“The corruption worse now than their previous 23 years”
– Ramayya says as he quits government job
Kaieteur News – Alleging missive corruption across the region, community activist, Veersammy Ramayya has once again resigned from his government appointed post as Region Six’s Coordinator.
Ramayya submitted his resignation about a month ago and it will take effect from October 1, 2022. The activist said that he gave up the post because the government is allegedly turning a blind eye to corrupt practices in Region Six. This is not the first time Ramayya has resigned from a government appointment owing to corruption allegations. Under the APNU+AFC Administration, he was appointed as Regional Executive Officer (REO) of Region Six but he resigned shortly after he realised that corruption was taking place in the Region, he said back then.
When the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) took power in 2020, both President Irfaan Ali and Vice-President Bharrat Jagdeo approved his new post as Coordinator of the Region but according to Ramayya, the corruption has gotten worse than the last time the PPP were in government. “This two year is worse than the 23 year period when they were governing as the PPP”, the activist said.
As Coordinator of the Region Six, Ramayya’s main responsibilities were to submit reports to the government about ongoing issues in Berbice. However, the activist stressed that he can no longer carry out the duties, which he was hired to do because the corruption is too much and his character is frequently being attacked for his outspokenness. “I sent a letter a couple of weeks ago to the Vice President and the President and I declared my intention of leaving the job because the way I am being treated and the way things are happening is not to my likeness and I am not going to lie to the people for the sake of the party,” Ramayya told reporters.
In the letter he sent to Ali and Jagdeo, he stressed, that during his tenure, he worked long to enhance the image of the government especially to improve the PPP party’s reputations as a sound and effective but was criticised and condemned by some for speaking out against corruption on his television programmes. He claimed that Ali had even called him a few weeks ago and accused him of saying a lot of negative things about the government. “He (Ali) said that I am saying a lot of negative things about the government but it’s not true…they want me to compromise my principles,” Ramayya opined while stating that he will not allow his principles to slide for any party. The activist related that the television programme he is being attacked for hosting is called “Issues of the People” and it is one where he exposes the corruption that is taking place in the Region.
Ramayya said that there is corruption rooted in the temporary employment programme recently rolled out by the government. He explained that the requirement is that one person from a household can be employed and earn a sum of $40,000 for 10 days work per month. However, according to Ramayya, there are many cases where close to four persons from one household were given the jobs.
Apart from rubbishing this requirement, Ramayya said that most of the individuals being employed are friends of the regional officials while those desperately in need of a job are “turned away”. “These people are a bunch of cronies who are handpicked PPP supporters who mostly got the job and I am pretty sure they don’t have 4000 people on it but $160M is coming out every month to Region 6”.
As it relates to the flood relief grant for farmers who lost crops and livestock, Ramayya said many did not receive the assistance. “The flooding, I sent information and gave the President, all these are people who were contacted but the names were given, the people from the ministry were involved, especially the Agriculture Ministry and up to now, nothing was done,” he said. Ramayya alleged too that another corrupt activity taking place is the handing out of road contracts without putting them up for tender. “Road contracts were given out without the tender board, I can prove how many people up in the Corentyne area. They have their friends; they put their names…this is supposed to be a public record, but it is not a public record who is getting the contract”, the activist claimed while stating that these are the reasons for his resignation.