Sep 24, 2021 Editorial
Kaieteur News – Guyanese live with a different culture today, thrill to the personal satisfactions that come from what is now the local modus operandi. It is called the blame game, where nobody takes responsibility for anything anymore. It is always the fault of the other side in the situation. We offer one remarkable example, which should convey just how bad things are, how far the peoples have fallen apart, and the lengths to which they will go to pull the wool over the eyes of naïve and longsuffering Guyanese. There is so little by way of personal or collective pride, so much lacking in individual dignity. Whatever happened to the simple decency, the long-ago honesty, for which Guyanese were known?
The most recent example of the Guyana style blame game is a messy matter, one which grows messier by the day, with clashing news developments. KN first reported the story of possible hidden corruption to favour cronies of the PPP Government involving steel sheets, where the same needed steel sheets were retendered four times. On the face of it alone, such an action opens the door to the worst of suspicions. After all, honest and conscientious Guyanese know that we are not dealing with saints here, and this is no matter how much this one or the other one protest. In fact, the louder they protest, the more they make matters worse, the more waters get muddier.
First, the Ministry of Agriculture (Ministry) and one of its departments, the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) took offense at what we had termed the likelihood of collusive and corrupt practices, which could favour friends and comrades, to the detriment of the rightful winner(s) of the bid for the supply of these steel sheets. Both the Ministry and the NDIA were all righteous indignation, offering supporting extracts of chapter and verse from the Procurement Act 2003, which were held out as removing any finger-pointing or suspicion at either state entity. The thrust of the Ministry’s and the NDIA’s position was that it is the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) which is responsible for any such retendering decision and process. We reasonably thought that getting to the real facts and circumstances surrounding this retendering action (four times for the same project) was drawing closer. Well, it was not to be, with more information from another source to add to the already prevailing thick darkness relative to these steel sheets.
For, it soon came out that the NPATB was having none of what was being dumped on its head by the NDIA and Ministry. According to NPTAB, it is the procuring entity that makes any such decision about advertising and retendering, and takes all associated actions, for whatever reasons. In essence, the procuring entity is the body that reviews, redecides, and initiates any restarts, such as through the mechanism of retendering. This new development from NPTAB, very clear in and of itself, with its own corroborating authoritative extracts from that same Procurement Act 2003 used by the NDIA and Ministry have us looking at one set of public servants, then another, as we at this publication wonder what is going on here.
Without casting any aspersions, or jumping to any judgments, a couple of things could be said. They are both fair and reasonable, all circumstances considered, especially when due consideration is given to the corrupt way of life that is the now dominant standard in Guyana. It is said that even the devil can quote scripture to suit his purposes, a familiar one to most Guyanese. The scripture in this murky matter is the Procurement Act 2003. Now, what is still unclear is how many devils have their hands in this molasses mix of a retender, and which one or group is the real devil amidst the clashing narratives. One does not have to be a preacher to appreciate that the devilish is at work or a police officer to determine that some skullduggery is in motion with this retendering fiasco.
We do not need a university degree to educate us on life in public service Guyana today. Neither should any Guyanese. Who is responsible for this retendering? Who benefits? That’s all, folks.
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