President Ramotar has done nothing about corruption
I seek to share some thoughts on the Donald Ramotar presidency. While this is done most respectfully, I caution that the language can be sharp and unsparing at times. On the other hand, I have heard these same thoughts expressed more disparagingly by many others.
Did Mr. Ramotar really want this job? Or was it thrust upon him? Whichever one it is, His Excellency has withered, then faded before the eyes of the nation. He has disappeared in a haze of the same intrigue which elevated him to the heights. Further, there is the suspicion that the same traceable hand of intrigue is still diabolically engaged in the nation’s business and to its detriment. Full-time.
From before the assumption of office, I thought that the new leader was not up to the demands of the task at hand, and said so very publicly. Now he has proven this time and again.
For starters, the then new president talked a resonant line about “unity” in early December. Yet his people are busy sowing dissension, dissension about parliament and majority that is appropriately authorized. It is a parliament that cannot be tolerated-or understood- for its potential to draw, quarter, put in stocks, hang, burn at the stake, and castrate the corruption geese. Mr Ramotar knows about who, how, and where; be they the party’s agents spreading dissent or the corruption geese. He knows how some of his party’s own support base-the educated, the thinking, the conscientious, and the principled-spoke through their abstention in November. And His Excellency knows why they did so quietly but powerfully, individually but effectively. Their revolt and desertion are traceable to a single word: corruption.
And what has the president done on that score? What do his actions say? Let us look. The first thing of significance done was to retain some of the incumbents; men whose hands and characters are so stained a pig would refuse ablutions from them. Sadly, the same could be said of some of the new faces. From what is known now, the president’s hands could have been forced.
But this is his ship to captain, and his show to run. At least this is how I see it. As a lowly citizen, I do not take kindly to being dictated to, or being used as a pawn –I respond aggressively, extremely aggressively. While public aggression is frowned upon from a president, there is the expectation of private backbone, and respect due. In the same vein, Mr. Ramotar should not let either man-or fowl-walk over him; especially when there is so much corruption and secrecy associated with that particular source. That dubious character should be sent packing. Through these pages, I encourage Mr. Ramotar: Take a stand! Be presidential.
Speaking of secrecy, the president is reported to have said through an intermediary, that secrecy breeds suspicion. Right on, sir! But can I say NICIL? Well, there is a test for where the “big maan” really stands on secrecy. All I wish to add is that if almost everything of meaning is secret, then is there anything that is the public’s business? That is, anything of substance? Clearly, in these enlightened days, it cannot be limited to whatever charade or sleight-of-hand that the government decides. Just like the charades about investigations that are really damage control though transfers and reassignments, circling wagons, lying low; and this latest farce about resignations.
Staying with corruption, I encourage His Excellency to conduct a simple exercise. It goes like this. He should recall 1997, when he became general secretary. He must remember the impecuniosity of his comrades at that time. Now he has to take a look at the staggering, stupendous prosperity they represent. The president must be the judge as to the source of such monumental asset accumulation. Start with cabinet, move over to parliament, stop at some of the government offices more often in the news, and known corruption fleshpots.
So that focus is maintained, the president should only look at the gorilla in the glass case: It is called source of wealth (SOW), as acronyms go, a proper one. The leader might refuse to acknowledge any of this, but Guyanese are nowhere as dumb as believed; or it is desired that they be. They know, and they know that he knows.
At this point, I pause for a moment to present His Excellency with my humble “Report Card.” On a scale of one to a hundred, with the upper limits representing excellence, I have scored him in the single digits, at least where action on corruption is concerned. I think that honest citizens of this nation will agree.
What does all of this say about the president? How is he seen in the eyes of those he, should I say, serve? Sadly, it is that he is not his own man, that he is reduced to being a ventriloquist’s mannequin. Thus, we hear of patriots speaking unabashedly of charging whatever price floats in their heads, and the rest is up to buyer; of another patriot repeatedly gifting the nation flotation and underwater structures, not intended to do either. May I suggest the Cacique Crown of Honour this time, and for both of them?
What does the president intend to do about all of this? Can he do something? Here is the bottom line question: how does he intend to respond to rebellious, absentee supporters? And now the former speaker? More and more the impression is that he cannot and will not, platitudes aside.
Mr. Ramotar should know that previous presidents, except one, provoked anger and were disliked to some extent –the exception is just plain contemptible and lacking any saving graces. On the other hand, he is liked, but an object of ridicule and pity. Different postures, buttressed by firm action on his part can reverse some of this.
I write to share and to exhort him to action; the president already has the facts of enlightenment. He did say that being held to ransom is a non starter. By the same token, I say that the nation is angry at being insulted and patronized and dismissed. Something has to give, and time is not on anyone’s side, most of all his own. The corruption ball is now in his hands; it is huge and heavy; it is dirty and stinking. It might even be square and immovable. It is costly, but ignoring all the signs and portents might be even costlier.