Dec 15, 2016 News
…$500M to pay off contractors
The government through the Committee of Supply in the National Assembly approved the transfer of $500M to Homestretch Development Inc. to facilitate the payment of outstanding sums of money owed to contractors for works done on D’Urban Park.
In 2016 a total of $479M was allocated to the project bringing the total expenditure to now $979M.
The House and the rest of the nation was informed of this development yesterday during the consideration of the 2017 estimates of revenue and expenditure when Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson was asked to explain the allocation in the 2017 budget of $607M under line item 1214900 – Infrastructural Developments.
When asked by opposition Parliamentarian Juan Edghill to explain how the money will be used, Patterson proceeded to give a detail breakdown of the intended expenditure. However the $500M allocation raised several red flags amongst opposition members.
Edghill rose to his feet again and asked the Minister to provide the House with information as to who will be paid with the money and how much they will be paid and for what are they being paid.
According to Patterson, “Homestretch Development Inc. which was incorporated on January 27, 2016 was a company established to complete the D’Urban Park development project in time for Guyana’s 50th Anniversary through private sector donations and contributions in kind from the public, no public funds were disbursed to the company.”
He went on to say that the company has provided the government with an audited report which states that the company had collect $27.7M in cash donations while contributions in kind were valued at $33,956,000.
The Minister further explained that on November 22, 2016 the company wrote to the Ministry of Finance seeking for it to liquidate its liabilities and following discussions it was decided that this will be done via an allocation in the 2017 budget for the company to offset its liabilities.
He went on to name the persons and entities that made contributions in kind. Some of the donors include Chung’s Global, Car Care, Agri Parts, Courtney Benn Contracting Services, B.K International, Bai Shan Lin, Jagroop General Construction Services, Top Brands, Hopkinson Mining, National Hardware, Pritipaul Singh Investments, Buxton Gas Station, Splashmin’s and Puran Brothers Disposal Services and NABI among others.
As it relates to the creditors whom the company Homestretch Development Inc. owes, the Minister provided the following information:
Opposition Member Edghill asked the Minister as to what process would be employed to transfer the $500M to the private company, Patterson said, “The exact statue or law the previous administration used to transfer $183M to Buddy Shivraj, $38M to the Cacique Hotel, that same statue and law.”
After all questions were answered, Speaker of the House, Dr. Barton Scotland called for a vote for the allocated amounts to be a part of the estimates. However, the opposition asked for a division whereby each individual vote would be counted. At the end of the vote, 32 members voted for the allocation to be passed and 31 voted against.
In a statement issued last evening the People’s Progressive Party Civic accused the government of spending close to one billion dollars illegally on a project which the administration said was funded privately. The opposition is calling on the Auditor General to conduct an immediate forensic audit of all revenues, expenditure and donations received.
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