According to Executive Member of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA), Dr. David Hinds, the issue of stolen assets is one that is central to the legacy of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP).
He said that there are a number of instances which can prove this; two being the infamous Pradoville Two scandal and the Red House issue.
Of the two, however, Dr. Hinds believes that the Red House matter in terms of recovery is “easy pickings” and perhaps even way down in the pecking order.
He insists that the Pradoville matter which involves the sale of prime lands to those closely connected to the Jagdeo regime at pepper corn rates is not only conniving to say the least but perhaps the king of all stolen assets cases in Guyana’s under the PPP.
The WPA Executive Member said, “The issue of stolen state assets is one that is central to the PPP’s legacy, but because of the present government’s weak-kneed approach to the issue, the PPP has been behaving as if it has been vindicated.
But having said that, the government should not have chosen the Red House as its point of entry; on the scale of things, Red House is low down on the pecking order.”
Dr. Hinds questioned, “Why go after Red House when you have the bigger house in the form of Pradoville? What about all the easy targets unearthed by the audits? The Red House is easy pickings for the PPP; they will make it about Jagan, as they are doing.”
The political activist said that the other important factor is that Red House is used to house the papers of one of the nation’s revered leaders. He opined that when one moves against an institution like that, the case of recovering state assets gets lost in political and ethnic outrage from the other side.
He said that the appearance of evicting the late Dr. Jagan from the building, however justified, is bound to work against the APNU+AFC party politically. The columnist said that this is political ABC.
Dr. Hinds insisted that while the Red House represents the misappropriation of State Resources for private use, it is not as blatant as other instances of graft. He opined that it is not the kind of ugly transfer of resources into private hands as many would have seen coming out of the forensic audits.
He said, “If you are going after political corruption, go where the perpetrators are most vulnerable. Where are the political brains in the government are available to them?”
Dr. Hinds said he was most displeased when he learnt that Minister of Health, Volda Lawrence, and company, recently held a vigil at the Red House in protest against the one that was also being observed by PPP affiliates.
He would rather see a government minister holding a vigil outside the Georgetown Hospital where maternal deaths are prevalent. He said, too, that he would rather see a vigil at Pradoville, which is the real monument of stolen assets.
“Maybe, the Madam Minister (Volda Lawrence) and her team should hold a vigil in front of the Attorney General’s Office urging the speeding up of passage of the legislation for the State Asset Recovery Agency, which would open the way for proper, lawful prosecution of those who are accused of misappropriating state assets,” expressed Dr. Hinds.
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