David Patterson, Member of Parliament (MP) and General Secretary of the Alliance For Change (AFC) says recent reports regarding gifts presented to him as Minister are “misleading, mischievous and designed to seek political advantage by either embarrassment or distraction.”
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.
It was further revealed that a requisition to purchase the items, dated 2nd of May 2017 describes the items as a hand band (moveable) and a tie pin which had respective price tags of $424,400 and $78,300. The executing agency was listed as the Demerara Harbour Bridge Corporation and the monies were to be payable by the same agency to King’s Jewellery World.
But 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.
“In my case, at no time did I ever request, solicit or influence in any way the action of any agency in relation to the presentation of gifts to me or other officials of the government,” he Patterson said.
“I believe it is also necessary to state that I had no prior knowledge of any decision or details relating to the purchase or presentation of gifts to anyone, including myself,” he added.
He further stated that he assumed that gifts presented to him during his incumbency were fully compliant with the procurement guidelines of the giving agency. The standard policy directives stipulate how such matters should be handled as directed by Cabinet decision, by circular from the Ministry of Finance or by Board policy.
Patterson said that the “lies and the so-called revelation of the gifts are a deliberate and blatant attempt at character assassination for political purposes, which will not succeed in derailing his objective of overseeing the government’s expenditure and procurement practices through his chairmanship of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and representation of the Guyanese people in Parliament.”