Public agencies should be subject to higher standards of scrutiny than private inidividuals

Dear Editor,

“NICIL doesn’t have to explain where money comes from” -Brassington (KN, December 22). That is the gospel according to these fellows as directed at local heretics. Now that stance might have been the standard in the old USSR or Red China, and compliments of the once swaggering PPP regimes. But this is a new and different Guyana. Well so I hope.

Editor, before proceeding to the crux, permit me to share what is the routine in this society.

A family member goes to the bank, and is asked for ID and proof of address. Again. There was an inquiry regarding source of funds. Again. It did not matter that those minuscule amounts were with the bank for several years now.

The questions came and that exercise continues. Again.

Editor, I am a private citizen of no standing, and this is the rigour ‒ intrusive, redundant, but necessary ‒ to which I am subjected. The same obtains for others. Having been closely associated with AML efforts in its pioneering days overseas, I absorb and follow (even welcome) the obligatory irritation, the overcompensation by the local commercial banks. And remember I am a private citizen with limited resources and disclosed, as well as traceable ones, too.

Now when the instance and issues involve a public and state representative agency, the standards and practices and expectation should be no different, as to origins, contexts, sources, and contributors of funds and assets. In fact, I submit that they should be higher and tighter; after all, the people’s interests are at risk.

Thus for anyone to advocate otherwise (non-disclosure) has to be emblematic of deplorable arrogance and condemnable disdain. It is because of conduct such as this, and the resultant bitter domestic fruits, that the foreigners were so adamant in confronting the previous government. It is because of such secretiveness and the associated nefariousness, that a regime change became imperative. And it is because of the flourishing of such practices that there is the appalling level of lawlessness in this society.

Dutiful defenders, perhaps suffering from a paucity of ethical moorings, are left to defend the indefensible and rationalize the irrational. In the meantime, beleaguered citizens trudge forward in the struggle to find any narrow pathway available through the proliferating criminal minefield sowed. This is what secrecy spawns. This is the ugly legacy of a time and a set of folks who knew (still know) nothing but perversity and unmatched trickery. Now they paw the air in flimsy defiance, they conduct rearguard bureaucratic and media scorch-the-earth policies, designed to mislead further and to conceal some more. Their clock ticks rapidly.

That time is up. The bell is tolling.

 

Yours faithfully,

GHK Lall

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