New electronic ID card system fully complies with Guyana’s law- Finance Ministry

The Ministry of Finance on Wednesday defended the government’s US$34M contract with Veridos – a German-based provider of integrated identity solutions – to implement an electronic identification system locally which will see new identification numbers and cards being issued to Guyanese.

Sole-sourcing concerns were raised about the contract but a release from the ministry said the contract was awarded in full conformity with Guyana’s laws, including procurement laws.

See below the full release from the Ministry of Finance:

The Ministry of Finance has taken note of certain statements made by the apparent President-for-Life of the self-styled Guyana Human Rights Association, on the matter of the recently concluded contract for the development of an integrated electronic national identification card.

The statements made by the GHRA have no basis in fact whatsoever and are further undermined by virtue of having been made by an entity devoid of any credibility and any legitimacy whatsoever.

Contrary to the false assertion made by the GHRA, the contract in question was awarded in full conformity with the Laws of Guyana including the procurement laws. Additionally, the company who will be developing the solution for Guyana is a highly regarded supplier of items of this nature internationally, and its shareholding comprises two major entities operating in the secure printing industry worldwide, Giesecke & Devrient and Bundesdruckerei GmbH, both of whom have unchallengeable longstanding reputations globally.

It is particularly important to note that the GHRA has suddenly found its voice, having maintained a stony silence for the entirety of the five-year period from 2015 to 2020, during which innumerable atrocities were committed by the APNU/AFC dictatorship, on none of  which did the GHRA offer any comment whatsoever.

Amongst these atrocities was the callous and unconscionable firing of over 2000 Amerindian Community Support Officers and over 7000 sugar workers, sending all these people and their families and their communities to the breadline. Amongst these atrocities was also the blatant violation of financial laws and complete lack of accountability. Examples include the single-sourced procurement of the services of a drug bond at an obviously inflated price and in a building that is highly unsuitable for the intended purposes and from an individual with no track record in the area. Other examples include the single-sourced procurement of vehicle scales from an entity with no track record whatsoever in this line of business and which is understood to have failed to deliver what was procured, and the use of public money to purchase personal gifts for ministers. And, the list goes on.

Perhaps most significantly, the GHRA was completely silent on the refusal by the APNU/AFC to respect the results of a no-confidence motion successfully moved against them, and their blatant attempt to rig the 2020 elections in full view of the world. Throughout this saga which unfolded from 2018 to 2020, the GHRA offered no comment on the attempt by the APNU/AFC to deny the People of Guyana their democratic right.

On all of these atrocities, and more, the GHRA maintained a stoic and stony silence, turning a blind eye to the lawlessness and excesses of the APNU/AFC dictatorship. Now, suddenly, the GHRA has awakened from its slumber and found its voice.

It is also apposite to note that the GHRA itself is a questionable entity, with a president who is apparently serving for life, and with a membership and an executive who are largely unknown if they exist. Additionally, it is unclear when the GHRA last held an annual general meeting for its membership, and submitted audited financial statements and annual reports on the stewardship of its executive, and submitted its executive to a competitive election by the general membership.

The unfortunate but stark reality is that the GHRA is a sham organisation, comprising a one man show, conducted by an individual who is highly partisan and who is incapable and unprepared to display any modicum of independence or objectivity in the public postures he takes.

The Government of Guyana maintains that the contract with Veridos was lawfully executed, with an internationally reputable group, and is intended to deliver a product that will transform citizen experience in Guyana with the introduction of the integrated electronic national identification card. Once introduced, the card will enable citizens to interact with all government agencies and many private sector entities using this single unique and secure identifier, and will vastly improve the efficiency of service delivery to citizens.