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“The coalition constructed approximately 165km of roads from 2017 to 2019 at a cost of approximately G$46M per km, the PPP is paying approximately G$92M per km, more than double the cost per km, for half the quality of work. One can only wonder where the extra money is going”- Patterson
Kaieteur News – Since the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) assumed office in 2020, Budgets ensuing have ballooned each year, but less work has been completed. Not only that, but the quality of work being done, has also diminished.
This is according to former Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson.
He used statistics during his contribution to the 2023 Budget Debates to underline his point. Patterson firstly noted that under the Special Projects Unit (SPU) established under the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) more work has been done with one fifth of the Budget, the PPP now has.
Patterson said that in 2017, 410 kilometers (KM) of road works were completed, while in 2018 some 450 KM of roads were done. Another 450 KM were completed in 2019, he said.
Meanwhile, under the PPP in 2020, 175KM of roads were completed and another 420 and 520 in 2021 and 2022 respectively.
According to the Opposition Member of Parliament (MP), this is clearly a case where less money was spent for more work at a better quality.
In making his case, Patterson pointed out, “The Honorable Minister (of Public Works, Juan Edghill), spoke about the extent of Urban roads completed during his tenure, once again, we are grateful on behalf of the citizens of Guyana, for all infrastructural works, but once again, the devil is in the details.”
He pointed out that in 2017, the former Coalition Government completed 20.22 KM of roads, and another 21.1 KM and 16.6KM in 2018 and 2019 respectively. Patterson said this was followed by a mere 6.4 KM of roadwork in 2020 by the PPP and 3.6KM in 2021. In 2022, the administration reportedly completed some 18.13 KM.
Similarly, he noted that the Minister of Public Works mentioned the sum of monies available to the Coalition administration for miscellaneous roads as opposed to the sums disbursed to his ministry from 2020 to 2022. Patterson explained that the then Ministry of Public Infrastructure (MoPI) received according to the Minister G$8.522B as opposed to G$45B.
To this end, the former Minister went into detail comparing the amount of work done by the two governments. Patterson said that while the total roadworks done in these areas exceed the Coalition’s achievements “the devil has always been in the details.”
He said, “The Coalition constructed approximately 165km of roads from 2017 to 2019 at a cost of approximately G$46M per km, the PPP is paying approximately G$92M per km, more than double the cost per km, for half the quality of work – one can only wonder where the extra money is going.”
Further, Patterson reasoned that what makes it worse is that for 2022, only 55 percent of the roads were completed under this program, which means that of the 290km that the Minister boasted of, only 160km has been finished – with the remainder rolled over to 2023.
As it regards expenditure on sea defence structures across the country, the Opposition MP argued that the same phenomenon is evident.
He said that Minister Edghill announced that since coming to office, his Ministry has completed 5.4km of new works, rehabilitated 1km of sea defense and maintained 81.8km of sea defense.
However, in comparing the achievements of the Coalition, he outlined that between 2017 and 2019 13.83km of new works executed, along with 50.3km of rehabilitation works and 253km of maintenance works.
Patterson said that this is comparing “chalk to cheese” as this was real value for money, with no “kickbacks for the boys”. “Mr. Speaker, we did so much more with so much less, and at a higher standard,” he contended.
To close off his presentation, he was keen to highlight that the Ministry of Public Works and the Government by extension have been awarding multimillion-dollar contracts to its friends and families, though the owners have no history of construction background.
“In 2020, you were a race car driver, no worries; you will be awarded a contract under the Ministry of Friends, Family and Favorite. In 2020, you were a dealer in gold and other metals, no worries, you will be awarded a contract under the Ministry of Friends and Favorite. In 2020, you were a Joker on social media, no worries, you will be awarded a contract under the Ministry of Friends and Favorite. In 2020, you were a dancehall promoter, no worries; you will be awarded a contract under the Ministry of Friends and Favorite. Your son, daughter and wife never build a road before, no worries, you will be awarded a contract under the Ministry of Friends and Favorite,” Patterson said.
They are being paid while we are being played…your pain is their gain!
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