In local lingo, when someone proves that your point is unworthy of discussion because it is stupid, they say that “de man dis yuh.” Well, it looks like Bharrat Jagdeo “dis” Robeson Benn. Jagdeo frowned on Benn’s explanation of why Pradoville 2 was built.
When SOCU, last week, interviewed some former PPP Ministers on the creation of Pradoville 2, Benn explained that the project was done for security reasons.
He stated that against the backdrop of the crime wave, which took the life of Sash Sawh, the government engineered Pradoville 2 to provide security for the Cabinet. In making his pronouncement, he thought he was smart. The state is contending that Pradoville 2 was an extravaganza that involved question possession of state resources.
I accept that point. I believe that there is a precedent for prosecution in an example from Belize that found its way to the Caribbean Court of Justice.
Benn introduced a legal novelty that on the surface seems to have bolstered the security pretext. If the President and his Cabinet are facing assassination attempts then the state will build fortresses for them and the expenses will be justified. But the reasoning of Benn had a dangerous flaw that played into the hands of SOCU. Jagdeo quickly detected its self-destructive inherency and “dis” Benn.
SOCU interrogators were bound to ask why some ministers accepted the protection of the Pradoville 2 sanctuary yet moved out after selling their homes for a super profit earning. Even a trainee detective could see that was incriminating evidence that the prosecutors will have an enjoyable moment with.
The SOCU officers had another strong point in their favour, which the prosecutors would have relished. If Pradoville 2 was not an act of personal aggrandizement through the use of state resources but was a security policy of the state, why some financially comfortable expatriates were given state lands way below market rates? Just one example should suffice – Dr. Compton Bourne.
Bourne seemed to have shared a close relation with President Jagdeo who bestowed on him Guyana’s highest national award – Order of Excellence. This caricature stills angers me. You can literally cite more than a dozen names of excellent Guyanese, who have made fantastic contributions to Guyana over and above those of Bourne, who deserve that accolade. When Bourne received the award, he had long migrated from Guyana.
At the time Bourne was assigned a house lot at Pradoville 2, he was president of the Caribbean Development Bank whose salary must have been on par with top CEOs around the world.
The prosecutors would have definitely enquired why, if security was the dominant preoccupation of the government, were a few lots not parceled out to high ranking officers of the police and army whose presence in Pradovile could only had a mollifying effect on ministers who feared for their lives.
Jagdeo and the other Pradoville 2 beneficiaries must have been cussing down Benn, terribly, when he mouthed off his security rationale. They knew the explanation handed the prosecutors a winning case. So Jagdeo lambasted Benn telling the media he, Jagdeo doesn’t know where Benn got his story from; security was never the reason for the birth of Pradoville 2.
Jagdeo however, isn’t as smart as he thinks; well you can’t blame him for thinking that he is. He speaks endlessly on the legitimacy of the Pradoville 2 project but doesn’t answer related questions.
The Bourne connection, the Bourne Identity and the Bourne Legacy must be answered. Why would the president offer a piece of prime real estate that is state property to the President of the Caribbean Bank of Development at a fantastic cut rate price? Why overlook literally countless good men and excellent women who live in Guyana and served Guyana faithfully?
What about the son of Minister Nanda Gopaul who on his return, took up a house at Pradoville 2. Were there deserving doctors who stayed and work in Guyana? The answer is yes. Aren’t these persons more entitled to the concession than Gopaul’s son and Bourne? The answer is yes. The Pradoville 2 scandal is oceanic evidence that Bharrat Jagdeo was a depraved leader who played with the resources of this country as if it were his private playground.
His nephew-in-law, Robert Persaud, built a house at Pradoville 2.
The same Persaud got a radio station licence and sold it for $90 million to a Trinidadian conglomerate. This man gave away Guyana to friends, family and relatives.
He should be prosecuted. But wait! The man wanted to lead Guyana again until the Caribbean Court of Justice said, “You shall not.”
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