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Laptops for “friends” and “cronies”- PPP

FLASH BACK: The delivery of laptops under the One Laptop Per Family project (GINA photo).

The opposition Peoples Progressive Party Civic (PPPC), despite having no tangible, substantiating evidence, says it suspects the current administration plans to allocate laptops under the One Laptop per Family (OLPF) Project to “friends” and “cronies.”

This suspicion, PPPC General Secretary (GS), Clement Rohee, told a press conference on Monday morning, stems from what the party sees as unfounded criticism of the project by government officials and a lack of information as to how the project will be managed henceforth.

55,000 laptops have been disseminated so far and another 10,000 have been ordered. Minister of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon, and Minister of Governance, Raphael Trotman, are among the government officials who have been critical of the project’s conceptuailsation and implementation.

During a post-Cabinet press briefing last Wednesday, Trotman said that the project was under review, and that a shipment of 10,000 laptops on their way to Guyana may be distributed to teachers, as opposed to the recipients determined by the former administration to be most in need. 

 “The unsubstantiated declarations and unilateral moves by the Granger administration are deeply suspicious and conveys the impression that excuses are being made to secretly hand over laptops to friends and cronies of the APNU AFC coalition,” Rohee told members of the media core.

However, when asked if the party is in possession of tangible evidence to substantiate the claim that government is looking to pass on laptops to “friends” and “cronies,” the PPPC GS said “well the fact that they haven’t explained these things, how they are going to go about doing it?…that’s what leads to the suspicion.”

Pressed on if the alleged lack of information does not point in other directions, Rohee said “ I am saying to you that based on what we have asked here we don’t have answers to these things…Let them provide answers to these questions that we’ve asked and then our doubts and suspicions will be released.”

The PPPC wants the government to “explain the methodology it intends to use for distribution of the laptops to teachers, schools and communities,” as well as it’s “well-thought out arrangement for the 10,000 laptops soon to arrive.” The party is also desirous of knowing the nature of government’s community-based there and the “socio-economic criteria to be used to disseminate the laptops.”

During the press conference, the GS also described the OLPF project as “revolutionary” aimed at bridging “the information and telecommunication gap between those on the coastland and those in interior but, also between Guyana and the rest of the rapidly advancing technological world.”

However, he was unable to cite qualitative and/or quantitative assessments done by government to ascertain the project’s impact since its implementation commenced. Instead, he said that statements that were made by former head of the Presidential Secretariat, Roger Luncheon, attested to the gains availed by the project.

“I think if you do the research you ill obviously find statements made by the government, particularly its spokesperson at the time, Dr Luncheon, who would have dealt with the matter you are seeking to get an answer to,” said Rohee.

The OLPF project office commenced dissemination of laptops three years ago. 90,000 laptops were to be distributed by the end of 2015. To date, 55,000 laptops have been disseminated, and there is another shipment of 10,000 laptops on its way to Guyana for dissemination.