Former Finance Minister in the People’s National Congress (PNC)-led administration, Carl Greenidge has defended his purchase of a house from a state-owned corporation in the 1990s, saying that it was above-board.
That’s quite in contrast to Former President Bharrat Jagdeo’s suggestion that Greenidge acquired the property at Bel Air Gardens in 1993, four months after leaving office when the PNC lost power in October 1992.
Greenidge rebuffed suggestions by the Former President that he engaged in a corrupt transaction to acquire the building long after he was no longer Finance Minister. The Former Finance Minister confirmed that all the paperwork had not been completed by October 1992 but those did not pertain to any principle.
He challenged Jagdeo to call in the police. “If Mr. Jagdeo thinks that it was corrupt he should pass the details to the DPP and the Police. The sale of the property went through all the processes without any unusual interventions the long delay between the agreement of sale and the completion of the exercise,” said Greenidge.
He also denied using his influence as a Former Finance Minister to seal the deal and disputed suggestions that he had received ministerial favour to purchase the house, more so for GUY$4 million. “The process was not specially tailored for me and the other properties sold were not sold to Government Ministers or to PNC associates. In my case I would add that being a Minister seemed to have led to the company asking a price in far excess of that suggested by the Chief Valuation Officer. I am not aware of any other case of this kind in the area,” he said.
The Former Finance Minister explained that he had been living in the house for some time and decided to purchase the property in 1991 after becoming aware that the then State-owned Corporation, Guyana Stores Limited (GSL) , had been selling properties in the area. The Transport refers to a purchase date of November 1, 1991. Greenidge said GSL’s sale to him appeared to be in keeping with a policy of sale by the previous owners, Bookers, dating back to 1954 that first preference would be given to managers/tenants.
Greenidge recalled the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC)-led administration attempting to prevent him from purchasing the property. “They tried to block the sale as soon as they got into office and spread stories that I had acquired it for G$24,000. I suppose that they could not find a legal case,” he said. Greenidge further questioned why Jagdeo did not seek to have him prosecuted over the last 16 or 23 years rather than attempt to fool the public with libelous statements.
“In fact the sale was affected after I left office and the Government tried to block the transaction but found no grounds on which to do so. Yet once more this clown parades a transport before the cameras as though it is a crime!,” he said referring to Jagdeo holding up a copy of the Greenidge Transport to media personnel at a news conference on Saturday.
Greenidge disputed Jagdeo’s assertion that the house is located in a posh area of the city, saying that his yard was prone to flooding by heavy rainfall and very high tide.
He does not believe that the allegations raised by Jagdeo would cast him in a bad light in the eyes of the electorate, but instead says Jagdeo’s move was calculated to coincide with the opposition coalition’s rally at Whim Village, Corentyne on Sunday, March 29, 2015.
Greenidge boasted that he has never accepted any offers of bribes or engaged in any corrupt transaction while serving as Chief Planning Officer and Minister of Finance.
“Yes I have a history. It is untouched as far as corruption is concerned… I served as Chief Planning Officer to Guyana and as Minister and have been offered substantial bribes as well as other inducements. I have accepted none,” he said. Greenidge added that he never coveted the assets of Guyanese or was associated with “disasters” such as theUS$60 million Marriott Hotel and the more than US$200 million defective Skeldon Sugar Factory that is yet to produce sugar at its optimum since it was commissioned six years ago. “None of them was a disaster such as the Fibre Optic Cable project and none of them was intended nor in fact did seek to transfer state assets to friends of either the PNC or myself,” he said
Greenidge’s PNC-Reform (PNCR) is a major constituent of the coalition of A Partnership for National Unity+ Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) that hopes to unseat the PPPC from office for the first time in 23 years by building on its one-seat majority clinched at the 2011 polls.
General and regional elections are scheduled for May 11, 2015.