Conflicting statements emanating from the Commissioner General of the Guyana Revenue and the Honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs about fraud in the re-migrant concession scheme are a source of much confusion.
Mr. Statia of the GRA alleges that one-in-three applications are fraudulent (https://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/2018/08/24/scams-involving-re-migrants-gone-from-bad-to-worse/) whilst Minister Greenidge asserts, “Our records do not suggest that you have had any dramatic infringements, primarily because we, at Foreign Affairs in defining re-migrants, do not go outside the law,” (http:// dpi.gov.gy/minister-greenidge-sheds-light-on-remigrants-process/).
I have no cause to doubt the Honorable Minister and it is clear from reading the statements of Mr. Statia that his agenda is to make or influence government policy. “Mr. Statia said that he is a proponent for tax credits being applied in Guyana…They are simple and easier to administer.” So here we have a Public Officer attempting to make policy when his job description clearly directs him to execute the policies of the Administration. This is caused by the lack of clear policy from the APNU+AFC administration.
This situation prevails in every aspect of the Granger administration, what is the policy on Culture? Sport? Job creation? Welfare? Immigration? Education?
In the absence of written policy one usually relies on pronouncements from the President and members of the cabinet. As in this case, they all too often seem unaware of each other’s thoughts and/or actions. In over three years of patent mismanagement, policy questions keep piling up.
Cabinet entertained a Minister’s presentation of an ‘unsolicited’ approach, then approved the Minister’s direction of the CEO of the Demerara Harbour Bridge company to hand over $161 million dollars without knowledge or approval of the company board, is this a new policy? Why is Conservation International involved in Guyana’s Sovereign Wealth Fund consultations? What is the policy basis for such a decision? The Venezuelan homestead in Region One? I do hope these examples provoke thought and discussion as the complete list would be onerous.
The other issue arising from the conflicting information is that the Commissioner General has provided patently false information to the public, according to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, apart from a mild rebuttal of the GRA claim issued by the Department of Public Information.
Will any disciplinary action be taken against the Commissioner General? This will be an interesting policy decision “nature abhors a vacuum”…Aristotle.