APRIL 4, 2013 | BY KNEWS | FILED UNDER LETTERS
There are three grave tragedies of the Guyanese condition created or magnified by our divisive politics since 1950. One is the scourge of racism and ethnic polarization. Another is moral and psychological degradation of the nation. The third is economic impoverishment.
The first and the last elements have always existed in this land since the events pre- and post-Emancipation reshaped this landscape. The moral and psychological degradation of the Guyanese people before the arrival of the bitter struggles of the PPP and the PNC was limited to the immoral domination by the bourgeoisie of the working class.
The working class majority itself was peaceful, hardworking and decent-minded people grounded in justice and fairness in a sharing and crime-free working class stratum despite their sufferings. That changed with the arrival of the PPP and the PNC. They introduced full-scale ethnic division and racial apartheid politics to Guyana.
They caused their constituencies who were 85% of the population to adopt morally fraudulent and catastrophic positions out of this racial division. It was no longer what was right, just or fair, but what was racially opportunistic.
Negative ethnic generalizations and stereotyping became full-blown diseases under their reigns. All Africans were the PNC and all Indians were the PPP.
Moral hypocrisy strutted supreme. A dictatorial PNC government was to be overthrown by a Stalinist PPP party that crushed democracy. PNC socialism injected with healthy communist action (see nationalization) was condemned by the PPP and its supporters who advocated in the same breath the replacement with a communist state. PNC supporters sinfully accepted the atrocities of the PNC government just like PPP supporters support the abominations of the PPP government today.
In the grand circle of irony, these two groups of supporters have become one and the same. This moral undermining of the nation that took place in the racial-political struggles of the fifties and sixties have left an indelible stain on this nation’s psyche and morality. Even today, there are calls for the repetition of these stereotypes as evidenced during the 2011 election campaign when Bharrat Jagdeo reminded those who endured the PNC struggles to recall those experiences for the youths of today.
The moral damage was not limited to the psychological operations of the PPP and PNC and their race-driven political orgy. It has to do with the economic woe the PPP and PNC left this nation. Both of these parties have been dismal economic managers. Despite its working class rhetoric, the PPP’s economic management from 1957 to 1964 was a failure that saw economic decline and hardship for the working class along with increasing corruption.
The PNC was handed an economy in gradual decline in 1964 and took it over the precipice with a reckless socialist policy accompanied by corruption and mismanagement. In 1992, the PPP got a destroyed economy that was beginning to grow again and has delivered modest growth in an era of the greatest worldwide economic growth. The modest gains the PPP achieved have been largely shifted by deliberative government policy into the hands of a new upper class who benefit from the largesse and corruption of the PPP.
All of this economic mismanagement has pushed the majority of this country to moral corruption in order to survive. Not only do they have to work for immoral government, they are constantly morally debasing themselves in order to obtain a basic modicum of decent living. Even worse, this is now instinctive and normal for many.
By allowing illegal activity like drug trafficking to flourish, the PPP has firmly destroyed the already wavering moral core of this country. Economic destitution leads to moral equivalency and Guyana since the fifties has been a prime example of this truism. We have people who condone or execute all manner of atrocity for fear of losing that laughable paycheque in a country of rampant unemployment.
In dictatorial governments, people become afraid to speak out for fear of retaliation and harm. The mind becomes Pavlovian, directed by the dictates of the regime. This is what has happened in Guyana since the fifties. Slavery was abolished some 175 years ago while Indentureship ended 96 years ago, yet this nation remains very much a plantation moved by race and economic survival. This gives us the constant moral massacre or the annihilation of the moral code of this nation.
Right and wrong is relative in this nation because there is no moral line left that cannot be crossed. Wrong is very right in Guyana and right is often wrong and illusory. We are a nation in a moral quagmire from which extraction requires sacrifice, which we lack.
In every country that has built itself from ruins, except Guyana, there is an unmissable connection between sacrifice and struggle and moral reclamation. In these countries, people struggle, scrimp, sacrifice and battle to improve their lot, but they also possess a powerful moral philosophy about it; that they will endorse those who will help them achieve their redemption and reject those who are morally abject.
In Guyana, we have a generally hardworking nation that somehow abandons that moral requirement that is vital to their ultimate advancement. If people refuse to attach moral expectations and demands to their struggles, they will inherit societies constantly derailed by the immoral leadership and political parties they refuse to change.
