Gift scandal: Patterson dubs report “misleading, mischievous”

Alliance For Change’s member and former Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson has described recent reports of him benefiting from a gift of a gold bracelet from the Demerara Harbour Bridge Company as “misleading, mischievous and designed” to seek political advantage by either embarrassment or distraction. The current Chairman of the Public Account Committee’s statement was released by the Alliance For Change and comes days after an audit report detailed the purchase of a gift purchased for Patterson based on the approval of the Demerara Harbour Bridge Board.

One section of the press today shared details of gifts allegedly purchased for both Patterson and his junior Annette Ferguson during their tenure as ministers of government at the Public Works Ministry. Patterson in the statement released by his party is accusing “government sympathisers within the broad spectrum of the media” of attempting to “malign and tarnish” his character.

Patterson said that the practice of giving memorabilia and other gifts to Ministers is not new as he said that Ministers from both sides of the political divide have been presented with gifts and memorabilia on special occasions, “in my case, at no time did I ever request, solicit or influence in any way the action of any agency in relation to the presentation of gifts to me or other officials of the government,” Patterson is quoted as saying.

While the Former Minister said that he had no prior knowledge of any decision or details relating to the purchase of gifts he said that he assumed that gifts presented to him “were fully compliant with the procurement guidelines of the giving agency.”

Patterson has also denied that he received a number of electronic items as he said for security reasons, he does not accept electronics of any kind from any agency, including the government.