by Zena Henry
If former People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Local Government Minister Ganga Persaud would like to get paid, he would have to show the government details of consultancy work done under the previous administration where he was awarded multi-million dollar contracts for this service.
Minister of State Joseph Harmon said that government is concerned about the way contracts were issued to Persaud since no advertising was done for his service. It was stated that while there were no Terms of Reference for the contract, Persaud was also not required to report to anyone the progress of the work being conducted.
“I have no evidence of it (job) being advertised,” Harmon told the media. “In fact I never knew about a requirement for that type of service in any event.”
Reacting to the initial story by Demerara Waves on this issue, Persaud had issued a statement saying that the contract does not provide for the submission of a report on the work done. He has insisted that he has executed all duties in keeping with the contract and that there was nothing irregular or illegal on his part. “I provided the services for which I was contracted and this can be verified by the Chief Cooperatives Officer. I had almost weekly face-to-face meetings with her and another senior staff in the Division. We collectively made several decisions which were implemented over the period,” said Persaud.
Minister Harmon explained that Persaud is seeking almost a million dollars from the Ministry of Labour which has been consumed into the now Ministry of Social Protection. Substantive Minister Volda Lawrence told Demerara Waves that Persaud requested payment amounting to several million dollars for having carried out a consultation for the former ministry’s Co-ops Department.
Like Harmon, she noted that while the contract contained the period during which the consultancy was to be provided, “it was devoid of a Terms of Reference (TOR),” thus making it impossible for her to know the nature of work Persaud was contracted to carry out; only that the work was relevant to the former ministry’s Co-ops Department.”
She added that, if the consultancy job was given, one has to present a report, but no one could have located the report. Lawrence suggested that Persuad find his report and then the matter could be addressed financially.
Harmon had the same to say today, “I will wait and see when the request comes in. He has to show me what work he did for it.”
According to the Harmon, the government has seen two contracts, one with the Ministry of Youth and Sports for about $1.8M, and another with the Labour Ministry for $900,000.
Minister Harmon said he wrote Persaud a letter concerning the said issues, but “he seems to be answering in the newspapers.” The Minister referred to the matter involving Persaud as, “the quality of madness that took place under the PPP government where funds that belonged to the State can be easily given away without anyone having to basically give an account as to how these funds were spent.”
Harmon believes that the contracts “seemed to have been some kind of payoff for Ganga Persaud.” At the end of January last year; two years into the 2011 PPP government, Persaud unexpectedly resigned as Local Government Minister. He had told Demerara Waves at the time that he had resigned for personal reasons and wanted to give more attention to his family and stretch his wings into other areas.
It was claimed, however, that Persaud was asked to resign when allegations surfaced over a very personal issue allegedly involving someone in the interior.