Blatant corruption should be subject of prosecution

first_imgDear Editor,The more I read about the drugs bond at Sussex Street, Georgetown, the more I am convinced that this blatant corruption should be the subject of prosecution in the courts. But I am also equally convinced that SOCU would never do that, since its autonomy has been compromised.The ex-Health Minister, Norton, should be charged for misconduct in public office, since it is evidenced that since commencement of the rental, the bond was only utilised to store condoms, lubricants, and now a CT scanner. It was supposed to store ‘drugs’.Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo had justified the rental of the bond.He had stated that ‘the possibility of a fire and the issue of traffic congestion were just two of the many reasons considered for embracing the contract’.In addition, a Cabinet Committee that visited the bond had concluded that it was ‘suitable for use as provided for under the contract’.He said the members recommended that the bond be used until the Government is able to build an alternative facility. This was in August 2016.In December 2016, just a few months after this ‘factual statement’ by Nagamootoo, a group of MPs made a startling discovery at the bond: there were boxes of condoms and lubricants, some empty refrigerators, but no drugs! It should be recalled that MP Irfaan Ali had, at the time, requested that even one tablet be shown, but Minister Norton could not have provided that.Now, more than one year after that discovery, still not a tablet is being stored at the bond.This begs the question: What has happened to the PM’s fire and congestion issues?It is evident that the Cabinet sub-committee’s justification of the rental of the Sussex Street Drugs Bond is frivolous, as it was corrupt and was meant to deceive the public.There was no urgent need for the bond, but there was an urgent need to reward Mr Lawrence Singh!It is also evident that this Government could have built an alternative facility before renting the bond. They have spent $264.4 million up to March this year, and another $112 million before the proposed termination. This means that a total of $376 million would have been wasted.The drugs bond at Kingston, which was budgeted for by the Government, would have cost only $250 million! It was reported in the press in December 2016 that, during consideration of the 2017 Budget estimates of expenditure, Public Health Minister George Norton announced that Gy$250 million have been set aside for the drugs bond at Kingston to store drugs and medical supplies. Therefore, we could have gotten a brand-new bond and saved $126 million, which could have gone towards paying the sugar workers’ severance pay.On that same vein, since the drugs bond was never utilised to store drugs in case of ‘fire and traffic congestion’, the entire sum could have gone towards the severance payment.Monies are being squandered like there is no tomorrow, while 5,700 sugar workers and their families are starving, and their erstwhile ‘champion’, Moses Nagamootoo, is just focusing on yarn spinning to justify such squandermania and save his skin! This is utterly disgraceful!The award of the contract to a PNC financier is a deliberate act of corruption, and if it can be concluded that Dr Ashni Singh and Mr Winston Brassington sold lands which were undervalued, then it should be clear that the rental of the condom bond is astronomically above what a bond of similar size and in a similar location can be rented for.I am sure that the next PPP/C Government will ensure that these flagrant corrupt practices will get their much-deserved deliberations in our courts of law.Yours sincerely,Haseef YusufRDC Councillor, Region Sixlast_img