There is national information leakage on everything

Dear Editor,

Word has come to me from different sources that this country has a serious problem that has remained out of sight and out of mind.  It is called leaks.  These leaks are not related to taxes (evaded); duties (unapplied); or foreign exchange stashes/reserves (lost and found, then lost again).  No, this is about the national sieve of continuous information leakage on just anything and near everything.

The reports are that leakages are so chronic as to constitute a local pandemic.  There are compromised bureaucrats; they could be senior, junior, and people in sensitive and strategic places.  They include those with divided loyalties; also, look for those who are expected to be government loyalists, and there are many sellers in this bustling, commercially-oriented throng.  The marketplace consists of many ready sellers and willing loaded buyers.  Information selling is risky business and it is not cheap.

Information shared means remaining in good graces; justifying secret existence; and the rationalizing of generous retainers paid by generous recipients.  Information has a premium attached, and the men buying do not have cash flow problems, especially now that the money has been squeezed and they are locked out of the power circles.  Starved men with a significant stake in the game need to know.  They pay to know, and they pay richly.

Someone makes a believed pertinent phone call, and it could be out there in less than a heartbeat.  Technology helps.  The actual content might not be known, but the substance could be easily extrapolated, given the parties to the conversation, or the particular sequence of events leading up to the call.  Ministries, some law enforcement departments, and some oversight bodies can be compared to colanders: liquid pours forth, there are nuggets embedded for paying recipients.  Some of the leakers would have a terribly difficult time explaining their sudden, visible, and expensive assets.  Nobody is fooled, yet many fall.

Yes, many are required to execute confidential agreements.  These matter for naught, as many times, they are observed mainly in the breach; surreptitiously, of course.  Integrity, team loyalty, and personal honour are scarcer than foreign currency in this realm, and just as pricey.

Who to trust?  Who is selling?  Who is observing and calculating?  At least one of the parties sitting at the table is highly likely to be compromised.  He is a seller of information, and has a mental or cyber rolodex of well-heeled buyers.  Heels they are, too.  This explains why targets, opponents, and those under scrutiny seem to know details, know movements, and know intentions very early in any proceedings.  Other places have the public albatrosses of one Julian Assange and one Edward Snowden; Guyana has many small-time versions of them operating in the shadows.

Editor, there is awareness that some like to pretend they ‘know’ when in fact they are stupendously ignorant. This is not the case presented.  There are those who know, but what is known and shared is trivial, and lack value.  Again, this is not the situation; it is neither of rumours nor of the petty.  Rather, these leaks involve some of the real thorny, controversial, and problematic issues wrestled with in this country, and on which traction is struggled for continually.  Once more: in some instances, the place is like a koker perpetually opened.  In view of changes contemplated and pending, inside intelligence is even more invaluable now.

These grave violations undermine anti-corruption efforts, and expose clean dedicated strivers.  I see all of this as part of the ongoing internal mini-rebellions, the individual (shares and payers) yearning for a return to an old way of life that in some respects is still largely uncontrolled, and to which there is stout resistance to any change pondered.  Too many citizens, too many state workers desire the easy money of a time with no standard, no implementation, and no compliance.  So, now they sell and buy information to circumvent, or get ahead, of the system.  It is a war of wills, and a battle for time.

In this small society, tightly clustered, there are few secrets.  And those that once were do not remain so for long.  This is a monstrous way to do business, to get anything positive done, or to move away from what has devastated.  I do not see this situation improving anytime soon, unless there is the isolating of participants and letting due process take over from there.

Yours faithfully,

GHK Lall