Drug bond rental cost more than Regions Health and Education budgets- Jagdeo; Gov’t says untrue

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The controversial drug bond deal between the government and Linden Holdings Inc. was once again brought to the fore by Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo during his presentation on the 2017 National Budget earlier today.

Jagdeo highlighted that the sums of almost $170M being allocated for the rental of the bond is twice as much allocated to deal with critical services in the Administrative regions.

“Mr. Speaker, the health services budget, the capital budget for Region four is $88M. You (Government) is spending twice as much on a bond to store some condoms that the entire Region four health services Budget…It is bigger than the entire public works budget for Region six…The entire Education Budget for Region 10 in $97M…” the Opposition Leader says.

His comments were met with shouts of “not true” from the Government side of the house and chants of “shame!” from the opposition’s side.

On this note, he said this just shows the negative impacts of not adhering to transparency.

In August of this year, during the consideration of Financial Paper No.1/2016, several questions were raised in relation to the sole-sourcing of the bond located at 29 Sussex Street, Albouystown, Georgetown, its cost and its capability to store medical supplies given its flood prone location. In response to the questions and subsequent investigations, it was found that the bond is being rented at a cost of GYD$12.5 million monthly. It was also found that the bond was chosen over that of the New GPC which was previously being utilized, free of cost.

On Thursday evening, following a heated exchange between Opposition MP Anil Nandlall and Public Health Minister Dr George Norton as to whether items are being stored at the bond, Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr. Barton Scotland ordered a visit to the location while the Debates continue.

A team comprising of Parliament staff, Ministers Volda Lawrence, Dr. George Norton and Dr. Karen Cummings, Opposition MPs Bishop Juan Edghill, and Irfaan Ali visited the bond where it was found that condoms, IDU insertion kits, umbilical cord clamps and lubricants are stored at the facility.

While the visit ascertained that the bond is in use, the Opposition is holding out that no medicines and tablets are at the bond.

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