I write on behalf of Maranatha Ministries International Inc of which I am the chief executive. I am answerable to a congregation which is made up of all classes of people, for example, police officers, army officials, public servants, educators, cane-cutters, nurses, city council workers and others. We are living in a world where primitive notions (laws) are non-existent. The reason for this is that man has reached a high level of maturity in dealing with human government and affairs. In times past, we were primitive in our thinking and acted without understanding the consequences of our actions.
We as human beings have the ability to conduct ourselves in an acceptable manner in society because there are universities, internet access, brilliant historians, poets, political analysts and all the things needed for a balanced society, so that we would not become insignificant and plunge into societal and moral decay. There is a great danger when brilliant men begin to adapt or lean to primitive thinking and more so, hold on to the concept that others will agree with them. While it is true that the vilest of humans is capable of saying and declaring primitive things which negatively affect their individual household of maybe five or seven, there are far greater consequences to do so in a nation of seven hundred and fifty thousand people.
In Guyana we have seen the decay of our society on all fronts with evidence, and I mean strong evidence, of corruption.
Many years ago in the mid ’80s, I worked in a shipping company that was on the rise. Suddenly, I was promoted to Superintendent of the entire operation, which promotion afforded me the privilege of living in the company house with twenty-four hour security and driving a brand new car. After a few months, being new in this position and not fully into the function of Superintendent, a consignee came to me with a customs officer in the transit shed, and sought my assistance in clearing his cargo.
(Notably, in my former position as a clerk, no one ever approached me with a request for help.) The first thing that happened is, I was handed an envelope with what appeared like currency. Previously, I heard of corrupt officers who would arrange for a fee, the expeditious clearing of a consignee’s cargo. I had no evidence that this was happening, it was just hearsay. Nevertheless, I kept the envelope and proceeded to use my position and authority to conduct business in a manner that is akin to a corrupt transaction.
At the end of that day, I opened the envelope only to find not a day’s pay or even a week’s wages, but money that was ill gotten, and lots of it. I began to feel bad about this act, but did not know how to return this money to the consignee; and so 1 sat down at home and assessed the situation and concluded that because of my privileged position as the superintendent, automatically I was in a position to receive a massive amount of money if I remained.
It was in the month of December (the peak period) when I told my wife I was resigning, because I did not want to be known as a corrupt person (as I was a Christian leader).
Now, after close to thirty years I am seeing a multiplication of corrupt transactions being done on a daily basis. There are many forms of corruption that inundate our society. Apart from bribes, there are areas of corruption which not easily detected, but one thing is certain, as a Minister of the Gospel I am appalled at the high level of corruption that comes to my attention every now and then.
What about the time when a young man asked me to pray for him to own a car, as he already had a driver’s licence? This young man cannot read and write and has a low IQ. I just knew that something was amiss. He eventually told me how much he paid for a driver’s licence. It shocked me. Poor fellow! I prayed he didn’t get a car.
What about the time I was invited to dinner by a top business executive (an American millionaire) who shared with me in confidence the corrupt practice of a known politician? Right here in the city of Georgetown millions of dollars are dodging the tax man in Camp Street. Corruption seeps into an organisation in a legal way and no one can do anything about it. Corruption finds its way in a community when men seeks to benefit from its presence. Corruption invades a nation when lawless behaviour becomes legal practice.
When corrupt decrees are made in the name of the constitution of a nation, and men of renown move to establish such, then one must know that it is a time and season when a tsunami of corruption will follow.
In reality at the end of a tsunami there is utter destruction of property and lives. There is no known system that can eradicate corruption. From Europe to the Caribbean; from the cricket fields of India to the Oval in England; from Africa to Asia; from the banking institutions of the world to the world wide web corruption is present. We can only pray that its tenancy does not occupy our world beyond its ability to consume us. Or we can continue to have corruption occupy our space until the end of time when all men will have to answer to a higher authority – God!
Apostle Vanrick Beresford