I wanted to write today about the full house from the Trinidadian business sector who attended Friday evening’s Guyana Investor Outreach in Port-of-Spain, at which I was among a Ministerial Team. The over 200-strong attendees represented a “who’s who” in business in the twin-island republic.
The event itself was a powerful show of confidence in Guyana, even whilst a three-man opposition rump was on a picket line outside the Hyatt Hotel, protesting against house-to-house registration of electors and for fresh elections within sixty days.
Though the protest turned out to be a damp squib, the Trinidad-based, international journalist, Mark Wilson, wrote in Friday’s Daily Express that an election by September 18 “is going to be ultra-tight”.
Arrangements, he added, have to stretch to the remote interior. There is staff to train, ballots to print, and a 32-day period from nominations to the poll.
LAST LIST LAPSED
Wilson who has been tracking events in Guyana, noted that GECOM has to decide what happens with the voters’ list, about which he said:
“The last list lapsed at the end of April. It contains 633,156 names. The voting age population of Guyana is around 455,000. Perhaps 40 percent of the list have died or migrated.”
He stated that while President Granger has been insistent that credible elections require a new list, the opposition is saying that the old list needs a fast-track clean-up.
“Two months is not a lot for even the fastest of fast-track clean-ups,” the journalist concluded.
It is clear that the campaign of the opposition PPP inside and well as outside Guyana, lacks credibility and support. This explains the resort to insolent, crude and rude attacks against Caribbean governments and the Georgetown-based CARICOM Secretariat. There is a racist angle to this that I will take up at another time.
WHAT I SAID
But I need to nail the nagging “lying” campaign against me by the proprietors of Linden Holding Inc. and the New GPC Inc. in relation to recent remarks that I had made at the opening of a new storage bond for government’s medical supplies. The transcript of the relevant portions of what I said is as follows:-
“…After we got into office in 2015, we were confronted with a situation where we had to find a bond, and find a bond quickly.
We were using at one of the locations, in fact, a bond belonging to the New GPC – a private outfit. And we were informed that the proprietors wanted their bond back, and in a hurry. So I spoke to Dr. Bobby Ramroop myself, and said, “Please, we will be in a problem trying to find a location at short notice to store our pharmaceutical supplies and these have to be stored in very refined and specific conditions”. I pleaded with him to consider whether he could make available even a piece of his bond for use by government…
“Now I am telling you this because there is always a part of history that you must know: that it was out of necessity, absolute necessity when we were pushed against the wall, that we had to find a storage place for our medical supplies. We found a place, and there was a big controversy about what you now refer to as the Sussex Street Bond, more or less a house that was converted into a bond, because we had to store our supplies somewhere.
“So at that time, when the newspapers started to hit at the government that we had gotten a bond that wasn’t fit to be a bond, and we got a 6 for a 9, we accepted that was what we could have settled for at short notice. It wasn’t the best of deals.”
WHO ARE THE LIARS?
The businessman who rented the building to the Government clearly misinterpreted what I had said, and launched a nasty, vicious, and defamatory media campaign against me. Several full-page ads were published, with the libel repeated and republished that I had “personally benefitted” from his largesse. It was clear that the landlord was accusing me with taking bribes or kick-backs from his businesses, which I vehemently deny as untrue.
Then on July 14, the Guyana Times published a malicious and libelous article under the heading, “Moses Nagamootoo lied about pharmaceutical storage”. It quoted Dr. Ranjisingh Ramroop, the CEO of New GPC Inc, who “emphatically denied that any such conversation with Nagamootoo had taken place”.
I re-affirm that I did speak, and at length, with Dr. Ramroop, and that I did receive from him a follow-up letter from New GPC, dated 19th July, 2016. It states, inter alia:
“Further to your discussion with Dr. Ramroop, kindly see attached details of New GPC’s warehouse facility at Ruimveldt, Georgetown.”
It was signed by R. Ravie Ramcharitar, General Manager.
I have never said that the Sussex Street building was not fit to be a bond. I was aware that WHO and PAHO are NOT certifying agencies and that they did not issue any clearance of the fitness of the premises at the time when a Cabinet Sub-Committee visited the facility. When the drugs bond issue erupted in the National Assembly, a Parliamentary delegation also inspected the facility. Their reports tell their own story, about which I now reserve further comments.
So far, I have ignored the yapping of petty political puppies at my heels. But I take issue with those who impute that I am a liar, and that I am corrupt.
It is evident that both of the proprietors of the Sussex Street Bond and New GPC Inc. have made false and damaging statements against me.
They now have an opportunity of doing the right thing. Further, I say not.
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