…it is time that the people of Guyana demand accountability – Corbin
Opposition Leader, Robert Corbin, lambasted the ruling administration yesterday over certain projects over the years. He drew specific reference to the current fiasco surrounding the $500M Supenaam Stelling.
Corbin said that the stelling which has now been condemned as “inoperable” and unsafe for use, is the latest example of the People’s Progressive Party Civic regime’s incompetence, corruption and wastage of Guyana’s financial resources throughout its period of existence in Government, ever since 1957.
He said that the inconsistent explanations from the various agencies of the government, and, the “Rip-van-Winkle like” call by President Jagdeo for the Prime Minister “to undertake a formal review of this project, particularly in the specific areas of dispute”, may have been an amusing episode if the resources involved were not the property of the taxpayers of Guyana.
Corbin said that the actions of the “President and his men create” the impression that such shoddy work is an unusual occurrence when, “in fact, such shoddy performance, corruption and unaccountability have been characteristic of the PPP Government since 1957.” The Opposition Leader posited that older Guyanese would remember the infamous, Del Conte road on the East Bank of Essequibo.
“Millions were spent, but nothing was there to show…The squander mania and mismanagement of the British Guiana Rice Marketing Board is another example…Millions of dollars were siphoned off to party supporters until the Board collapsed.”
He said that the younger Guyanese would be au fait with the fiasco of the disappearing or floating wharf at Essequibo.
“Millions of dollars were again spent on constructing a wharf, which disappeared into the Pomeroon River shortly after completion.”
Corbin recalled that the nation was advised that the contractor responsible would have been penalised, “but within months, the very contractor delivered further sub-standard works on contracts awarded to him at Wakenaam, Essequibo Islands.”
The collapse of a koker door recently at Garden of Eden, East Bank Demerara resulted in another blame-game according to Corbin, “but the reality is that these are every day occurrences in Guyana.”
It was pointed out that the sub-standard works being delivered on most Government contracts have been the subject of regular media reports but the government appears satisfied to issue regular statements of the huge amount of money awarded on contracts rather than whether the people of Guyana have had value for money spent.
Speaking specifically of the Supenaam stelling, Corbin noted that the contractor claims that it was built according to the design and in full compliance with all technical specifications.
“They claimed that the sunken pontoon was not part of the design and thus was not built or placed by them, hence they were not the ones who messed up.”
They (Contractor), Corbin reiterated, expressed the view that modification of the structure should not have proceeded without consultation with the design and construction firms.
“They concluded that the project was satisfactorily completed and a Completion Certificate, issued on January 19 last by the employer certifying that all defects, if any, were made good to the satisfaction of the consultants…The structure, they claimed, was successfully tested “in the presence of two ministers of the government and other stakeholders”.
Corbin said that “significantly, the Minister (Robeson Benn), who has earned national recognition for his competence at destruction, took over modification of the stelling and, in his usual style, did an excellent job at that.”
The opposition leader stressed that the said “Minister of Demolition” remained silent for days after the initial exposure, and eventually, accused the contractor of “oligarchic aspirations” and stated that their public statements were simply “eye pass” of him and rude.
“He then claimed that earlier defects as identified by his Ministry had not been addressed by the contractor…Yet, in the same statement, he informs the nation that his Ministry was not responsible for supervision…He went on to say, however, that guided by economic reasons, his Ministry proceeded with the installation of the drawbridge to guarantee the safe offloading and reloading of vehicles, particularly trucks.”
Corbin posited that Guyanese now want to know why a completion certificate was issued. “It is time that the people of Guyana demand accountability.”
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