Last Updated on Thursday, 11 May 2017, 17:30 by Denis Chabrol
The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Thursday (May 11, 2017) warned that when government breaks for a parliamentary recess in August, the administration will embark on an unconscionable raping of the treasury in order to facilitate drug purchases through manufactured emergencies.
The prediction was made by the former Junior Finance Minister, Bishop Juan Edghill during a press engagement held at the Office of the Leader of the Opposition.
“Let me tell you what I anticipate, the reckless spending will take place during the recess, when parliament goes into recess in August all of the reckless, unconscionable raping of the treasury will take place and then it will come sometime in October as a financial paper,” he said.
The former government minister said this is the case since the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) has already spent 77 per cent of its total allocation for the year—purchases made using ‘emergency basis’ as its rationale.
“Let me tell you what I anticipate, the reckless spending will take place during the recess, when parliament goes into recess in August all of the reckless, unconscionable raping of the treasury will take place and then it will come sometime in October as a financial paper.”
He predicts government will be looking to use the provisions of ‘urgent, unforeseen and unavoidable’.
According to Bishop Edghill, “if you already spend 77 per cent of the GPHC budget in January and February in drugs and medical supplies you know there will be huge supplementary.”
He explained that is among the reasons why the PPP wants to warn the nation given the trend of the administration—practices, the stench of which reaches to the high heavens.
The PPP’s former Junior Finance Minister was joined by colleagues Dr Frank Anthony, Dr Vindya Persaid and Opposition Chief Whip Gail Teixeira.
Speaking specifically on the state of financial affairs at the GPHC Edghill recalled that with a total $8.5B for the year, GHPCs employment costs will exhaust $3.1B while Capital Expenditure is budgeted at $527M. Meals and dietary supplies have been budgeted at $537M while other purchases such as cleaning supplies have been budgeted at $579M.
Edghill said this means, “you have about $2.6B for the year for the procurement of drugs and medical supplies.”
The former Government Minister posited that $2B of that money has been already spent in the first two months of the year government will no doubt have to resort to the treasury to meet the shortfalls.
Among the disclosures made Thursday, four days after the Government would have supplied answers to opposition queries in the National Assembly, Dr. Anthony found that controversial Alliance for Change Financier, Lawrence Singh is now a supplier of drugs to government.
Singh came to notoriety this past year during consideration of spending by the Ministry of Public Health when it was discovered that government agreed to rent a Sussex Street property to be used as a drugs bond for government. That revelation had led to a Head of State, President David Granger setting up a Cabinet Sub Committee to probe the transaction. That committee had found that the negotiated price for the bond was too high and had recommended the renegotiation of the contract with Singh or scrap the contract altogether—this did not obtain.
Singh, Edghill said, was recently handed a contract to supply millions in drugs, purchased through the regional system.
Turning his attention to the Ministry of Public Health and its spending on drugs and medical supplies, Edghill was adamant whatever money is spent by the Public Health Minister is being done with no public tenders.
He was adamant there are set criteria in the procurement laws and pointed to the fact that 92% of the drug purchases this past year was done on an emergency basis. “Are we manufacturing emergencies to avoid proper procurement…this manipulating of the system must stop,” according to Edghill.
He recalled the ‘Big Hullabaloo’ created over drug purchases from the New Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation (GPC) which he reminded was an internationally pre-qualified supplier, to instead purchase drugs from other entities. “This high state of mismanagement that is taking place must come to an end,” According to Edghill as he put on notice members of the administration that the PPP will be utilizing all available mechanisms address the situation.