Date: January 20th, 2020
After almost sixty years of Independence have, we learnt anything from the chronicled world-famous corruption of the Eric Williams’s administration? Today a whole new generation of unconscionable politicians have repopulated the supply and demand landscape and nothing has changed. It is as easy to be corrupt today as it was 60 years ago. For over two decades Parliament has debated ad nausaum, and although the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Property Act was finally passed 5 years ago (2014), the Rowley Government have failed our Nation by continuing to delay its implementation.
Every day we get shamelessly brazen-faced excuses as to why our treasury is still not protected. Is stopping the corruption hemorrhage a priority for the Rowley Government? Everything from road works to helicopters, ferries to coast guard vessels can be inflated, as it has in the past, where billions of kickbacks have been involved. Today, goods and services are still being bought above market value, or sold for a mere pittance, with no legislative oversight or mechanism to safeguard our beleaguered Treasury. Ask yourself who benefits from the excessive delays in passing the required Regulations for the Act to function?
It has been estimated that 5 Billion TTD would be saved annually if this Procurement Legislation were implemented and yet the Rowley team are twiddling… ask yourself why? Now in an election year after hundreds of billions were spent, they are again resurrecting this Act as if to say they are doing something. What a disgrace! Legislation which ensures checks and balances of our Government and which would protect the Treasury takes decades to implement and yet the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act can be drafted, debated, laid and passed in less than twelve months. Does that make any sense?
Minister after Minister continue to enjoy the ease of doing what can only be called “anything goes” business without any control and now as an election gimmick they are making a comedy of our Parliament! This ongoing failure to bring the Regulations to Parliament amplifies the Resource Curse Squander-mania because our mineral wealth is almost exhausted, there is no economic diversification, and the thirst for foreign currency is not paralleled by export earnings.
The unjustified postponement of the proclamation of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Property Act has left this nation at risk of the same kickback corruption that has defined and plagued us since Independence. Can PM Rowley explain this failure? Many of us have never forgotten the scandals of the Eric Williams era with Johnny O’hallaran, Mervin de Souza, and Francis Prevatt at the helm. Unless PM Rowley acts now as a matter of urgency, he will be remembered in history as no better than the band of bandits who populated the Eric Williams Regime!