP Government today.
The latest of these AFC public meeting at Port Morant, Berbice was quite a revelation. The members of the working class who attended (mainly cane cutters, ordinary workers and their families) have informed us of the continued suffering today as a result of the oppressive system, especially on the sugar estates, where a few have most of the benefits and the majority have to settle for the crumbs. To add insult to their injury, they continue to face floods on their own with little if any support from the Government. These floods severely affect their main financial support during the “crop over” season in the form of their gardens and poultry stocks. The people are so consumed with survival that the PPP’s “Goebbels styled” propaganda is the last thing on their minds.
Since the start of 2012, the PPP has not put any additional loaf of bread on the people’s table and they are fully up to speed on who is resisting the 10% wages increase for the workers. No amount of propaganda can destroy that fact. We believe that President Ramotar is being ill-advised and plead with him to seek alternative advice on the wages increase for the workers. It is imperative for his political survival.
The people continue to tell our leaders how much they appreciate the fight by the AFC to release the G$50 billion from NICIL and to cut the fat for the “big fishes” out of the Budget to secure enough funding to pay a 10% increase NOW. Not next year or the year after but NOW.
The recent pronouncement by Mr. Brassington that NICIL has only $700 million has sent shockwaves throughout THE NATION. This pronouncement has cemented the loss of credibility in the NICIL Board. Where are all the privatization proceeds and the dividends from state companies deposited in that company? This NICIL affair is shaping up to be the largest “Madoff-type fraud” on the people.
In desperation, NICIL claims that Moses Nagamootoo and Christopher Ram benefited from portions of the $50 billion but all and sundry know that is a “red-herring” to distract and distort the real issue. What the NICIL Board has failed to tell the nation is who else benefited from the largesse at NICIL and by what amounts. When the Ram and Nagamotoo earnings from NICIL are compared to what the big PPP fishes got from NICIL, we will be comparing peanuts from Ram and Nagamootoo vs. the whole cow for the PPP fat cats. We challenge NICIL to publish all the facts on who got what. Why single out Ram and Nagamootoo, what happen to the Ramkarrans and the Nandlalls?
In addition, to answer that question, in this season of questions, the NICIL Board must come clean on the following questions:
1. Did NICIL foot the bill of G$280 million to re-route the sewer under the proposed site of the Marriot Hotel, a private investment?
2. Did NICIL foot the bill of G$400 million in design fees for the Marriot Hotel, a private investment?
3. Is NICIL going to foot the bill of G$3.8B in sub-ordinate loans and equity in the Marriot Hotel project, a private investment?
4. Is NICIL guaranteeing a G$5.4B loan to fund the construction of the Marriot Hotel, a private investment?
We have only released a small subset of the information at the disposal of the AFC on the Ponzi scheme called NICIL and the taxpayers can immediately get an insight that the figure of G$50 billion is a real number that the NICIL Board is trying its best to evaporate from the minds of the Guyanese people.
NICIL is a government company with an estimated $50 billion in public assets and taxpayers have a right to know what has become of their money. Does NICIL Board really believe that the people are buying their “cock and bull story” that the government is not doing anything illegal by having the $50 billion of taxpayers’ money in secret accounts or underwriting private investment like the Marriot Hotel Project?
The mistrust has reached such a level that until and unless audited accounts with a full listing of all the revenue stream between 2004 to 2011 are released, nothing coming from the Board of NICIL can be treated as credible information. The people want to know where this G$50 billion is invested and if these investment have been sanctioned by the representatives of the people in the Parliament, the real owners of the funds?
We are urging the NICIL Board to come clean and tell the people the truth about the missing $50 billion of taxpayers’ money and work with the majority in Parliament to invest these fund in national assets like a transportation link between Linden and Lethem rather than in a multitude of private investment to benefit key players in the Jagdeo cabal.
Anything else is a recipe for continuous confrontation between the people and the PPP.
Dr Asquith Rose and Sasenarine Singh