The self-appointed oil and gas masterminds behind the proposed US$900M gas-to-energy project, cannot be trusted with its management given their records of abysmal failure with regards to other major infrastructural projects.
At least this is the view of prominent New York based Guyanese businessman, Leyland Roopnarine, who during a recent online discussion on the proposed project categorically denounced the involvement of the key players in such a multi-million dollar project.
He was at the time directly referencing the two key point men on the gas-to-shore committee, namely Vice President, Bharrat Jagdeo, and Winston Brassington, in addition to Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh.
Speaking directly to the track records of the men involved, Roopnarine stressed, “…if you look at these people they haven’t succeeded in any project they have built.”
Pointing out that the proposed US$900M project is already shrouded in secrecy, Roopnarine reminded that all such large-scale projects attract cost over runs and as such would not be realised at the projected price but in fact higher.
Head of the Gas-to-Energy Committee, Winston Brassington
He further lamented, “If you look at the people who are in charge of this project, they have been in charge of several projects for the past 10 years.”
According to Roopnarine, “…we can start with the Skeldon Sugar Factory where Mr. Jagdeo was an engineer in sugar, we can start with the hydro project where he was an engineer in hydroelectricity, we go to the Surrendra Hospital where we were spending $800M, he became a health expert, we go to the Berbice Bridge where he became an engineer to build a bridge, we go to the Marriot Hotel where (there were) cost overruns and yet we have no accountability.”
Roopnarine added, “I give you these examples because this is what is going to happen to the gas-to-shore project.”
Seeking to elucidate in local colloquialism, Roopnarine was adamant, “when you can see something in the day don’t take fire stick fuh look fuh um in the night.”
He used the occasion to remind that both Dr. Singh and Brassington had been placed before the courts by the previous administration but these charges had since been dropped.
Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh
Meanwhile, another prominent Guyanese businessman, Dr. Turhane Doerga, added his voice to the debate and stated that while the gas project in principle appears to be a good idea, the feasibility still has to be worked out. the projected price but in fact higher.
More importantly, he said the project cannot be left in the hands of the government given its susceptibility to corruption.
Adamant that governments should not be involved in such types of businesses, Dr. Doerga stressed, “Everywhere governments get into business, you have a slew of corruption.”
He suggested instead, whenever the feasibility is determined there should then be an open tender process in the international arena where reputable companies can bid on building the gas pipeline and related infrastructure and not have a situation that obtains currently.