Public Health Minister goes before parliamentary disciplinary committee over drugs bond issue

Last Updated on Monday, 21 November 2016, 15:08 by Denis Chabrol

Lawrence "Larry" Singh standing in front of the bond on 29 Sussex Street, Albouystown that he is renting government.

Lawrence “Larry” Singh standing in front of the bond on 29 Sussex Street, Albouystown that he is renting government.

Public Health Minister, Dr. George Norton has been sent to the Parliamentary Privileges Committee for allegedly misleading the House about the rental of pharmaceutical bond from a city businessman.

Ruling on a motion tabled by Shadow Health Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony, House Speaker Dr. Barton Scotland ruled that there was sufficient evidence to take Norton to the disciplinary body.

Attorney Genral Basil Williams rose to make a clarification, but the Speaker cautioned he will not entertain any position on his judgement. “the Speaker has ruled and there is nothing that I will entertain now.”

The parliamentary motion accused Norton of misguiding the National Assembly and the nation in August when he justified government’s sole-sourcing of a new company, Linden Holdings Company for a Sussex Street bond to store drugs.
“The Minister misinformed the House that the new rented facility is not only suitable for the storage of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies but that, in fact, medical supplies were already being stored in it in keeping with stanards set out by the PAHO/WHO,” Dr Anthony told the House.
Anthony’s motion said according to photographic evidence, “this was an empty residential building of less than 6000 square feet which was devoid of any facilities required for a fully equipped and certified pharmaceutical bond as claimed by the Minister.”
The Sussex Street bond was being rented by the government for $12.5M monthly, with a security deposit of $25M. The opposition MP told the House it was later revealed “the building was empty of any pharmaceuticals and medical supplies and was not in a position to story any medicines or any other medical supplies as was claimed.”
In the motion, Dr Anthony said the New Guyana Pharmaceutical Company was sidelined by the government for Linden Holdings due to cost concerns that New GPC was too expensive. It was revealed, however, that while the sussex street bond would have cost $12.5M monthly, the New GPC bond actually cost the government $9.6M monthly between March and June 2016.
In an effort to cool down the situation and bring an end to what had turned out to be a raging controversy, the Public Health Minister then called a news conference to announce that he had erred based on advice that he had received.

The bond, located at Sussex Street, Albouystown, has been rented from People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) member, Larry Singh, despite concerns by the opposition People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) that the deal smacked of alleged corruption and that government was wasting money.