Pradoville 2 was not built for security reasons – Jagdeo
Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has debunked claims by a fellow party member that the controversial high-end housing scheme dubbed “Pradoville 2” was established to ensure the security of the then president and ministers.
Former Government Minister Robeson Benn just last week told reporters that he informed investigators that the upscale housing scheme was built to ensure the security of Jagdeo and other members of the Cabinet.
But Jagdeo, who now serves as opposition leader, denied those claims during a brief interview with the media before he entered SOCU’s Headquarters for questioning on Monday.
“I asked Robeson…this was never discussed at Cabinet… This was his view. He said and he confirmed to me that he never said that in SOCU [Special Organised Crime Unit] and this was his view and this was never discussed at the Cabinet,” Jagdeo stated.
In fact, Jagdeo said if he was concerned about security, he would not have built a house close to the seawall.
“If it was a security issue I would have not gone to live there at the back next to the seawall where the gunmen can easily hide by the seawall and shoot at you,” he stated.
Jagdeo was invited for another round of questioning by SOCU – which is currently investigating the sale and transfer of lands at the Sparendaam Housing Scheme, popularly known as Pradoville 2.
It is the government’s contention that the lands in the scheme were sold extremely below market value to select individuals.
Jagdeo told reporters that he could have refused to accept SOCU’s invitation but he only did so to set a precedent for president David Granger.
It is his hope that when SOCU advances it probe into a case brought to its attention by the PPP, Mr Granger and his entire Cabinet will be invited to SOCU’s Headquarters for questioning.
“I expect now that when that investigation is being pursued by SOCU that every member of the cabinet will come here to give a statement, including the president,” he expressed.
SOCU had undertaken to investigate the breach of the procurement laws by the Ministry of Public Infrastructure in the award of a US$150M contract for the feasibility study of the new Demerara Bridge.
An investigation by the public procurement commission found that the cabinet had approved the award of the contract.
Jagdeo had previously contended that SOCU set a precedent by lifting the veil of secrecy which usually governs decision taken collectively at the Cabinet.