More questions and no answers

March 7, 2013 | By | Filed Under Features / Columnists, Peeping Tom 

It is not surprising that the government continues to convey the impression that the independent media have an unrelenting agenda, aimed at unseating it and creating an environment of unease. Of course, using such a defence is the easy way out. It garners sympathy and requires very little in terms of substantive explanation.
Kaieteur News merely seeks truthful and believable answers. These have not been forthcoming. It is and has been the nature of the beast.
The simple truth is that the enormous benefits gained from the vulgar levels of corruption and unrestrained abuse of power has now become addictive. It is disturbing, if not dangerous.
The ‘good life’ has so embedded itself in the minds of those in political authority, that they are quite satisfied to remain in a state of denial for the sole purpose of living large, by any means necessary.
Why else would there be so many laughable and absolutely embarrassing attempts to justify all the illogical decisions and inexplicable commitments that are not only emptying our treasury, but creating unimaginable debt?
For example, the nation’s administrators want us to accept blindly that a Marriott-branded hotel, into which billions of your dollars is being pumped, is profitable and an absolute necessity.
Is it? So why is the government so anxious to break-off from its so-called “partnership”? And why aren’t its public ‘partners’ enthusiastic about stepping forward boldly and telling us their extravagant  plans for our tourism industry?
Why? Because the real objective has been to illegally use your hard-earned money to build the hotel and then to ‘legally’ pass it on to those who were in a position to hatch the devious plan in the first place.
Consider this. There is a massive government-owned building (an intended major hotel) that is in an advanced state of construction aback of Princess Hotel at Providence. We ask. Would it not have cost significantly less to finish that edifice, even if it requires extensions, and let it serve the same purpose?
But before this, there was the contentious Sanata Complex deal, which saw numerous concessions being granted, and laws being passed after the fact to legalise that which had been proven to be irregular.
What about ‘Fip’ Motilall being awarded a US$15.4M road contract, despite Kaieteur News providing proof that he had absolutely no prior experience or know-how? Despite having his contract terminated, the so-called contractor, who was previously of modest means, walked away at least US$10M richer after selling the licence to Sithe Global. His validity was argued from beginning to end by the administration. Must we not question such judgment?
The CLICO fiasco saw lawlessness and money squandering beyond measure. The public remains none the wiser as to what exactly took place.
NIS, which has been running at a deficit for years now, invested $6billion in CLICO and lost it all. Yet the media was spoken to dismissively for trying to get to the bottom of the apparent free-for-all.
The US$200M Skeldon factory, commissioned three years ago, and the US$12M Enmore packaging plant have been scandals. The numerous explanations and excuses have never been convincing.
And then there is the US$150M Airport expansion project at Timehri. The imminent Delta pull-out supports our view that the venture, if not totally without merit, is risky at best. The taxpayers again feel the squeeze. Should we not highlight this?
How about those GPL generators for which the annual rent is as much as new sets would cost? Will this wanton waste never end?
The GPL convinces the man-in-the-street about the crucial need for an independent fibre optic cable, and tells taxpayers that they sought the very best price. Cheap, they say. But we are not told of the astronomical cost to lay the cable – several times more than the item. Is this not deception?
What about the advertised multi-million-dollar projects in far-flung areas which no one can properly account for, and in some cases, have never been completed. Is it not our duty to question this?
Is it not pertinent to ask why roadways are deteriorating weeks after being built or rehabilitated?
A $600 million structure sits unoccupied at Princes and High Streets in Georgetown. Could that money not have been used more effectively? Is it wrong to ask?
Why would an admittedly poor country, which is already in heavy debt, invest in a hydropower project that will eventually (long term interest and inflation considered) cost taxpayers a mind-boggling two billion dollars?
Only a chosen few among us know the reason.
Why must taxpayers be made to believe that shares in Hand-in-Hand Trust were not a worthwhile investment, when the government official who is the custodian of their money, and who has the first option, encourages his sibling to invest wholeheartedly?
Why is it seen as having an agenda when it is queried why money that should go to the Consolidated Fund is not directed there?
And why do statistics provided by government and other documentation relevant to taxpayers’ dollars always seem to confuse those on the outside looking in? Is it that only government has financial wizards?
We never get straight answers, but logic is our guide and it serves us well.
We have been accused of targeting certain officials, but what are we to conclude if all of our queries invariably lead to a clique of well-endowed persons?

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