Gov’t releases documents on key projects

Gov’t releases documents on key projects

(Demerara Waves) March 14, 2012.

The government on Wednesday released a barrage of information to the media on a number of contracts that have been garnering political and public attention in recent times, stating that the move is in keeping with its unmatched record of transparency and openness.

The contract documents cover the Marriott Hotel, Amaila Falls Access Road and Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) expansion deals and were presented by Minister of Finance Dr. Ashni Singh at the weekly post-Cabinet briefing hosted by Dr. Roger Luncheon.

“All that we have done can withstand the nth degree of scrutiny,” Dr. Singh declared as he accused sections of the media and the political opposition of trying to undermine the projects.

The release of the documents comes a day before the same contract information is to be presented to the National Assembly in response to questions from the opposition.      

“Contrary to what some in the opposition and some in the media appear to want to assert, if one were to examine this government’s track record as it relates to openness one would see a track record that can withstand comparison and in fact will compare favourably with any other government in a comparable jurisdiction and with any of our predecessors in office,” the finance minister stated.

The chief criticism about the deals has been that the government has been less than forthcoming with information about the contracts. In case of the US$52M Marriot and US$138M CJIA deals, the local media learnt of them from sources other than the government with a one-time potential investor disclosing details about the international brand hotel while Chinese firm China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) announced on its website late last year that it had signed a deal with the government for the airport works.

In the government’s defence Dr. Singh said that Wednesday’s disclosure had nothing to do with the parliamentary opposition’s questions but rather with critical timing.

“We are making this documentation available and we are making them available at a time when it is most appropriate to do so. There are times when public availability of documentation would be premature and we will not make documentation available prematurely,” he said.

The minister pointed to the case of the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project – separate from the access road project – and noted that financing for that deal is still to be finalised and therefore certain confidentiality issues are in force.

“I will say though that having recognized the need to advance this project as quickly as possible … we have decided to avail ourselves of that forum which brings together the major political stakeholders, and engage the political parties in a discussion on the Amaila Falls Project, and in fact this afternoon a meeting is scheduled at which this intra-parliamentary party dialogue will be convened and a special presentation is being made on the Amaila Falls Project,” Dr. Singh stated.

The documentation provided Wednesday included an evaluation report and consultancy contract agreement for the Amaila Access Road; the contract between the government and CHEC for the airport expansion; a newspaper advertisement for the hydropower project; and the contract, investment, lease and tax agreements for the Marriott deal.

—  Post #1195

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  • Johan Greene  On 03/18/2012 at 5:50 am

    This representative of the governmen tis rude in his remarks. He is feeling that the media, the political opposition and the public have no right questioning what they do with our moneys,but let him make no mistakes, the time has come for our political servants to commit themselves to reporting to the people of this country on the spending of our moneys. why must the rep. of that ministry feel that the opposition has something otherwise when they question on large scale spending on key projects? who they think they are? that behaior points to dictatorial intentions. these projects are National issues that are not quite clear, and the public’s first place to express their doubts is the media, and when this is printed or broadcasted, the political opposition picks it up and then it is in their faces (the government ) this they do not want to accept, but it is the reality, and must be accepted by them and not commence a barrage of allegations against fellow politicians. They must recognise that it is for the good of the country, not for a group of individuals. they must also recognise that this land Guyan is not owned by one person, and therefore they cannot manage it as though its their plantation they are running and therefore do not have to account to anyone. Guyana is country, and is governed by a democratically elected government, as a result, that government is bounded by the laws of the state to account to the people what they are doing with revenue and loans they collect on our behalf.There should be no hard feelings when a demand is made for accountability. let them be reminded that when an individual attains the age of 42, it is expected that they behave mature,similarly the government of Guyana must behave in accordance with our Republican status age.:

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