The distressing financial state of several governmental agencies and the delays in several major infrastructural projects are no fault of former ministers under the David Granger-led administration, but rather, the scarcity of funds given that no budget was passed for 2020. This was according to several Executive Members of the Alliance for Change (AFC) – one-half of the former coalition government – who served as ministers under the regime.
Noteworthy, is the fact that the former government could not rollout a budget following the passage of the no-confidence motion back in December 2018, which severed the legal arm of the administration. The government was lessened to a caretaker one, and therefore, suffered constraints.
“Folks, you have to remember is there is no budget for 2020…So, several issues being raised about project delays has very little to do with us as constituent ministers, but rather, the status we were in,” he said during a virtual press conference today.
He added that the statements being made by the Ministers of Public Works, that engines attached to the Hinterland Electrification Company Incorporation are in dire need of repairs, are tantamount to politicking. He said that clarity is needed to educate the hinterland population why those engines were not serviced or repaired.
Patterson said that those engines were being maintained every year since 2015 through budgetary allocations, and since no allocation was done for 2020, attention could not be given to those machines.
“So, for the ministers to jump up and say oh, there’s no maintenance in 2020 – well, it’s obvious,” he said.
He added that even without a budget, the former government managed to address several issues relating to hinterland electrification.
Patterson said too, the COVID-19 pandemic would have exacerbated the situation leading to more delays to projects. He singled out the procurement of generators for the Guyana Power and Light Incorporated being stymied by measures put in place in other jurisdictions to fight the virus.
He said the works being carried out at the Leguan Stelling came to a halt in March due to the Ministry of Health COVID-19 measures.
“So, there must be project delays. There’s no budget and there’s a pandemic. But it sounds really good for these persons to make these allegations,” he said.
His sentiments were echoed by the AFC Leader, Khemraj Ramjattan, who
accused the Irfaan Ali government of “always trying to secure political mileage”. He said that trivial things are being blown out of proportion to make the former government look bad.
“They want to make politics out of it, and it is going to get the administration nowhere,” he said.