The sinister and intimidatory tone of Mr Peter Fraser’s reply (‘The law only works against those who fail to comply with it,’ SN 14.2.09) to my letter was quite unsurprising.
It seems to reflect the mindset of his superiors. If, however, this is the GRA’s idea of PR then I humbly suggest that they save some of our hard-earned tax dollars and dispense with Mr Fraser’s department altogether. What they can do is to use their court orders as their press releases.
However, let us dispense with the facts:- The probe team investigating the Fidelity Polar Beer scam felt sufficiently moved by the GRA’s lack of co-operation to mention it in their report. For inter-government agencies to criticize one another is very rare in most parts of the world, but it is virtually unheard of in our little corner of paradise. And even after the GRA protested fitfully, the same probe team did not feel it necessary to offer a retraction. Their silence speaks volumes. We, the public, are then left to interpret that non-cooperation is the usual modus operandi of the GRA. Or their idea of compliance and assistance is at variance with that of the probe team. Or worse yet, they felt embarrassed that wrongdoings at their end would show up the incompetency and corruption in their offices.
However, Mr Fraser would rather we accept his version of affairs and rebukes SN for entertaining views to the contrary. I find such sensitivity to criticism rather rich coming from a department whose head applies his own critiques with a broad brush, not bothering to make distinctions, for instance when he refers to the business community as being unscrupulous.
Particularly troubling was Mr Fraser’s desire for SN to censor its writers. One can only imagine what the newspapers would look like if the GRA ran them. SN should have responded to Mr Fraser. Then again, Mr Fraser’s missive needed no criticism. His words and tone were damning enough, and I can quite safely say they served to achieve the exact opposite of his intention.
H A Latchana