Convenient moral blindness produces no economic profit or advancement out of poverty. You cannot expect less choke-and-rob of your earnings when you allow more choke-and-rob of your taxes by the rulers of the state. Choke-and-robbers at the top lead to choke-and-robbers at the bottom.
Moral hypocrisy allows crooks to bully a populace. Moral convenience leads to an immoral society where vagabonds thrive and in such a society only a handful of the depraved are enough to demonize and crush the rest.
The PPP and PNC have destroyed the morale of this nation and wrecked its psyche. Too many are worried about how those of another race or class are voting or how their own race or class are voting and not focused on what is important to them. That self-focus, which is evident in wealthy nations, and which allowed a White-dominated society like the USA to elect a Black President, is grounded in that element of morality that is missing in Guyana.
Guyana most corrupt country in English-speaking Caribbean
DECEMBER 6, 2012 | BY KNEWS | FILED UNDER NEWS
-watchdog body calls for Procurement Commission, new Integrity Commission,
“When desperately needed development funds are stolen by corrupt individuals and institutions, poor and vulnerable people are robbed of the education, health care and other essential services.”- UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon
Four days before the world observes the United Nations International Anti-Corruption Day, new rankings have placed Guyana as the most corrupt country in English-speaking Caribbean countries.
According to rankings released yesterday by watchdog corruption body, Transparency International (TI), the 2012 Annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) has placed Guyana at a lowly 133 out of total of 174 countries. Guyana managed a miserly 28 points out of 100.
And in the presentation of the Transparency International findings, head of the local chapter, Attorney at Law, Gino Persaud, and Secretary Frederick Collins, both lauded Kaieteur News which has been highlighting corruption in Guyana.
The newspaper has been investigating the various contracts issued under questionable circumstances and examining the numerous projects, many of which were believed to be overpriced.
TIGI officials: From left is Vice-President, Dr. Anand Goolsarran; President, Gino Persaud and Director, Frederick Collins.
The results were released by Transparency Institute Guyana Inc. (TIGI), the local contact of TI.
TI would have conducted its surveys gauging perceptions to corruption by examining relations in the public sector, the local police, Customs, procurement and doing business.
The index has become a signature tool widely used around the globe to measure the perceived levels of public sector corruption in countries and looked at keenly by investors and multilateral lending agencies.
Denmark, Finland and New Zealand tie for first place with scores of 90, helped by strong access to information systems and rules governing the behaviour of those in public positions.
Guyana tied Comoros, Honduras, Iran, Kazakhstan, and Russia.
“This ranking places us at the bottom of the English Speaking Caribbean with only Haiti below us at 165. It is noteworthy that in the Caribbean, Barbados ranks at 15 with a score of 76; both St. Lucia and Bahamas rank at 22 with a score of 71 and St. Vincent and the Grenadines rank at 36 with a score of 62,” TIG’s President, Gino Persaud said during a press conference at the offices of the Private Sector Commission (PSC) on Waterloo Street.
Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia once again cling to the bottom rung of the index. In these countries, the lack of accountable leadership and effective public institutions underscore the need to take a much stronger stance against corruption.
At the press conference also were former Auditor General, Dr. Anand Goolsarran, who is TIGI’s Vice President; and Director, Frederick Collins.
Persaud, a lawyer, said that the advocacy body will be writing government on the findings of the index.
TIGI listed a number of measures that Government will have to implement to raise Guyana’s rankings. These include the appointment of competent and independent members of the Integrity Commission to scrutinize the financial disclosures of politicians and bureaucrats and with adequate staff and resources to ensure the Commission can adequately fulfill its mandate.
Persaud noted that Prime Minister Sam Hinds in June had promised to have new members of the Integrity Commission sworn within a week.
Among other things TIGI is also calling for the urgent appointment of members of the Public Procurement Commission to regulate government contracts and minimize their involvement; the implementation of modern anti-corruption legislation; implementation of whistle-blowing legislation; the enforcement of existing anti-corruption laws by investigating and prosecuting the corrupt and the strengthening of existing anti-corruption institutions such as the Guyana Police Force and the Financial Intelligence established under the money laundering legislation.
“These institutions are weak and unable to counter serious white collar crime and corrupt activities,” Persaud said in his read statement.
