THE leadership of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) must be glowing about yesterday’s Demerara Waves story about the alleged, remote possibility of it winning next year’s general elections.
But even as it entertains the feeling that it could form the next government, the very report that the PPP leadership will gloat about contains some very damming analyses about its time in the last government and the level of corruption in the cabinet and society in general.The report by a Mr Robert Ellis who we are told is a U.S. State Department Adviser takes a comprehensive look at Guyana, but as every right- thinking Guyanese would well know, it makes some very salient points about the PPP’s very close and intimate embrace of corruption and dishonesty.
Ellis argues that decision makers in Washington would have their work cut out in holding back any PPP administration from its usual embrace of corruption; he noted that Washington “must do so with its eyes open, holding the PPP to account with respect to its commitments to transparency, democracy, and commitment to free market[policies] and the rule of law.”
As campaigning heats up ahead of March 2, regional and general elections, the campaign will once again largely be about well entrenched fears of a PPP administration pillaging the country of its oil and other wealth, should it return to power. No one could for example forget the Skeldon factory fiasco. Experts at agencies such as the State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA) and officials in government are of the strong view that the PPP will find it hard to convince the nation that the Skeldon factory could have cost a penny more than US$50 million dollars. The final price tag handed to the nation by former PPP Presidents Bharrat Jagdeo and Donald Ramotar tallied the Skeldon bill at close to US$200 million, meaning in effect that the project was overspent by or pillaged by a whopping US$150 million. Into whose pocket that money went remains a mystery, as no sugar facility, minus ancillary buildings and others required for one normal factory/estate could cost US$200 million.
The author of the report did not go into too much detail about the PPP and the narco trade, its love of the trade and the millions it laundered. In the end, the coalition government had to jettison the project almost in its entirety as the factory and its machines malfunctioned spectacularly, much to the frustration of management and workers. It is not even one of the three estates still in use today.
Guyanese, as well, would also remember the Amaila Falls Hydro project fiasco when the Jagdeo-Ramotar administrations had hired a Florida-based Sari clothing salesman and grocery shop owner to construct the project as a front man handling hundreds of millions of dollars that would have ended up in the pockets of the PPP, had the coalition not abandoned the project.
Meanwhile, Dr Ellis also made a more than veiled reference to the PPP and Guyana’s violent underworld, which the coalition has had to dismantle since 2015 and said Washington would have to keep its foot on the pedal to ensure a PPP administration follows and obeys the rule of law and follows democratic principles. Just over a year and a half ago, Dr Clive Thomas of the State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA) reported that his agency had received reports from international agencies like Interpol, Homeland Security of the U.S., the Caribbean Financial Acton Task Force, the State Department and the UN Drug Control agency, detailing the massive scale of corruption in Guyana. The agency is yet to release any details of those reports for public scrutiny.