No “gifting” of tug and barge: nailing a gross distortion

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first_imgDear Editor,I refer to the article in sections of the media on Saturday, May 12, 2018, entitled, “[People’s Progressive Party/Civic] PPP/C ‘gifted’ $M tug and barge to Kwakwani supporter”. “We recovered the barge and leased it to the [Neighbourhood Democratic Council] NDC” – Patterson. That article was adorned with pictures of the Minister and the Alliance For Change Member of Parliament Audwin Rutherford.Editor, that article was a gross distortion. There was no ‘gifting’: the tug which at the time was partially sunk and virtually scrapped, was sold and bought via an open, advertised invitation of bids and subsequently rehabilitated sufficiently by its new owner, a river-crossing operator; the barge was leased as both the Minister and the MP concede after alleging that it was ‘gifted’. That barge-crossing operator (Mr Edwards) was not known at that time, nor even today to be a supporter of the PPP/C although I acknowledge that we of the PPP/C work with the hope of fairly earning the earnest approval of every Guyanese in the quiet of their hearts, and their precious votes in the privacy of the polling booth.Editor, if the article is read dispassionately, it would become clear how the Minister and the MP are playing with the emotions of the reader, going one way then another, and attempting to smear the PPP/C each way.The Minister said when he contacted National Industrial & Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) initially, he could get no information, and we know what is insinuated (lots of corruption and hiding all that gifting to a claimed supporter) but when he readily contacted the much-maligned Winston Brassington, he directed him to where he found a full disclosure. Rather than leaving damning insinuations and innuendos hanging, the Minister and MP should be heaping praise on Brassington and the PPP/C for a job transparently, honestly and well done and documented! And, also, they should be complimenting Edwards who took the risk, ventured forth and established a service to satisfy the needs of the community.Editor, in the circumstances that prevailed, the praise should be extended even more widely.The Minister and the MP are old enough to know the state to which the bauxite companies and communities would have deteriorated by 1992, after years of huge difficulties and losses, and the reasoning and insistence of the supporting multilateral financial agencies that special subsidies from our national Treasury should be brought to an end. Services provided countrywide by the Government should be handed to and handled directly by the Government. It was in such circumstances that the river-crossing service (and others) provided earlier by the bauxite company and which had ground to a virtual halt, was to be reoffered.You can imagine therefore how heartened I was when two persons, from the area (Edwards and Vandenburg), began barge crossing services, both of them at Kwakwani and Vandenburg additionally at Aroiama. They were worthy of commendation for their initial wooden barges each coupled with a small boat with outboard engine. In much the same vein allow me to mention the encouragement and facilitation we provided to Mendonca, of Kwakwani (not a known supporter of the PPP/C though I tried so greatly to win him over) to set up the gas station in Kwakwani and our search to encourage some other in Aroiama or Hururu to offer a gas station at that location, also.It is true, much to my consternation that the leased big steel barge was taken away from Edwards, unceremoniously, without notice and without cause. The Minister seems to be boasting about and finding glory in how “he had to pull out all stops to get the barge back”. And this from a member of a Government which is carried on the backs of many Afro-Guyanese who are easily agitated about the evident low number of black-owned businesses and made to blame the PPP and the PPP/C.Please allow me to set the record straight with respect to ‘other barges’ and tugs. At the time of the merger of Bermine into AMC/ABC, most of the Bermine owned barging fleet which had suffered the prevailing level of deterioration, and many of which were tied-up or sunk at various points along the river were offered by way of openly advertised tender on an as-is, where-is basis. No offers were made for a number of sunken barges and in time they were made available on a self-help, recovery basis. Some may still be available for whomsoever so wishes.Yours truly,Samuel A A HindsFormer Prime Minister and former Presidentlast_img

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