-GM instructs manager to hide
Management and security of a controversial $69M Corriverton office of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) denied entry to media workers on Tuesday claiming that they had received orders from “higher up”.
The branch manager, Louise Bryan, was seen hiding at the back of the building. This raised even more questions over the secrecy and attempts to keep out the media.
The cost of the one-flat building has been raising eye-brows since Government commissioned the office on August 22, last.
Kaieteur News had published photographs of three homes that it had built for staffers at a cost of some $7M each.
The newspaper had requested from Dr. Roger Luncheon, the Chairman of NIS, the bill of quantities of the Corriverton branch. He promised to deliver the bill of quantities but then back-pedaled and said that the newspaper will have to deliver the bills of quantities and other information on the homes before NIS hands over what it has.
Kaieteur News last week handed over four files, representing information of monies spent on materials for the four homes, and later that day, the Office of the President, where Dr. Luncheon works, sent over an Engineer’s Estimate which said the project would cost $50.6M.
However, later that evening, Dr Luncheon who is also the Head of the Presidential Secretariat, issued a statement and said that the receipts representing monies spent on the four KN homes did not meet the requirements of the information asked for by the Office of the President. It was unclear what he meant last week.
At the commissioning, Dr Luncheon and Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh, disclosed that the commissioned building which was built from scratch saw $69M being spent.
Yesterday, to verify how the money was spent, Kaieteur News Publisher Glenn Lall, his Editor-in-Chief Adam Harris, and reporters were in Corriverton to see first hand how the $69M was spent.
Visitors to the building were allowed to freely enter and leave with no apparent checks by the security officials there.
However, upon recognizing Lall and Harris, the security guard whose name was given as Gravesande, immediately padlocked the gates and said he was not allowing them in.
He warned that only legitimate visitors transacting business would be allowed in and threatened to call the police. When told that he should call the police since NIS is a public facility, he declined.
The media workers were eventually told that orders had come from Georgetown from the General Manager, Doreen Nelson, not to allow them in.
Another female security guard was seen running constantly to the back of the building.
A cameraman decided to follow.
A woman, later determined to be Louise Bryan, the Branch Manager, was seen peering nervously around the side of the building. The female security guard was overheard telling her that the media were told that she is in a meeting and were not being allowed in.
They then noticed the cameraman, and both Bryan and the female security guard hastily retreated into a nearby official residence.
To further prevent the reporters from entering, the security guards even took the visitors to a back gate.
Neighbours who refused to go on record too were highly critical of the cost.
“This is the talk of the area. This thing cost too much.”
It was the same comment around Corriverton and as far as Crabwook Creek.
According to one prominent businessman, the project should not have cost more than $15M.
“Is better I had bid on it too. Something not right. I could build six like that.”
Many neighbours came out to watch the media workers being refused entry.
Kaieteur News is continuing to study the information it has on the building and will be releasing the information on it shortly.
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