Remigrant launches incisive publication on corruption in Guyana
AUGUST 12, 2012 | BY KNEWS | FILED UNDER NEWS
…tells horror stories of GRA, Customs and greedy contractors
His letter writings in the daily newspapers are provocative, raising serious issues regarding life in Guyana. But all that may very well pale in comparison to what he did on Friday.
Gabriel “G.H.K.” Lall, who returned to Guyana in the early 2000s after living for 30 years abroad, has penned a book on corruption in Guyana, insisting that the issue is a deep-rooted one that may have to take leaders from both sides of the divide to help root out.
It may very well generate hot controversy and debate.
G.H.K. Lall with his insightful book on corruption in Guyana
Titled, “Guyana: A National Cesspool of Greed, Duplicity & Corruption (A Remigrant’s Story)”. The book is a brutally honest one, filled with strong descriptions of Lall’s experience with the Guyana Revenue Authority and “greedy” workers there.
Lall also told tales of being ripped off by contractors, scams by bank employees and auto dealers and even of corruption at the Deeds Registry.
The remigrant, now in his 50’s, does volunteer work in the education field.
The book, which was launched Friday to a small gathering at Marian Academy, chronicles Lall’s return to Guyana and a growing intolerance of the “corruption obscenity of public officials and fellow citizens.”
Among those present at the launching were trade unionists, former Auditor General Anand Goolsarran and Chief Executive Officer of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation, Michael Khan.
Lall said that what he has written on corruption in Guyana is nothing new and is known to all Guyanese.
“It is not a story about one crooked public official, or one sleazy borrower, or one counterfeit contractor, or one traitorous family member. Rather, it is the accumulated, searing revelations highlighted from the journey of one man in the untamed jungles of Guyana,” the Preface informs.
It went further. “Greed and duplicity and corruption in Guyana cut across race – I have had terrible experiences with Indian, Black, Dougla and Amerindian folks: those I had the misfortune to deal with manifested certain common characteristics: a serious lack of scruples, a sense of entitlement and an unwillingness to travel the hard, grueling road of sacrifice.”
In one instance in the book, Lall whose wife has passed away, spoke of bringing in his prized possessions and being forced to fork over $150,000 after they were assessed as commercial and not personal items. It was the same attitude of corruption that he found at GRA while processing his application for duty free concessions.
“Corruption is not a Georgetown, Berbice or Essequibo problem but rather a “national” one,” he stresses.
The author described as an insult, the decision by the US Embassy not to accept local documents from Guyana when an application is made for a visa. He likened the revelations of corruption to incest, which nobody wants to talk about, but needs to come to light.
The remigrant, lauding Kaieteur News and Stabroek News for their exposure of corruption, urged for political leaders, professional bodies and other pressure groups to apply pressure to weed out a system that is deep-rooted.
Earlier, attorney-at-law, Gino Persaud, who also happens to be President of the Chapter of Transparency International, noted that corruption hurts everyone and feeds inequality.
“It affects the building of roads and schools, and payments to teachers, nurses and police and takes away resources from the masses, enriching a few,” Persaud stated
He also pointed out that it is a fact that Guyana has rated a lowly 134 out of 183 on the global Corruptions Perception Index.
Also speaking at the launching was former Auditor General Goolsarran who noted that he too returned to Guyana as a remigrant, only six months ago, and said he is “angry, sad and ashamed” at the corruption level in the country which is at the “crossroads”.
Goolsarran, an outspoken letter writer also, admitted to being targeted and even ridiculed by family members because of his stance on corruption. He urged for Guyanese to speak out more.
The book is being sold at the Austin’s Book Store, on Church Street.