Dear Editor,

The PPP leadership and indeed others are in a serious quandary over the WikiLeaks cables. These cables allow ordinary Guyanese a unique fly-on-the-wall view of the dangerous extent to which our state has become criminalized under the Jagdeo government while various officials and their friends have amassed considerable and inexplicable fortunes at the expense of the ordinary citizens.

These cables are not the product of amateurism or individual style. They are well structured, classified and sourced. Yet, following the publication in the media of a cable that revealed some collaboration between her and the US Embassy in Guyana, then Home Affairs Minister Gail Teixeira described its contents as “two-thirds” opinion without saying which third was factual. Her political boss refers to the cables as “impressions” while Dr Luncheon, reflecting his recent courtroom experiences refers to them as “hearsay.” Perhaps unable to grasp the significance of the revelations, presidential aspirant Donald Ramotar found them “slightly amusing.”

Let us examine a December 28, 2005 cable reporting on a meeting Ms Teixeira had with the US officials. It contains a Reference ID, date of creation, classification and origin, ie, the particular embassy. This is then followed by a summary which for the meeting Ms Teixeira had with the US officers on December 23, 2005 reads as follows:

“SUMMARY. Charge, Deputy Consul, and Pol. Off met with Minister of Home Affairs Gail Teixeira on December 23.

“Teixeira had requested a Consular briefing on trends in fake Guyanese civil documents detected by the Consular Section.

“Teixeira also described problems with control of the visa process in Guyana’s foreign missions…   Teixeira also discussed voter registration problems that continue to dog the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) (septel).  END SUMMARY.”

Here is a summary of the contents of the cable under the six captions identified therein.

1. No Control Over Birth, Marriage Registrations

Indicating that Ms Teixeira met with the US Embassy as recently as one month earlier, the first paragraph under the caption starts as follows: “Teixeira had asked Ambassador last month to send a Consular Officer to brief her on fraudulent birth and marriage certificates issued by the General Register Office (GRO) that had been detected by the Consular Section.”

2. Trying to Control Who Comes In and Who Stays Out

This caption begins with the following factual assertion: “Teixeira mentioned several suspicious visa cases on her plate.” The section also included the following direct quotes:

“a) However, she did suggest twice that her relationship with the Delhi Embassy was dictated by orders from higher authority.“

b) Teixeira said one of Guyana’s embassies and two honorary consuls in particular, are now her biggest problems on the visa front; and

“c) In Teixeira’s words, Guyana does not have an immigration policy.  There is little control over visa issuance.“

3. Corruption Interferes Constantly

Under this caption Ms Teixeira is quoted as acknowledging there “was quite a lot of corruption in the immigration division,“ and that a former advisor is “very closely linked to a number of networks, particularly the Chinese.“ She is reported as describing “a slush fund financed by Brazilian fees for work permits that [two officials] had run. Unable to pin any direct evidence of illegal activity on [one of them], Teixeira said she had dealt with him by sending him on long-term leave.”

Ms Teixeira is further reported as stating that “while corruption also existed in the police force and GRO, the corruption of justices and magistrates was the most worrying.  She said all Guyanese know which cases, magistrates, and lawyers are tainted by corruption. As a result, the government cannot win important convictions.  Similarly, she said everyone knows who the ‘drug lawyers’ are, but the local bar association is too feeble to disbar anyone.”

4. Still Uneasy about American Religious Groups and Airstrips

This caption briefly addresses the Seventh Day Aviation medical group operating in Guyana and possible contamination of Amerindian communities by American religious groups.

5. Request for Assistance [by Ms. Teixeira]

The cable states that “Teixeira made two requests for assistance.” These were for 1) “computeriz[ing] the civil document process … and creat[ing] scanned archival copies of all old records” and 2) “auditing the GRO’s internal control procedures.”

6. Comments

In two closing paragraphs the cable expresses opinions including that “Teixeira criticizes her predecessor Gajraj’s imperious, direct control over the Ministry’s workings, [but] she has only slightly loosened the reins of control herself.” The cable ends with the unflattering but not unfair assessment that “more than a few Guyanese insiders think of her as a lightweight better suited to her previous position as Minister of Youth, Culture, and Sport.”

Not only does this cable debunk Ms Teixeira’s statement about two-thirds being “opinion” but it also raises the possibility of another extremely serious matter which she herself brooked with Stabroek News in an article on September 4. She said that she is “known for not disclosing internal party or government matters to outsiders.” Known to whom and in any case in one fell swoop, as evidenced by a single cable, she appears to have done quite a bit of disclosing.

While I am not surprised that under President Jagdeo’s dysfunctional administration the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was excluded from a request for foreign assistance, it is of concern that Ms Teixeira was not accompanied at the meeting by a representative from her ministry. Moreover, it requires some explanation that a minister of the government could be so friendly with a foreign state to which her boss was often openly antagonistic. Maybe Ms Teixeira considered her relationship with the US so special as to exclude them from her noble policy of “not disclosing internal party or government matters to outsiders.”

Yours faithfully,
Christopher Ram