If even regarded by some as ramblings or waffle, I return to my lead issues with pointed brevity.
In this week’s Sunday Stabroek an item not directly related to our pervasive politics, but, most likely, never-the-less, the product of our self-serving “politics” of governance, caught my eye, arrested my attention.
Captioned “Local anti-laundering unit remains invisible – – even as assets of suspicious figures being disposed of “ (Page 15), the story lamented one vital failure of the “strategy”, or lack of it, to arrest the success of local money launderers and drug-traffickers, to wit, the failure, indifference of an existing (?) Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) to “pursue (even) investigations into the origins of the assets” of even local convicted Drug Traffickers and Barons. The Court of Public Opinion cannot convict suspects but their nefarious wealth acquisition-activities are easily known by elements who often are lesser minions – couriers, packers, gophers, fronts. And by specific police operatives who know the principals. How I’d love to experience Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) Commissioner-General Khurshid Sattaur probing certain suspects! Under his vast legal powers. (What? The Barons pay up their taxes?)
Even as the Official Orator of Circumlocution, Roger Luncheon speaks of the establishment of an investigative unit for a similar FIU responsibility, I understand that the composition of a new FIU is one of the Opposition concerns delaying passage of a FATF-friendly Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism Bill in our Assembly. The consequences redound to the benefit of the cocaine crooks. Allegedly our local Barons, well connected through the Politics of Donations, spirit their loot to foreign accounts and relatives’ assets. They also, allegedly, establish huge washing-machine laundries through new businesses, expensive infrastructure, sponsorship, donations. Even entertainment and sport!
I am told that in Mexico and certain Latin American countries Drug Lords feed the poor, even build Churches! Morality under siege here! But I’ll grapple with the Christians’ Holy Bible, a few paragraphs later.
The Caricom, the DEA…
Again, I suggest to my younger journalistic investigators/feature writers to explore whether there is any Unit or Department in the Caricom Secretariat which is dedicated to active strengthening of Illegal Narcotics Investigation and Eradication in Member States. Besides “Background Papers”, Analyses and International Agreements, there just might be some such (effective) Support Mechanism.
But the Bajans, Trinidadians, Antiguans and Jamaicans especially are going after the Barons and their ill-gotten assets. We read of Jamaica’s Financial Investigations Division (FID), Proceeds-Of-Crime Act and Assets Recovery Agency (ARA). Name one reason why Guyana is different.
Meanwhile I welcome the turtle-slow establishment of a full-fledged DEA Office in this Beleaguered City of Georgetown of a Dozen Barons and Countless Needy Greedy Couriers. The American Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is a federal law enforcement agency… tasked with combating drug smuggling in the US… it also has sole responsibility for “Co-ordinating and pursuing US drug investigations abroad”.
Many countries around the globe, friendly to the US; often invite the DEA, through the Department of Justice, to assist them in their fight against drug manufacture and trade. Especially since the very United States, is a primary market for the deadly illegal product.
Not immune to criticism and ridicule itself, the DEA’s Office of Global Enforcement has to be spread thin! Will it be effective in Georgetown? With all the DEA already knows, could it influence, persuade local law enforcement and judicial authorities to crack down? Who will be most affected? Discuss…
Mischievously perhaps, Carol directs me to the Christian’s Holy Bible – Proverbs 13:22 and Job 27:16. I shall return some time to these advisory teachings, after I seek expert theological, interpretive assistance. What does Proverbs mean when it declares that: “A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children – and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just!”?
The wealth of the sinner? For the just? The seized assets of the Drug Lord may be used for a National Drug Rehab Centre? Assist me here, Good Christians…
“Chinese proof” officials??
I’ll have to return to this issue as a substantive item if justice is to be done to what can be a sensitive, sometimes international subject. But I could not resist repeating a description sent to me by an aggrieved and concerned businessman. For whom I hold no brief, mind you, but whose writings and sentiments I admire.
Just as I have been reading about Chinese Global economic aggression and modus operandi in under-developed countries; now that I am reading that Chinese are allegedly responsible for de-forestation in parts of Africa and who might just be present in Guyana’s hinterland; just as I’m reading of what the Jamaicans, Africans and Brazilians are asking/demanding of Chinese-Investors, a friend’s spouse tells me of cash in envelopes, then cash with bouquets of flowers – as sweeteners!
This is first-hand evidence of an Asian technique in Third World economics. Hence the need for upright officials dealing with local investment-approaches. This Businessman suggest “Chinese-Proof/Asian-Proof” transactions. That can withstand Parliamentary scrutiny! More next time.
(Deforestation earns us no Carbon Credits; no sympathy; moreso no opportuntiies for those locals left behind!)
*1) What? An Anti-Narcotics Chief is designated to be the next US Ambassador to Georgetown? And a DEA Office soon?
*2) Poor Old PNC Stalwart Aubrey. Mc Allister explains that poor Norton’s supporters pretended to nominate Granger, so as not to be identified. But new David had old advisers! (Lol!)
*3) After the massive clean-up of City and Cemetery, will City Hall be allowed to maintain?
*4) Would you allow your clean ten-year old to sit on any bench provided along the Main Street Avenue?
(5) Dr. Rose’s National Trust is planning to fence around the 1763 National Monument “Complex”. Pre-empt contention, Doc! Invite suggestions now!
‘Til next week!