Teixeira grills Bulkan on donations for water works in Region 9

first_imgOpposition Chief Whip Gail Teixeira grilled Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan on donations from contractors for water projects in Region Nine (Upper Takutu/Upper Essequibo) at Tuesday’s sitting of theCommunities Minister Ronald BulkanNational Assembly.Teixeira wanted Bulkan to confirm to the House whether the $8 million solicited as donations from contractors in the water sector for projects in Region 9 was entered into the accounts of the Guyana Water Inc (GWI) as revenue or into a special projects fund in the Ministry or GWI, or whether it was submitted to Consolidated Fund.The Opposition Chief Whip also wanted to know whether receipts were issued to donors for their contribution and if any preferential treatment will be given to those who contributed. In response Minister Bulkan clarified that the sum in question is not $8 million but rather $6.2 million. He noted that the money was entered into the accounts of GWI as a Special Projects Fund.Moreover, he confirmed that receipts were issued to the donors and noted that no preferential treatment will be given.However, Teixeira explained that the Chronicle newspaper reported the GWI chief executive officer quoting the figure as $8 million, as such she asked the Minister to clarify the discrepancy in the figures, to which he responded that the $8 million was a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) of Region Nine and the contractor that was commissioned to drill the wells in Rupununi.Furthermore, Bulkan posited that contrary to the Opposition Member’s notion, no contractors were summoned to contribute; in fact, he noted they were all voluntary donations.“(The donations) were offered by contractors who were responding to the blistering thirst that had engulfed the region as a result of El Niño. These donations were not for pipelines, they were for the drilling of wells in eight villages in the Rupununi,” the Minister of Communities stated.Moreover, Bulkan stated that cheques for refunds of the donations were subsequently for distribution to the voluntary donors.Back in April, this newspaper had reported that contractors were threatened into making donations to GWI.However, head of GWI Dr Richard Van West-Charles, denied these allegations, saying that while donations were solicited from contractors to drill additional wells in the Rupununi, no one was forced, threatened or coerced into contributing.He had explained to reporters at a press conference at the time that due to dry weather, more wells were needed in the region and in order to raise funds, he appealed to contractors attached to GWI, other businesses and citizens as well, to make donations to the project if they were in a position to do so.last_img