Leader of the Alliance For Change and Opposition Member of Parliament, Khemraj Ramjattan told the National Assembly this morning that there are several clever schemes emerging in Guyana, where only a select few are the beneficiaries of large government contracts, especially in the construction sector.
He described the sector as the epicenter of corruption in Guyana.
During his contribution to the 2023 budget debates, Mr. Ramjattan said while he is not against the country’s infrastructural development, he believes that the massive allocation in the sector is not only for the development of the country, but to also make those close to the government wealthy.
“Mr. Speaker, when you have the construction industry and so much money poured into it, it is a certain set of contractors, who are friends and family are always the beneficiary,” Ramjattan said.
Mr. Ramjattan’s opening statement on contract corruption was met with loud heckling from the government benches.
He did not seek protection from the Speaker, but went on to say that his statements have touched a nerve, since several persons in government are well aware of the situation.
Ramjattan told the Assembly that there must be a closer look and proper oversight of the construction sector in Guyana.
“It has all the ingredients conducive for corruption, there are so many uncertainties in the execution that it is impossible to draw what so many economists referred to as the complete contract. You can’t get a complete contract for let’s say to Harbour bridge as to what and what it will be and the cost, you cannot have a complete contract for some of the roads in Guyana and that is why so many roads are building and then next day they are breaking apart,” Mr. Ramjattan said.
Mr. Ramjattan said the construction industry also creates an unfair political climate, where patronage and gifts in exchange for contracts can be the order of the day.
“And you know what the corruption especially in that construction industry does. It creates what is called an undermining of the political process and it enables patronage to triumph over honest politics,” the AFC Leader said.
Since taking office, the Government has been handing out billions of dollars in construction contracts across the country. In many instances, the contracts are given to new companies and companies with little or no experience in construction. Entertainers, sport promoters, motor racers and businessmen with close association to the governing party have all been listed as big time beneficiaries of government construction contracts.
Billions of dollars have been allocated in this year’s budget for major construction contracts.