PRIME Minister Moses Nagamootoo has adduced evidence to show that the proprietors of the Sussex Street Bond and New GPC Inc. have made false and damaging statements about his character in relation to the NEW GPC bond.
At the commissioning of the $539 million Central Supplies Unit (CSU)/Kingston Bond on June 11, 2019, Nagamootoo had revealed that he “pleaded” with New GPC Inc Chairman Dr Ranjisinghi ‘Bobby’ Ramroop for the continued use of a portion of the New GPC bond, but was refused.
“After we got into office in 2015 we were confronted with a situation where we had to find a bond, and find a bond quickly. We were using at one of the locations, in fact, a bond belonging to the New GPC – a private outfit. And we were informed that the proprietors wanted their bond back — and in a hurry.
So I spoke to Dr Bobby Ramroop myself and said, ‘please, we will be in a problem trying to find a location at short notice to store our pharmaceutical supplies and these have to be stored in very refined and specific conditions.’ I pleaded with him to consider whether he could make available even a piece of his bond for use by government,” Nagamootoo had said at the commissioning.
This sudden withdrawal of partnership, he explained, forced the government to look for new storage for its pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical items at a location which spurred controversy.
They had to settle for the Sussex Street Bond which was “more or less a house that was converted into a bond,” which several newspapers then labelled as unfit.
The prime minister said the construction of the new Kingston bond was absolutely necessary because government had to find suitable storage.
However, on July 14, 2019, in the Guyana Times newspaper, Ramroop denied that the prime minister had contacted him, pleading for the continued use of the bond.
In turn, Nagamootoo produced a letter dated July, 19 2016 and signed by General Manager, R. Ravie Ramcharitar which showed that the two men indeed corresponded regarding the use of the New GPC bond.
“The businessman who rented the building to the government clearly misinterpreted what I had said, and launched a nasty, vicious, and defamatory media campaign against me,” Nagamootoo stated in his My Turn Column on Sunday.
“I have grown a thick skin as a politician. I have endured many personal attacks, and I sometimes had felt that I should review my mantra that, as a revolutionary, I should not resolve problems or issues through litigation. So far, I have ignored the yapping of petty political puppies at my heels. But I take issue with those who impute that I am a liar, and that I am corrupt.”
Meanwhile, in the Guyana Times article, proprietor of the Sussex Street Bond, Larry Singh, was also disgruntled that the prime minister had referred to the bond as “more or less a house” and sought to relabel it as ‘fit and proper’ for a pharmaceutical bond.
However, the prime minister corrected Singh: “I have never said that the Sussex Street building was not fit to be a bond. I was aware that WHO and PAHO are not certifying agencies and that they did not issue any clearance of the fitness of the premises at the time when a Cabinet sub-committee visited the facility. When the drugs bond issue erupted in the National Assembly, a parliamentary delegation also inspected the facility.
Their reports tell their own story about which I now reserve further comments… several full-page ads were published, with the libel repeated and republished that I had ‘personally benefitted’ from his largesse. It was clear that the landlord was accusing me of taking bribes or kick-backs from his businesses, which I vehemently deny as untrue.”
Following the Sussex Street bond controversy, a decision was made to find an alternative site because government was being held “prisoner” by the pharmaceutical lobbies.
They believe that the new facility is proof that with determination the government can overcome challenges and deliver better service to Guyanese.