(Bet today’s piece will rank amongst my “most-brief” as I seek some “time-out”)
I’ll skip the usual classical definitions of corruption – as in executive, governmental corruption – those shady illegal practices. Suffice to say this brief commentary refers to the many shrewd, varied, even sophisticated ways of pilfering from the public purse for personal or group gain. You hear of it in every country, you feel it here: individuals or groups in public office, in areas of authority, some walking in the corridors of real power, find ways after extended periods which can reveal both weaknesses, and opportunity, to convert (poor) taxpayers’ contribution to their personal benefit.
Now here in our Guyana -an under-developed land of rich natural resources from the beginning of time -only a few individuals, families and companies seem to have really enjoyed the takings from bauxite, gold, diamonds, manganese, rice, sugar, timber, marine products and even the new service/technological enterprises.
Okay, there are legitimate reasons for that sometimes. Some enterprising folks made sacrifices filled with risks. Some had the capital. Some were placed to appreciate – for example – that a developing society will need stone, sand and cement. Many families had long left the land to venture into commerce and industry. Others opted for public service professions, trades and fancy uniforms. But alas, a few engaged in crookery, thievery, takings from the drug trade and outright nepotism – corruption!
Finding out, the “headstart”
Pardon the repetitions, but we who are interested – like our Auditor–General – in knowing how taxes, loans, grants and investments are managed and spent, know that whilst in Opposition the APNU+AFC comrades vowed to expose and penalise those whom they deemed guilty of sustained, “scientific” corrupt thievery. Upon victory three years ago it was forensic audits and commissions of inquiry like peas! What have we gotten for the millions expended on those hearings, investigations and probes? You tell me. (I know his Excellency knows which recommendations he likes from his inquiries but…) And some audits were intended to identify and correct loopholes.
Anyhow, this piece is based on my reading of the utterances of Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, Opposition Leader, still fresh from the zenith of power and opportunity.
Among his very recent “warnings” was that decisions by Attorney–General Williams to “settle winnable court cases brought against the state were possible conduits for government corruption. He wondered just who is benefiting financially from the settlements. (Never mind these cases were filed long before APNU+AFC assumed office!) And Dr Jagdeo is also wondering just why government seems reluctant to release info regarding all the local companies currently engaged by ExxonMobil. Who owns these fortunate companies? He wants revelations.
There are those in this (political) society who insist that Dr Jagdeo has no moral authority to speak on such matters, given his tenure of alleged corruption. I disagree.
If critics of the now Opposition can accuse it of being corrupt whilst in office surely they are implying – or adamant – that the members of the last regime knew/know how to be corrupt. Frankly speaking then, should we all not take notice of the opposition “warnings” as former alleged “experts” in wrong– doing?
And consider my two favourite folklore/creole proverbs relevant to this issue: “tiefman na like see e mattie wid bag” and “good tiefman mek good watchman”. You don’t have to like the opposition to listen to them. They could know well what they are saying.
“In time to come…”
One of my favourite calypsos of years past is “In Time To Come” by Trinidad’s Crazy. In a lovely composition he predicts all he feels that would occur in his native Trinidad and around the world. Quite funnily futuristic. But he was ultimately accurate.
His Excellency President Granger has taken to using the expression “in the fullness of time…”
His Excellency’s last assurance was “We are confident that in the fullness of time we will be able to deliver to the Guyanese citizens… a better life, a safer life and a more prosperous country”.
He cannot cease dispensing hope to all. The problem is that for decades the population has heard these promises and has become both doubtful, indifferent and fatigued! But remember my reminder – PNC 28 years, PPP 23 years – equals 51! His Excellency, just three years.
Developments we yearn for now should have happened decades ago. I suspect that, notwithstanding increasing flaws, His Excellency quotes “the fullness of time” because he has some evidence of confidence in the future. Here is my own little ditty:
Once again we’re told we’ll shine in the fullness of time.
Our ongoing toil will be helped by oil that does not spoil
Avoid any stealth with oil’s sovereign wealth
But who will manage our future? PPP or PNC?
That’s on my mind, I await the fullness of time.
Ponder this weekend…
Gecom’s elections cometh! This yearend’s local elections will be a dry-run for the 2020 big national crucial polls.
Keep an eye on Gecom now! They have advertised for new wooden boats, contractors to build offices and for electoral trainers. An IT specialist from overseas is about to begin work. On-going registration should ensure a pure list of electors. (And the PPP’s Dr Luncheon says Gecom is shy to employ Indo-Guyanese!) Keep your eyes on Gecom!
Farewell “Matte–Big–Man” – Geoffrey Rebel Phillips. On Sunday he joins V.J., Guymine, Canary and Hector. Y’all buss some Kaiso up there. Then RIP.
Til next week!