“Take drastic actions” –says Dr. Hinds on audit findings

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 June 2016, 15:43 by Denis Chabrol

Revelations in the audits reports being released by the Ministry of Finance have suggested that corrupt practices were a feature of the former administration and drastic action needs to be taken against those responsible for it.

This was the contention of political activist and executive member of the Working Peoples’ Alliance (WPA) Dr. David Hinds who called on the APNU+AFC government to take “drastic actions” against persons identified in the audit reports as being involved in corrupt practices.

He was at the time speaking at a symposium hosted by the WPA at the National Library on Tuesday evening. The event was hosted in observance of the 36th anniversary of Walter Rodney’s assassination.

According to Dr. Hinds, for Guyana to move forward progressively into the next 50 years, ending corruption must be high on the list of priorities for the government. He contended that the revelations in the forensic audit reports have shown enough in relation to corruption in Guyana.

As such, he noted that it is time for Guyanese to put pressure on the government to take “drastic actions” against those who were involved in corrupt practices. Failure to do so, he suggested, “will make a mockery of democracy and will further institutionalize corruption in the society”.

“The forensic audits have shown enough. Society needs to put pressure on the government to take drastic actions, where, failure to do so will make a mockery of democracy and will further institutionalize corruption in the society” Dr. Hinds said.

The forensic audits which were embarked upon by the coalition government upon their ascension to executive office last year have revealed numerous irregularities in the operations of state institutions.

One such instance was the audit into the financial operations and functioning of the One Laptop Per Family (OLPF) project which revealed that over 1900 laptops, totalling in excess of GYD$115 million  are currently unaccounted for, while defective laptops have taken the total losses to over GYD$300 million.

Another audit into operations of the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) also revealed that contracts issued by the Authority were mismanaged, while over GYD$9 million was spent on fuel for vehicles that were “not working.” Additionally, it was revealed in the audit that the completion cost of the controversial Hope Canal was GYD$700 million more than what was announced by the then government.

Dr. Hinds also explored the issue of democratizing state institutions and advocated that the state must not be used against the people. He is of the belief that even though there has been a change in Government, the behavior of the state has not changed.

“Walter Rodney’s assassination was not the only assassination in which the State was used against political opponents. We had assassinations before and after him. So as we move forward, we need to ask how can we democratize the state so that the state cannot be used against the people” he told the gathering of just about 60 people.

To further support his argument of the state being used against the people of Guyana, the political activist referenced the recent eviction of vendors who ply their trade at the Stabroek Market and the way in which they were treated by Georgetown City Council.