Over $15.8M was expended within the last two years to service four David ‘G’ School buses that were donated through the Government of Guyana (GoG)’s Public Education Transport Service (PETS).
According to the Auditor General (AG)’s 2018 Report, the sum of 1,256,000 was spent in 2018 on PVV 6818, while $5,843,000 was spent in 2017 and $4,473,000 in 2018, on PVV 1992. The sum of $1,345,000 was spent on PVV 1991 in 2018. In 2017, $2,225,000 and $674,000 was spent on PVV 1998.
Regarding PVV 6818, it appeared on a list alongside nine other vehicles of the Region One (Barima/Waini), for which there were no historical records to help monitor the cost of repairs for each item. This, therefore, makes it difficult to determine whether it is economical to retain or dispose of these vehicles. The cost to effect repairs to these vehicles was described as “significant”, by the AG.
The Region, in its response, noted, “…There is no Mechanical Superintendent or files maintained on each vehicle. As soon as such person is employed, corrective action will be taken.”
The Audit Office recommended that the Regional Administration monitor closely the maintenance of its fleet of motor vehicles and determine whether it would be more economical to dispose of vehicles that recorded high maintenance costs.
As it relates to PVV 1992 and 1991, they were both placed on a list of six other vehicles that racked up heavy maintenance bills for the Region Six (East Berbice/Corentyne) Administration. In fact, the cost to repair PVV 1992, between the period 2017 and 2018, totalled in excess of $10.2M.
The Audit Office recommended that the Region 6 Administration monitor closely the maintenance of its fleet of motor vehicles, and determine whether it would be more economical to dispose of vehicles than record high maintenance costs.
PVV 1998 was the most expensive of the 10 other vehicles that were repaired between 2017 and 2018 in Region Seven (Cuyuni/Mazaruni).
The PETS programme has been a source of contention since it was first launched back in 2015 when David Granger-led coalition assumed office. The Opposition, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), has been highly critical of the initiative; claiming that since the project is heavily dependent on donations from the public, the government will be forced to bend over backwards to repay these favours.
The Leader of the Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo continues to lament over the costs to repair their vehicles.
Nevertheless, the government remains resolute; boasting of the benefits of the programme: claiming increased school attendance and the provision of an alternative to children who live miles away from their place of learning.
Questions were also raised over the ownership of these vehicles. However, People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) Executive Member, Rear Admiral (Retired) Gary Best, noted that these resources belong to the government, and are not the personal properties of the president or his party, despite the Head of State’s name emblazoned on them.
It was reported that more than 4000 bicycles were distributed across the country, with some 29 buses and 14 boats taking children to and from school across the country free of charge.