Dear Editor,

The Hon. Minister of Public Telecommunications, Ms. Cathy Hughes, MP, has come before the public.  From a personal perspective, the minister has spoken and then written comprehensively and unambiguously as to the absence of any conflicts of interest regarding her involvement in the matter currently captivating the attention of a great many.  I think that the minister has been convincing; she has done more than enough.  There is a ring of substance and accuracy to what she has submitted.

I am glad that the Hon. Minister rose to the occasion and did not do like some of her predecessors from other times, who when questioned about the murky and perilous sought refuge in that timeless sanctuary of “I cannot recall.”  Men and women, who are proud to exhibit their grand exposure to this or that ideology and the dogmas that go along with them, suddenly develop the fogginess of war, old age, and the kind of character palpably deficient in truth and personal honour.  In America, superpatriot, Admiral John Poindexter, a man highly regarded by many for his complete recall, skewered facts through the folly of incredible figments of the legal fiction of “I cannot recall.”  He did so in the Iran Contra hearings for an astounding total of 184 times.  Clearly, there was a stalwart besmirching himself so that truth not be told.  For who knows where such roads could lead.

To her credit, Ms. Hughes cannot be said to belong to that dubious brigade of the self-damning.  I think she laid out things without hedging or shaving the truth.  I am willing to give her a clean slate on this; and I would hope that regret does not follow.  Time will tell.

Editor, I believe all of this could be moot, as I think that there is still a problem that will lurk and continue to haunt.  Unlike the Hon. Minister of Housing, Ms. Hughes represents a target that is too enticing to let go too readily or too quickly.  As persuasive as she may have been to more than a few, this matter and her alleged taint is simply too arresting to be left alone.  I suppose if she had been a more obscure political figure, then some leeway may have been given to her, with adversaries moving on to bigger and juicer prizes.  The other problem for Ms. Hughes specifically and the government in general is that long after this has faded, it would not have faded.

The dirty political and social tricksters in Guyana would be exhuming and dragging around some un-embalmed skeleton of this story.  Like I said: too thrilling to dismiss, and it makes for good political theater.  Theatre that sells and draws a crowd.  For since the usual crowd has been mesmerized and instigated, and with the scent of plasma overpowering the nostrils, now it will not settle for anything less than a particular victim.  It could be the equivalent of “give us Barabbas.”  In other words, the fixation on Ms. Hughes is likely to redound to the specious advantage of friends and neighbours, who most likely are guilty as hell, while it is burning at a sizzling temperature.  They could benefit from a lesser level of intensity.  As a quick aside, I have heard about separate bedrooms, but not of separate lives under the roof of sacred matrimony.  Unless, of course, one is talking of marriages of modern convenience, pictures and all.  What do I know….

Editor, having tendered all of the above, I say there is an easy way out of this.  Separate distinctively and powerfully from these lucrative side deals.  To repeat some names that I have shared over the years, Guyanese politicos must be like McNamara, Paulsen, and Rubin.  Serve country and sacrifice the adjacent and concurrent gains from these other arrangements and relationships.  I must admit that I suspect that some ministers may have gotten too clever by half.  They have learned from the public service bureaucrats: nothing has their fingerprints.  It does have family, though.  And though they are entitled to equal treatment and should not be disadvantaged, the connecting strands and networks of comrades give rise to too many hard, and not ungrounded, suspicions that people talk to one another to make things come out a certain way.  It is that much of an incestuous society.  Proven, too.

It is why I say that the entitlement of separate and distinct private commercial attachments are minefields waiting to be exploded on the unwary and the innocent.  Though I am fan of Blind Trusts and fair treatment of husbands, cousins-in-law, and newly discovered step children, I remind citizens that this is Guyana not America.  Blind is not so blind; and blind ain mean dat peeeple def.  Deh duz task to waan anadder aal de time.  Develop another line of endeavour: open a spa; become a comedian.  And if those fail, then buy a piece of land in Pradoville.  What could be more legit than that….

Yours faithfully,

GHK Lall

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