Contracts in Guyana have the tendency, like GUYSUCO’s pitiful, meager products, to sweeten thepalate and plunge headlong into the labyrinth of misuseand inflated costs to outright theft of state funds. Now comes the PPP’s decision to issue a new brand of ‘hi-tech’ Identification cards.
The electronic citizenship card project stands as another example of this government’s autocracy in bypassing the constitutional channels in spending taxpayers’ dollars for a project that should have been evaluated instead of the fait accompli decision, a constant reminder of the unfettered powers of Freedom House. Simple logic would dictate that if Guyana were interested in an electronic ID system that would allow entry to the country and a range of other hassle-free interventions that it would issue invitations for bids and these would then be tendered to the National Procurement and Tender Administration (NPTAB) for an evaluation committee to make the final determination. Now this in not a matter of urgency so there is no justification because the project cannot be classified as being one of national security so why did the government do its own procuring thereby trampling on its own procurement brother ?
However, the real bombshell emanates from the data base of all Guyanese names – the National Registration Register – a highly flawed, diseased document which cannot even produce an accurate Voters’ List 57 years after Independence! To date no one knows how this deal is being financed.
President Ali’s defence of the contract was, as usual,flaccid and lacking in substance. He told the virtual signing that the Government of Guyana’s commitment to promote e-governance was in order to improve the productivity of businesses and delivery of government services through e-health, e-education, e-security, e-agriculture, electronic permits, and licence processing. So here is the Head of State squashing the purpose of the Procurement Commission and showing a penchant for Dubai leader His Highness Sheik Amah al Maktoum…and not for the first time!
So here is another potential casualty brewing, exposing the propensity of the de facto President and honcho for ill-conceived projects towards like Skeldon, Amalia Falls, and Surendra Hospital. Such a huge expenditure could be better used to improve the rat infested hospitals, potholes dotted roads, garbage collection in the Capital where a few inches of rain perpetuallyfloods peoples; properties. Taxpayers must question how their dollars are spent as it has been fifteen years and counting the Cheddi Jagan Airport is still under repairs, no one knows how much the Marriot cost and who are the secret investors and why hi-tech ID cards in a country where half the people can barely afford to buy food. Remember the adage: where all men think alike no man thinks at all.