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Finance Minister defends President’s son; silent on E-Governance project delays, cost overrun

Alexei Ramotar

Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh has defended the appointment of President Donald Ramotar’s son- Alexei Ramotar as head of the E-Governance project, saying that he is “one of the most qualified” persons.

“Today he remains one of Guyana’s most qualified in his field, with a Masters in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo, over a decade of work experience where he led numerous projects in his field, and several academic awards and publications,” stated the Finance Minister in a statement.

However, Singh stayed clear of questions that are to be raised in the National Assembly by A Partnership for National Unity’s (APNU) Joseph Harmon related to the prolonged delay and resulting associated costs about the E-Governance project.

The Finance Minister said APNU was raising concerns about Ramotar because he is the Guyanese leader’s son.  Singh noted that Alexei was hired in 2012 before his father’s run for the presidency because he was “deemed the most qualified for the job at that time.”

Singh said the attack on Alexei was part of a wider plan by the Alliance For Change (AFC) and APNU to target the country’s qualified and competent human resources and scare away investors in multimillion dollar projects like the Amaila Falls Hydropower plant and the Muri Brasil survey for rare earth minerals in the New River Triangle.

That parliamentary grouping wants government to provide the resume of Alexi Ramotar as it relates to his prior experience with fibre optic cable installations, designing and managing a project of this complex nature.

The question also asks how much salary and allowances is Ramotar paid monthly.

Saying that the US$32 million E Governance Project has suffered from extensive delays and there is to be modification to the design of the project, Harmon wants Prime Minister Samuel Hinds to tell the National Assembly what are the cost overruns related to that project.

Government has hoped to complete the project in 2012 but Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon quite recently said he expected it to be finished this year. He could not say during which quarter.

Luncheon said a lot more progress has been made with the installation of the LTE system from Moleson Creek, Corentyne to Charity, Pomeroon than the Lethem to Georgetown stretch.

Government is sourcing fibre optic Internet connectivity from Brazil. The cable originates in Lethem near the border with the neighbouring Portuguese-speaking nation.

The Head of the Presidential Secretariat admitted that reels of 10 kilometre length of cable had in some instances broken and so government was in the process of changing those to four kilometre lengths