The same Cabinet that weeks ago approved the rental of a Sussex street building as a new storage bond for pharmaceuticals has now deemed the arrangement “undesirable”, following an avalanche of criticism from a wide cross section of the society over the controversial deal.
In a Thursday evening statement, the Government announced moves to get out of the deal while seeking to have its own bond in place soon.
The Minister of Public Health was forced to apologise to the nation after he provided a number of incorrect statements to the National Assembly when questioned about the shady $12.5 Million per month rental contract.
A cabinet sub-committee investigated the contract and the suitability of the bond and while admitting that the facility is suitable for storage of pharmaceuticals, it recommended a full contract review that would lead to a shorter period of a rental at a cheaper cost. Now the government is looking to set up its own bond.
See full statement from Government below:
Cabinet was engaged in full and thorough discussions on the issue of the storage of government pharmaceuticals at the privately owned Sussex Street facility. Cabinet has concluded that the arrangement was undoubtedly undesirable. Cabinet also considered the options and recommendations in the report of the Cabinet Sub-Committee tasked with reviewing the decision of the Ministry of Public Health to lease facilities at Sussex Street.
REVIEW AND RENEGOTIATIONS
Specifically, Cabinet explored a range of options including shortening the lease period for the rental of the Sussex Street facility while expediting the search for another facility. Government agrees to secure its own pharmaceuticals storage facility and is inspecting suitable sites.
The options of purchasing, constructing or leasing will also be explored. However, the conditions for the storage facility to be located within close proximity of the Georgetown port and be easily accessible remain applicable.
Though it has, out of necessity, taken some time to arrive at these decisions, Cabinet is satisfied that significant advances have been made on this matter and when the full menu of actions is completed, the best arrangement, in the interest of the people of Guyana, will be concluded.
Cabinet notes that the Minister of Public Health, Dr. George Norton has taken responsibility for the imbroglio and has publicly expressed regrets over the controversy that the rental of the Sussex Street bond has engendered. Further, the Government recommits itself to managing the affairs of the state in a transparent and accountable manner and to respect public opinion at all times.
STRENGHTEN DELIVERY OF HEALTH CARE SERVICES
Cabinet recommitted itself to be vigilant with regard to all contracts and arrangements and assure the people of Guyana that efforts will continue to strengthen the delivery of health care services which, for too long, have been held hostage by close friends and cronies of the previous administration.
Finally, Cabinet acknowledged the frank expression of views by a wide cross section of the Guyanese society which it respects as vital to true participatory and inclusionary democracy
Further updates on the progress of this matter will be provided as necessary.