UNC Chairman, Oropouche West MP, Davendranath Tancoo has reiterated the party’s call for a full audit of the Government’s expenditure as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tancoo was speaking on Monday night during the UNC’s virtual forum when he noted the Prime Minister’s statements concerning allocations for road repairs. Dr Rowley last Tuesday said major road repair works were put on hold for the last two years as Government had to spend billions in managing the pandemic. However, Tancoo described Dr Rowley’s statement as “nothing but lies.”
He said, “ But one of the biggest lies was that they couldn’t fix the roads in this country between 2020 and now because they were spending the money to save lives of citizens. It is not today that the roads are atrocious. There were public protests for roads in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and all of that is before the pandemic.”
According to Tancoo, what has made the situation one that is even more questionable is the fact that the “government has refused to account for the billions withdrawn from the HSF to spend on Covid-related activities.”
He said, “ Imbert, Rowley and this PNM government have refused to account for the hundreds of millions received from multiple international agencies in grants and loans specifically for use in COVID relief.”
Tancoo claimed further that Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan had access to a $1.2 Billion dollar loan signed with the Development Bank of Latin America in 2021 specifically for road repair and infrastructural development.
“This money cannot be used for anything except for the purpose it was lent. So it’s a lie that they don’t have the money for road repairs because it was spent on saving lives?”
As a result, the Chairman has issued a call to the Prime Minister to provide substantial evidence on why necessary and urgent road repairs could not have been completed in a timely manner.
He said, “So when Prime Minister claims that he couldn’t repair roads because the money was used to save lives – I challenge the Prime Minister to prove it. Provide the statistics to show it because I have been at 4 Standing Finance Committee meetings of the Parliament and have reviewed Variations and Supplementary Expenditure by the Government and I certainly have not seen the movement of billions from Works to Health.”
He added further, “What the Prime Minister’s utterances highlight is the fact that billions have been spent in the name of COVID with absolutely no accounting. I repeat the call by the Leader of the Opposition for a full audit into the billions spent in the name of COVID. The maths is not mathsing and the country has not benefitted.”
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