Dec 16, 2021 News
…$65M alone for Region 5
Kaieteur News – Over the past three years, Governments have increased the security service charge by at least $1 million to respective agencies, however this year the Peoples Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) administration is seeking to take up those charges by as much as $65 million in one Region alone, despite no formal announcement of an increase in wages to the guards.
This is so according to the Opposition Leader, Joseph Harmon who on Wednesday, hosted a virtual press briefing on the finances being sought by the Government, from the Contingency Fund. It must be noted that the Contingency Fund in Guyana, like any other country, is only to be touched for emergency expenses. Nevertheless, Harmon reasoned, “all across the regions we are seeking increase in security charges, but what is the reality? There has been no increase to security guards (salary) since 2018 when the APNU/AFC (A Partnership for National Unity/ Alliance For Change) raised the hourly rate from $300 to $377”.
His Member of Parliament, Ganesh Mahipaul explained to reporters that government is seeking additional monies, from the Contingency Fund, to pay for security charges in three Regions including Regions One, Five and Six. According to Mahipaul, in Region One the sum of $25 million was allocated, while in 2020 there was an increase to $28 million and in 2021 $28 million was also allocated, but the Contingency advance shows that they would have provided an additional $1 million to that programme.
Under another Programme, also for security charges in 2019, the Region received $20 million, and 2020 they got $22 million, but in the 2021 Budget even though they received $25 million, the Government is seeking an additional $3 million from the Contingency Fund.
In the same Region, another programme was allocated $45 million in 2019, $49 million in 2020 and $58 million in 2021, but another $6 million is being sought to cover security charges. Over in Region Five, $172 million was paid for Security services provided to the Department of Education, $176 million in 2020 and in 2021, some $190 million. Even though the costs increased over the last year by $14 million, Government wants a whopping $65 million more to cover these expenses.
Mahipaul said what is happening in Region Six is also worrying. According to him, “In 2019, they had $62 million, 2020 they had $62 million also, 2021 they got $65 million, but from this Contingency advance they are now asking for us to approve $28 million (more)”.
He noted that these numbers must be taken into consideration with the fact that the Contingency Fund permits spending for emergency expenses.
Meanwhile, Harmon pointed to the way in which such contracts are being awarded. “I have spoken to a number of security companies that are in these regions, in particular Region Six, where there seems to be an unusual increase in the cost for security services as (opposed) to Region Four which is much larger, you are finding that the award of security contracts in these regions, they are made not to the lowest bidder, not to the bidder with the most experience but to the friends of the PPP,” he shared.
The Opposition Leader added: “In some cases when you have a bid of $500 million for a contract, the person who bids $900 million gets it, and so you can understand why the guards are not being paid an increase, but the increase in the security charges keep going up and up, because they have to deal with these exorbitant sums that they are paying the security companies that are friends and family of the PPP”.
He was keen to note that Article 220 (1) of our Constitution states that “Parliament may make provision for the establishment of a Contingencies Fund and for authorising the Minister responsible for finance to make advances from that Fund if he or she is satisfied that there is an urgent need for expenditure for which no other provision exists.”
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