Are they “executive criminals” or “criminal executives?” You choose any appropriate description for those greedy selfish persons who, once elected or catapulted into high public office, use governmental corridors of power to illegally secure wealth from the public purse, exclusively for their inner circle of relatives, friends, cronies and comrades. The spoils of executive corruption, fraud and theft leave the masses, the working-class me and you continuously needy as our taxes and fees are routinely pilfered by “big ones” through expertly-managed and implemented schemes.
But guess what – up to this sentence? I’ve gone ahead of myself in terms of what today’s offering is actually about. And even as I have to introduce “Major Retty” in my own curious style and manner. Major who?
Retired Major Aubrey Heath-Retemyer a former Guyana Defence Force (GDF) officer is most likely, related to accomplished Guyanese author Roy Heath. One of the Brigadier’s military colleagues now serving the nation via government ministries, Commissions of Inquiry, Corporate Boards and new State agencies, Major Retemyer is himself the author of “Letters To A Little Black Boy”, an interesting alphabetical narrative of inspiration, perhaps semi-autobiographical. He is also as “Christian” as he is “military.”
Perhaps it is an irony of ironies that I met and dwelt with Major Retemyer when he worked supportively, as I did, with Dr Philip Mozart Thomas to mobilise and empower local Non-government organisations (NGO’s) three/four years ago. Now, that same Dr Thomas is wanted for alleged fraud, as published recently in the local print media! Bu Major Aubrey is now the image of the State Assets Recovery Unit as its CEO. (Because of his quiet but fierce enthusiasm for our patrimony when I was able to observe him in close encounters, I called him – privately – “Major Retty”.)
And the Major and others have been recently advising in such a way as to cause me great unease.
Why? Because it seems that many guilty executive criminals might escape scot-free with their national loot!
Head start planning, great escapes?
SARU CEO Heath-Retemyer has been reported as saying: “With billions of dollars stolen annually… the public must recognize that it will be a costly venture to pursue the guilty parties… proper lawyers to prepare strong cases… particularly in light of the head-start that perpetrators have had… mis-appropriation of government money… vehicles, movable assets… procurement fraud, illicit capital flight, money laundering… 54 agencies looked at (physically)…”
Retemyer kept re-emphasising the fact that the executive suspects have had “a number of years of lead time” to “layer” funds and assets allegedly stolen. The types of thefts are “layered” in obscurity, not transparency; international agencies and banks have been approached. The CEO warns us: “It goes without saying that people who have pilfered government money can afford to hire the best lawyers…”
As he outlined the experts and specialists SARU needs, I wondered if I should not be dejected with pessimism…
Then, a letter by a Professor Rudy James further challenged and troubled me. The academic perhaps steeped in law and matters relevant to anti-corruption agencies world-wide, recently outlined how certain countries have approached their strategies to trace and recoup State assets mis-appropriated.
But in discussing specific key orders in our own proposed State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA) (Bill), he argues that orders in that (proposed) legislation could attract (much) “judicial interpretation” seemingly supporting Christopher Ram’s caution about consequential legal objections and opposition.
Poor me, frankly speaking, the “law” – “justice” – always seems weighted on the side of crooks. In our rule-of-law democracy everything must be proved (by prosecutions) beyond reasonable doubt. Well-funded and advised criminals, corrupt enterprise smiles.
Even the indomitable Pan-Africanist Guyanese Eric Phillips in reprimanding Christopher Ram’s position on the SARA Bill subtly concedes: “Mr Ram is also quite aware of Guyana’s compromised legal system in which criminal charges can be delayed in the courts for many years while the stolen assets – since they are not frozen – will be spent or disguised in the names of family and friends, etc.”
I’m aware that our police and Revenue people now have agreements with the USA regarding suspicious accounts of Guyanese origins. But the opinions – however edited – of the three gentlemen quoted leave me wondering: won’t those suspected of stealing our people’s cash and other assets escape with their looted wealth? Discuss…
Rights, voices beyond the bound-yard
No space to expound qualitatively or quantitatively here with respect to Ryhaan Shah’s customary and dutiful defence of her – and other Indians’ – right to proclaim the love for their heritage of “Indianness.”
So until I return sometime to the latest thrust – and – parry I merely repeat my admiration for the lady’s consistency – except the political pivot – and my own inability to ever be as “Indian” as she hopes persons like myself should be.
However, a few issues for consideration: there could be easy “differentiation” between calls for ethnic pride and appeals to racist, political definitions; sure, no pre-hundred-year bound-yard mentalities should enslave the minds of Indian descendants but their advocates should not pursue their economic status as triumphalism, (since incidentally, most very poor Guyanese would still include thousands of “Indians”); and yes, Indo-Guyanese who choose not to be mentally or spiritually bound to Mother India should not be regarded as lesser beings; origins should nurture – not overwhelm…
.1) Does SARU know of any major national assets pilfered since mid-2015?
.2) Are “Amerindian rights” specific/special? Or like any other Guyanese citizen’s rights?
.3) How are Government/GPSU wages negotiations coming along?
.4) With humility and respect I urge that our local athletic bosses view Jamaican athletic meets for secondary/tertiary/clubs and institutions.
.5) When will the new vendors mall go up on the old co-op bank site?
’Til next week!