I was utterly bemused at the statements made by David Patterson at the AFC’s Candidates Expo at their headquarters at the Kitty Railway Embankment. He clearly extolled the ‘accomplishments’ of the Coalition Government in the Public Telecommunications Ministry and the Public Infrastructure as belonging solely to the AFC Ministers but failed to recount the dismal failures.
In his uncharacteristic vitriolic and egocentric speech, he said that, ‘People complaining that the AFC ministers are going into regions and saying that the community projects that Government done, we are claiming (them) as our contribution. Any road I build, you tell them is David Patterson from AFC build it, and we have to walk the walk. We are too modest to take our credit.’ I wish to draw Patterson’s attention to the fact that on more than one occasion, it was highlighted at the RDC meeting that an AFC Executive member is going around promising residents in various communities the installation of streetlights building and repairing of roads and taking credit for the works done by the RDC. This is to garner votes at the upcoming LGE. I must remind him also that residents were asked to place their signatures to request these infrastructures, which were later used to support the AFC candidates on the backers form.
Moreover, I want to ask him to also take full credit for the numerous instances of reported cases of corruption and substandard works on ‘his roads’. The East Bank Berbice Road is a prime example. This road’s foundation is in constant digging, refilling and re-digging and each time, the expensive road filling stuffs removed are transported by the MoPI lorry to the fill the yards of AFC members. Please check opposite the Albion Police station your executive member has his yard filled with the stuff and the yard of the other AFC TV star in Canje. Moreover, it is alleged that crusher run and other road building materials are sold to private contractors. It would seem that this is a deliberate and corrupt act since in the first place the MoPI should have realized that the engineering design was faulty. This faulty area is from Edinburg to Glasgow Village. In addition to this, the MoPI is using a defective asphalt spreader, which was purchased to do this East Bank Road which is leaving more waves on the road than the nearby Berbice River!
This road should have been done at a cost of $1.2 billion and according to the engineering design of the IDB but it is now clear that this design was not followed and from all indications, this allocation will not be enough to bring that road to completion since the corruption is galloping in all directions. Can the Minister say what sums have already been spent and when this project will be completed? I am sure that more money will have to be ‘spread’ on this road! This Minister should also take full credit for the breach of the Procurement Act in the award of the new Demerara Harbour Bridge Project study. He illegally gave contractors $148 million dollars to do that study.
The Minister of Public Security could not have bragged about his achievements in that Sector so he directed his full focus on the PPP. He went further than what he said on a TV station in Berbice. He advised his paltry gathering of AFC candidates that if they are ‘harassed’ by the PPP members, then they should call him on his cell phone and he will get the police to deal with them. It seems that this minister is now in charge of the operations of the GPF and not only the formulation of policies! Should this minister then not give each and every citizen his personal number so that they can call him when their homes and businesses are pillaged by bandits? Already in four days of this week, Berbice is assaulted by four daring and brutal robberies. In addition, should he not also call on the GPF to investigate the numerous instances of electoral fraud perpetrated by his Party?
The ‘Champion’ of the sugar workers and the subject Minister also failed to take credit for the AFC’s handiwork in the sugar industry and the corruption and retrogression of the rice industry. The Panama rice fiasco is threatening that lucrative market. We are now importing rice to keep our foreign markets alive. The drastic reduction of the contribution of Agriculture to the GDP was spared the agony of being mentioned at this ‘fit and proppa’ gathering!
Lastly, Patterson’s advice to his membership should be heeded with some concern. He vehemently told his membership that, ‘If war break, defend yourself at all times. I don’t believe in turning the next cheek’. Is this his version of ‘slow fyah mo fyah’? Is this the speech of a responsible Minister of Government, a Campaign Manager and the General Secretary of his Party? The AFC’s ghost sure knows how to scare! The AFC’s campaign is so ‘fit and proppa’ that they have now withdrawn from contesting over 10 NDC areas!
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