Govt. paying PPP activist $1M per month to store drugs in Linden
– Region 10 Chairman says space available for storage, construction of bond
Kaieteur News – Region 10 Chairman, Mr. Deron Adams has flagged a monthly rental fee of $1 million to store drugs for the town when adequate space is available for the construction of a new bond at the Health Centre in Amelia’s Ward.
It was during the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) weekly press conference on Tuesday that the Chairman highlighted the issue. He complained, “Almost one million dollars a month is being paid to a party activist for the storage of health supplies in Linden, when the Health Department has a compound in Amelia’s Ward that has enough vacant space to build a new hospital if needed, much less a storage bond. The PPP clearly is encouraging high levels of corruption by its lackeys in Region 10.”
The Chairman told Kaieteur News that other agencies were not invited to bid for the contract to store the drugs as the Council waived the tender requirement. More importantly however, Adams argued that the rental fees could be channeled to extend the current facility and provide the necessary storage. According to Adams, “At the Bamia Health Centre in Amelia’s Ward, the previous government built the Bamia Health Centre and it has enough space in the compound to build a storage bond. Why is it then folks are renting a bottom house bond when they can just budget for a bond to be constructed within the compound where the Bamia Health Centre is located?’
This newspaper was told that the contract for the rental of the storage bond initiated in September 2021 was rented up to December 2021, and then renewed again in 2022.
He explained that central government has been ignoring representations by the elected representatives of the Councils and making their own determinations about the needs and resources to be provided to the Region.
In fact, “They have been utilizing the waiver of Tender Board Procedures to award friends of the government contracts that have been poorly executed, without the necessary checks and balances of these procedures being followed and when these issues are brought by the Council to the attention of local and national level Tender Board authorities, absolutely no response is provided,” Adams shared.
In addition to the tender requirement waiver, the Regional Chairman said that the Chairman of the Public Works Committee of the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) has not yet signed off on any ‘End Users Certificate’ for a project in the region. “These certificates are how a project is recorded as being completed satisfactorily and on the basis of which the final payment is made, but in this case, the Council is not allowed to verify that these projects are completed, but payments are made for sub-standard projects,” he argued. The Chairman concluded that this is yet another source of PPP corruption in Region 10.
As a consequence of this issue, he said that the Region was forced to endure situations like the collapse of the road and drain at Silvertown, as well as another poor drainage construction at Third Alley and an instance where the contractor left the site without completing the sewage works at the Christianburg Primary School.
Under the former Coalition government, it was revealed that the Ministry of Public Health paid $264.5M for the rental of a Sussex Street drug bond between July 2016 and March 2018. The issue of the bond surfaced when it was learnt that the bond had been rented under very lucrative terms to businessman, Larry Singh, during the tenure of former Minister of Public Health, Dr. George Norton, who had defended the Ministry’s use of the facility. The controversy surrounding the use of the bond intensified when it was discovered later that the facility was merely storing items such as lubricants and condoms.