Gosh! Bear with me as I feel compelled to return to the issues of SARU and stolen state assets addressed herein last Friday.
Why? Because it is mighty interesting to contemplate the criticisms and opposition regarding the assets recovery initiatives as it is to consider the merits of the criticisms, from whence they emanate and why.
Also from my perspective, frankly speaking, recent executive thievery is also bound up with today’s generational shift in morality – values once held dear but now deemed obsolete and burdensome by many. Yes, I submit that shifts in the meanings of honesty, hero and role-model have produced a new breed of crooks who do not ever accept that they are thieves. From the lazy, get-rich youth to the well-placed, organized public or private sector executive, not much is “wrong” these days.
But my additional brief comments on SARU and SOCU – and “prominent responses” now follow.
Genuine concerns vs self-interest
It is, of course, normal and desirable that all investigations, arrests and prosecutions must unfold strictly within the law and all prescribed procedures.
After all, Guyana is a democracy governed by a very complex concept known as the rule of law. To me, Frankly Speaking, that concept, however vitally necessary, is too often manipulated by crooks and their legal representatives. To me too often the law favours wily crooks and sophisticated thieves, as I lamented last Friday herein. Okay, I know that laws are fashioned for the good of all especially us the honest law abiding citizens. We need its protection. Alas, too often the wicked use it to play for time or just escape.
The Bill to establish our State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA) is being scrutinised to ensure that no draconian biased law is used against the innocent (???). A judge just ruled that SOCU cannot easily access suspects’ tax info. So my layman’s mind now grapples with just how much concern is about the fairness of the coming law or outright protection of crooks now in possession of poor peoples’ assets and cash.
Which civil society watchdog, which well-meaning attorney or rights advocate really wants to ensure justice for all? The “Human Rights” academic outfit? The businessmen’s interests? Friends of alleged suspects?
Like last Friday I ask again today: will those suspected of stealing and stashing national assets be ever made to return them and/or be appropriately penalized? Discuss…
What Trump priorities (could) mean
President Trump – the two month old, nationalist, businessmen/deal maker of an American leader – has presented his initial outline of his first national budget. As in everything before and after his tumultuous, unexpected election to the White House, the budget has evoked some consternation among some – far and wide.
As he had promised President Trump wants to beef up the American military’s might so badly he is prepared to downsize or eliminate completely some vital domestic welfare programmes that will impact negatively on America’s needy. Do the easy research to discover the details of those humanitarian services slated for dumping.
Equally troubling is Mr. Trump’s budgetary proposals to drastically cut foreign aid. Examples are: his own State Department’s needs to pursue American diplomacy has been targeted; deep cuts in numerous foreign aid programmes through the ubiquitous USAID and even international assistance to flight HIV-AIDS worldwide are under great threat.
Trump was or is never your traditional Republican; he is so maverick that his own legislators are now fuming over both the budget and his alternative to Obama’s affordable healthcare (Obamacare). Democrats point out that his priorities, exclusively America first (or only), would jeopardise America’s status in the (needy) world community. Trump’s “vision”, seemingly, excludes winning those “heart and minds”. And the French have already warned: “cutting funding of global programmes could fuel instability”.
Will Mr Trump take heed? Perhaps his Congress – House and Senate – will. And what will Trump’s priorities mean for our portion of the planet? Discuss…
Local Government: Water tank, radio-set
God forbid but suppose that filled 400-gallon water tank had fallen on Justice Bovell-Drakes head! And would not Jillian Jacobi be alive today if transportation from one village to the Lethem Regional Hospital was available and that facility’s radio set was there in working order?
What’s the above all about?
Well I’m using two bits of drama – from the humorous (?) to the seriously ridiculous – to illustrate the shortcomings of hoped-for self-reliance in the management of rural and regional Guyana.
A few Fridays ago I sought to highlight the inefficiencies and the corrupt practices now being laid bare throughout the local government system. Especially after the landmark local elections in March 2015.
Could no “works” officer in New Amsterdam know that that dangerous water tank was resting on suspect wooden beams? At the Lethem hospital could not the young doctor access another radio-set to get the advice needed from Georgetown? To prevent another maternal death? Oh well.
My old “PNC friend”, remigrant REO Ovid “Ayatollah” Morrison of Region 5 (WCB) just recently mounted a “procurement and stores” training forum for about forty pharmacists and their juniors, storekeepers, their assistants, overseers and other officials from many districts. Operating procedures and efficient management of the procurement system in that Region were pounded in. Better late than never! Now for rigid monitoring but swift distribution as needed…
Reflect on these…
.1) Hopeful imagination here: Could not the Georgetown City Administration have pursued a loan or some investment whereby the City alone could have charged reasonable low fees for metered parking with all the revenue being its own for all time?
.2) When His Excellency obeyed his party leader Mr Hoyte to have his name submitted as a candidate for GECOM Chairman was he – our present President – then not “a fit and proper” person?
.3) Will any new GECOM chairman run roughshod over the other commissioners? (To facilitate “rigging”?)
.4) Again I ask the more qualified and professional experts: How come we have thousands of female single parents? And can any parent be really “single”?
’Til next week!