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GUYANA – CONTRACTS USING ENEMY LABOR?

PoliticsGUYANAGUYANA - CONTRACTS USING ENEMY LABOR?

It’s not that the iridescent jacket, in declining shades of red peppered with glimmer, was not an obvious distraction. It was singularly amusing and more so with the display of uncoordinated footwork, in a shoddy emulation of a Michael Jackson/ James Brown routine, that was more parody than performance.

That it was taken seriously enough, for Opposition detractors to spend pages and hours decrying what was practically a decoy, alludes to the absence of an Opposition Platform…the thing that should tells us more of what they are for than against.

And we’re not going to build one for them here, by suggestion of any sort. But we’ll submit that it is, generally, a substantial political position that evaluates national issues and contemplates economic inheritance, given the components of the national Gross Domestic Product.

It would have been far more informative to constituents, is our opinion, to scrutinize some of the contracts that are being issued by the National Procurement and Tender Administration BoardNPTA. The entity is an extension of the Ministry of Finance which controls the life’s blood of the nation’s solvency.

Procurement (buying) and Tender (bidding) is conducted solely with tax payers’ dollars. This ascribes an obligation by government to keep Guyanese apprised of how these contracts are being awarded.

Within this is the duty of the Opposition to police the awarding of contracts, in accordance with the NPTA. This would include the appearance of favoritism of any stripe.

Like it’s foreign counterparts, Guyana has boasted a commitment to ensuring that jobs, contracted via Procurement and Tender that are not specific to skills, will be awarded to local unskilled labor.

And given the insinuation of “Berbice jobs being given to people from Linden and Georgetown by the Granger administration”-in an obvious attempt to imply racial allocation –we agree that unskilled jobs paid for by tax payer dollars should go to local labor; especially in this Administration…even if it took their scandal- ridden Minister of ‘sex for benefits irrespective of age’ fame , to say so.

There is the security aspect of awarding contracts, that we’re curious about, however.

Contracts awarded for construction in the nation’s military, police offices and barracks, we’re supposing, demand a due and diligent screening/vetting process, given the inherent sensitivity of these locations. Risk Analysis Management- Vetting- extends to every single person in the work detail and the steps to ensure everyone is cleared to enter the sensitive location should be comprehensively delineated.

Not that we’re singling any company out but the description of companies earning tax payers’ dollars should be more informative on record.

For example, VAS Global…a company that seems to have found lots of favor with the Procurement Tender Board to work on the nation’s military and police properties, means nothing to the ordinary Guyanese. Citizens deserve more information than just a name that reads like an acronym when visiting the Procurement and Tender site to see how their tax dollars are being spent. An address and a Principal Officer for the company, for some cross referencing for authenticity, is not uncommon…especially when the company has been awarded billions in Guyana dollars.

Of greater importance is the line staff. Is the company foreign based and if so has it hired according to Guyana’s stipulated laws for hire and on military/police locations? Are the non technical jobs distributed to the unskilled and largely unemployed Guyanese workforce? Are there foreign workers on this crew and have they been vetted, in line with the stringent Risk Analysis Management guidelines…that are presumably in place?

And what about the Insurance Companies used by the providers of the construction services?
Many are notably foreign owned…Suriname…Trinidad.

We’re not drawing a parallel to any business but we’ve seen companies operate in Guyana that had “no evidence of being incorporated or registered as an external company in Guyana, as is required”.

This is terminology learned from professional auditors like Chris Ram whose country-centric, non-partisan assessments on these comparatively obscure issues, we’ve found to be instructive and informational. We’ve looked at ‘Procurement of Works’ application and see no references or accommodation for foreign applicants…or stipulations for local hire for unskilled labor.

This is the obligation of the Government which is still a two pronged entity in Guyana… the ruling arm and the Opposition, as its check and balance. We would ask if the ‘Shadow’ Ministers of Labour and Commerce have an opinion but we’re not sure who they are, or how consistently each individual has been following the agenda of their ruling counterparts and what evaluations have been made to determine practicality and benefit for the nation.

We’re not able to ascertain whether the workers employed in sensitive locations like military barracks or police stations have been vetted to determine whether they meet security stipulations that would bar foreigners…say Venezuelan or Brazilian refugees which constitute cheap labor...from sensitive locations.

It’s certainly a security risk…we’re thinking, especially since the ‘partnership’ in the Opposition appears to be in agreed abeyance.

They operate independent of each other…so much so that they meet the Foreign Community as separate entities.

We’re yet to see a policy document that says what the conflation of these political entities will do to improve the lives of their constituents.

Thing is, whatever aid the Government gets is for the entire country- not the ruling Party, not the individual members of a collective Opposition. By virtue of its Constitution, the Government is known as both, as the combination of its Ruling and Opposing arms, to its international community members.

What should be of concern right now is the catastrophic loss of the functioning of this government as a democratic entity, elected to fulfill the Constitutional obligations for prosperity.

By adopting a posture of power and refusing to negotiate with the Opposition on behalf of the nation, the ruling PPP is sliding into autocratization. By condemning Opposition criticism as treason and its media opinions as violations of some contrived law of undermining authority, if it is, the Ruling PPP is delegitimizing the Opposition as a Constitutionally elected arm of government.

Co-equally, by not availing itself to negotiate with the ruling Party, the Opposition is green lighting Guyana’s democratic recession…cosigning its descent, degeneration, into authoritarianism.

We’ve all heard of how democracies die- not always by coup but by political inefficiency and patriotic insufficiency.

The Procurement Department may have critical vulnerabilities. Wouldn’t hurt to evaluate its contract assignment for construction and the labor deployed to execute…especially if it is undocumented personnel speaking the languages of countries tactically ready to invade our borders.

Will add that the country’s Corruption Perception- a measure of how corrupt the country’s public sector is seen- ranks 87 out of 187 countries.

This makes it more corrupt than its CARICOM counter parts and as lawless as countries not professing democracy, or receiving aid from ABC countries (America, Britain, Canada) for its political practice.

Won’t hurt to revisit contract assignment and figure out why the primary language of our enemies is being spoken on our military and police installations…by workers who are the employees of contract recipients.

1 COMMENT

  1. I have been noticing the ease with which people and organizations are distracted from focusing and remaining vigilant on issues of national importance.

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