Sep 20, 2012 News Comments Off on AFC calls for probe into textbooks orders
….Govt.’s stance tantamount to telling Guyanese to steal
The fallout from Government’s admission that it authorized hundreds of millions of dollars in purchases of photocopied textbooks is continuing.
Yesterday, Alliance For Change (AFC) Parliamentarian and Executive Member, Moses Nagamootoo, called for a probe. He said that it is a clear case of Government openly encouraging Guyanese to steal.
In recent days, the debate over the photocopied textbooks has been raging.
On one hand are the official distributors of textbooks who hold the local rights. On the other side is the government which says it cannot afford to buy the original text books. Instead it has been asking local businesses to supply good copies of the original texts.
Hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent annually for these purchases.
Last week, following protests by local authorized book stores and at least one Trinidad-based publisher over the pre-selection and tendering of bids for photocopied books, an international publishing association described Guyana’s stance as illegal.
During the AFC’s weekly press briefing yesterday, Nagamootoo found it strange that government was finding money to build a Marriott Hotel and casino, yet had little or none for the purchase of textbooks.
“The pirated books are stolen intellectual property and we don’t seem to have a nature of decency anymore that the Cabinet to Guyana could in fact collectively, including the Attorney General, agree to “thief” other people’s work.”
The AFC official said that it is time for revised copyright laws to be passed.
“We must take note that other Caribbean countries like Trinidad, Jamaica and Barbados are protecting their intellectual properties. They are protecting their patents, their designs. Guyana has draft copyright laws since 1999 and nobody thought it wise to bring them forward.”
According to Nagamootoo, the reasons for the delay are clear.
“Why? Because some have benefitted from the violations and undermining of the copyright legislations.”
Nagamootoo, a lawyer by profession, made reference to the discovery of serious problems in the 2010 ordering of textbooks.
Almost $110M, according to the Auditor General’s report of 2010, was granted in contracts for the supply of books. A significant part was found not to have been delivered and cheques were even found to be written months before the contracts were even granted.
“The Minister (Education), Shaik Baksh, said that he did not sign the contract and he did not make the payment.”
That scandal, Nagamootoo said, was never investigated.
“That scandal cries out to be investigated. Now you have Cabinet saying it authorized a contract for people to do photocopies and for them to sell it to the Ministry. In other words, they are saying that there were no irregularities in 2010. We believe that this is an attempt by the Cabinet to whitewash corruption. It is an attempt to evade an investigation into the $110M in 2010 and what went wrong.”
The Parliamentarian stressed that what made it worse is that Government stipulated in bid documents that the books should as much as possible, resemble the original.
“We would become the laughingstock of the world. Jamaica has reggae and they are eager to enforce their patents and registrations rights. Our nation is telling the world we have nothing intellectual to protect and we could open the floodgates to piracy even while, ironically, we are prosecuting those who invade other people’s boats and steal their catches… and we put them before the criminal courts.”
The official argued that the ordering of pirated text books is tantamount to encouraging people to steal other people’s property.
“What is the difference between the pirates in the high seas and the pirates in Vlissengen Road (Office of the President)? This is very serious issue.”
Jun 04, 2020Archery Guyana proudly fielded two archers for the 60X ISOL Remote Shoot Competition held on 31st May, 2020. This was the ninth stage of this novel Virtual Competition where approximately 100 archers...
Jun 04, 2020
Jun 04, 2020
Jun 03, 2020
Jun 03, 2020
Jun 03, 2020
Editor’s Note, If your sent letter was not published and you felt its contents were valid and devoid of libel or personal attacks, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]