Public Works Minister, Juan Edghill has called for the removal of David Patterson as the Chairman of the Public Account Committee (PAC), after documents revealed that he received gifts totaling $504,000 from an entity under his purview as Minister.
Documents from the Demerara Harbour Bridge Company and its Asphalt Plant show that two days before the birthday of former Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson in 2017, a total of $504,000 was approved for the purchase of a gold hand band and tie pin for him, the Stabroek News reported on January 18, 2021.
Patterson, in a statement earlier today, admitted receiving the items, but denied playing any role in their procurement. The PAC Chair said that he assumed the entity, the Demerara Harbour Bridge Corporation (DHBC), followed procedures.
He said that the reports regarding gifts presented to him as Minister are “misleading, mischievous and designed to seek political advantage by either embarrassment or distraction.”
Patterson said the practice of giving memorabilia and other gifts to Ministers is not new, and Ministers from both sides of the political divide have been presented with gifts and other memorabilia on numerous special occasions.
But Edghill is adamant that Patterson should be removed until the matter is investigated. He is also questioning whether Patterson made a declaration to the Integrity Commission.
According to the law, public officers including the President, Permanent Secretaries, Director of Public Prosecutions, Auditor General, Commissioner of Police, the Army Chief, Heads of the Service Commissions, Foreign Affairs officials, Judges and Magistrates and Department Heads are required to declare their assets to the commission.
Also required to submit declaration forms of their earnings and gifts received are Regional Executive Officers, the Chief Elections Officer, Mayors, Chairpersons and Chief Executive Officers of state companies, Registrars of Lands and the Commissioner-General of Guyana Revenue Authority, along with Presidential Advisors, and Heads of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission and Guyana Forestry Commission.
The Minister said that Patterson must “do the decent thing” and step down.