By Latoya Giles
Leader of the Alliance for Change Khemraj Ramjattan says that his party condemns what it considers as the corrupt deal for the construction of the Specialty Hospital, further calling for its halting and retendering.
Ramjattan at a party press conference yesterday said that he noted the recent remarks by the Attorney General, Anil Nandlall, that the Specialty Hospital construction by Surendra Engineering will proceed in the near future, with the latest addendum of an un-named construction consultancy to supervise proceedings.
Ramjattan said he sees this new development as wholly outrageous and dangerous for a number of reasons. Firstly, he said that if government is to proceed with construction when the National Assembly had voted against further funding at this time, that would be rendering majority decisions in that august body meaningless.
He said that it would be very provocative and may result in consequences that will be detrimental to the country as a whole. “One must recall that it was the Attorney General who brought a court action on this matter; that is the right of parliament to cut the budget.”
According to Ramjattan since that matter is still before the courts, the AG should be chastened not to proceed with the project in the absence of Parliamentary approval.
Moreover, Ramjattan said that government seems not too concerned about the questionable awarding of the Specialty Hospital contract to a company which never built anything coming close to a hospital.
“This government hasn’t learnt an iota from the Fip Motilall (Amaila Road) fiasco” Ramjattan stressed.
He said that the suggestion of them using an un-named construction consultancy is only to disguise the real likelihood that there will not be a successful completion of the contract.
He added that it has been brought to the attention of the AFC that both the Government of India and the Indian EXIM Bank are very concerned about Surendra Engineering being awarded the contract when it has no history of hospital construction, its price was higher, and to date cannot get an open letter of credit or get a proper Performance Guarantee signed.
Ramjattan said that if one is to bypass these concerns, especially the capacity to construct and equip the Specialty Hospital with state-of-the-art instruments, the Government of Guyana through its Attorney General, has created this un-named construction consultancy to give the impression to the Government of India and the EXIM Bank that all is now well with the Project; hence, advances can be disbursed.
Ramjattan said that the proclivity of the government to go ahead with multi-million-dollar projects while it refuses to participate in establishing the constitutionally required oversight body, the Public Procurement Commission, leaves open the door to corruption and mismanagement of the people’s money. Ramjattan yesterday also reiterated the party’s call for the immediate establishment of the Public Procurement Commission.
Earlier in the year, the parliamentary opposition during the considerations of the estimates decided to reduce to $0 the total allocation of $1.25 billion that was budgeted in the 2013 National budget for the construction of the Specialty Hospital.
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