May 07, 2012 Letters
Whoever is the Peeping Tom that wrote the column, “The world is not waiting on Guyana to solve its political problems,” (KN, May 6), needs a reality check about the reason for the parliamentary opposition cutting the entire GY$18B from the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS).
As I adverted to in a letter last week to KN, LCDS was supposed to be launched with financing from abroad. First, it was supposed to be US$580M a year, according to the NY-based McKinsey consultancy group, followed by the US4250M over five years from Norway, and then whatever monies other countries would pony up as the years go by. This highly anticipated foreign financing for LCDS is not happening as expected!
For this reason, Guyana cannot afford to be tapping into its treasury to finance LCDS to make up for that loss, and LCDS, therefore, should be placed on the back burner until foreign funding becomes available.
Peeping Tom also ventured that the link between LCDS and the Amalia Falls Hydroelectric Project (AFHEP) is more than about the sourcing of financing, but while that may be arguably true in so far as the outcome of the general vision of the two is concerned, we cannot ignore the fact that, neither project has a future if there is no source to their life.
We know, based on reportage, where AFHEP will get its financing from: China, Sithe Global, IDB and Guyana. But where is the financing for LCDS? Finance Minister Ashni Singh factored in the anticipated US$70M (GY$14B) from Norway into last year’s Budget and Guyana never received the money, so that money (GY$14B), which was spent, was actually borrowed from the treasury and never repaid!
Peeping Tom would also have us believe that because the political opposition asked Norway to demand accountability and transparency from the PPP government on the spending of the monies to be received for LCDS that the opposition is responsible for the money not coming as expected. Essentially, it boils down to: blame the political opposition! What arrant nonsense!
Is Peeping Tom saying that Norway and or the World Bank/IDB would simply go with the political opposition’s word without fact-checking the opposition’s concerns? Isn’t there sufficient evidence, as per constant news reportage by KN and SN and in the Auditor-General’s annual reports about corrupt practices that went unresolved and unchanged year after year under the Jagdeo regime?
So when Peeping Tom writes, “So the opposition can play their silly games. The country as a whole will suffer and the people will know that Guyana did not get on the fast track to development because of the opposition’s antics in parliament,” the writer has been fact-checked and reality-checked and found wanting. It is not the political opposition that is ‘playing games’; rather, it is the government that refuses to clean up its corrupt act!
And so, instead of lying through his or her teeth by saying that, “political problems between the government and the opposition now place this entire strategy in doubt; (and) sadly, while the world is not waiting on Guyana,” Peeping Tom should go a step further and tell Guyanese that unchecked corruption in government is the main reason why the Norway funds are not forthcoming from the WB’s GRIF account.
He or she should also go to the Office of Climate Change and ask for a breakdown of the verifiable figures for monies spent on LCDS projects and programs for 2011; the year that Ashni Singh budgeted GY$14B for LCDS operations, in anticipation of the two tranches valued US$70M to be released from the WB’s GRIF account, but was never released.
Why should Guyanese be financially saddled with a vision that is supposed to financially sourced to foreign countries? We already have not been repaid the US$70M we spent last year, so why borrow a fresh GY$18B this year, and we don’t even know what it will be spent on?
Go ahead, Peeping Tom, get the facts and figures from OCC on LCDS, and while you are at it, find out how many people actually worked in OCC on LCDS, and what each person got paid, so we can see how much of the money went to projects and programs and how much went to labor costs? Break it down for us, please, because breaking down facts and figures or being transparent and accountable is definitely not the PPP regime’s forte.
No, I am not against any development plan that makes dollars and sense; I am against PPP apologists thinking Guyanese are stuck on stupid!
AUBREY NORTON FRIGHTEN RENEGOTIATION AND RING-FENCING
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