Guyana should also appoint an Ombudsman to address grievances from members of the public; ensure that all public monies are placed to the credit of the Consolidated Fund, and no public expenditure must be incurred without Parliamentary approval.
TIGI also called for all appointments to public offices to be advertised and made with due regard to technical competence, and not loyalty; and for the Access to Information Act passed in Parliament to be strengthened and made operational.
TIGI also called for the strengthening of civil society and for organisations such as the Guyana Bar Association, the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Private Sector Commission, Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and the Guyana Press Association to become more involved in combating corruption by speaking out against corruption and being proactive within its own membership on tackling corruption and by partnering with us for collective efforts.
“We call on the press corps to be more vigilant in acting as a professional, impartial and responsible watchdog body against corruption.”
According to Goolsarran, most countries are doing everything possible to “get to the top of the table” of rankings. He urged, as a start, that government accept the index in good faith and do something about it.
The officials drew reference to a judge in Brazil who targeted a number of politicians close to former President Lula and who was the laughing stock of many. The politicians were brought to trial.
Asked to comment on the impact of the findings, Dr Goolsarran said that serious investors use the findings by Transparency International to determine whether they would invest in a country. Many have opted to cancel plans for investment in Guyana.
TIGI is seeking funding now to educate Guyanese and will seek to meet with government and Members of the Parliament to discuss the issue which ultimately affects the way Guyana is perceived.
The TIGI officials refused to be drawn into answering questions whether President Donald Ramotar had done enough to tackle corruption in Guyana.
According to Collins, newspaper reporters and even the Auditor General’s annual report have been indicators of the situation of corruption in Guyana.
TIGI also disclosed that it has been asked by the Minister of Natural Resources to work with his Ministry on mining, an area which has been besotted with issues of corruption and lawlessness in recent years.
According to TIGI, the index demonstrates that corruption continues to ravage societies around the globe. Two-thirds of the 176 countries ranked in the 2012 index score below 50, on a scale from 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 100 (perceived to be very clean), showing that public institutions need to be more transparent, and powerful officials held more accountable.
According to Huguette Labelle, the Chair of Transparency International, “Governments need to integrate anti-corruption actions into all public decision-making. Priorities include better rules on lobbying and political financing, making public spending and contracting more transparent and making public bodies more accountable to people. After a year of focus on corruption, we expect governments to take a tougher stance against the abuse of power.”
UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon has said that corruption afflicts all countries, undermining social progress and breeding inequality and injustice.
“When desperately needed development funds are stolen by corrupt individuals and institutions, poor and vulnerable people are robbed of the education, health care and other essential services. All of us have a responsibility to take action against the cancer of corruption.”
The private sector, too, stands to gain enormously from effective action, he said. “Corruption distorts markets, increases costs for companies and ultimately punishes consumers.”
According to the BBC, corruption was the world’s most talked about issue in 2010 and 2011.
Punishing Poor People Continuously
NOVEMBER 21, 2012 | BY KNEWS | FILED UNDER LETTERS
Since knowing ourselves, Guyana has always been a country in political turmoil, the struggle for independence, the struggle for free and fair elections and today the struggle for good governance and against a system that rewards corruption and penalizes those who want to play by the rules.
Throughout our history all these experiences have taught us that life for the poor and the working class remains almost unbearable. Even the small business and peasant class “catching fire” under this Jagdeo/Ramotar regime.
If one is to observe the comments coming out of Berbice on the issue of blackout under this PPP regime it is a clear that day to day life in Guyana remains painful and no amount of PPP propaganda can erase the burning in the belly of the people.
Sukhai, a farmer said in Stabroek News What the people Say Column, “This blackout is very terrible because when the current goes on and off… our appliances get burn and damage ….. and we do not receive any refund from GPL.” Sukhai further stated as a poultry farmer, “…. when the current goes off these chicken suffer.”
But stay with us and listen to Sukhai. Sukhai revealed a reality that the ordinary people in PPP Guyana face every day when he said “…while there is blackout during the day and the pipe is running it (the water) cuts off. We do not have water to use and this is really bad for the people in Berbice.”
Thank you Mr. Sukhai for speaking your truth and for exposed several cases of irrational underdevelopment because of poor governance and corruption under the PPP namely:
1. The PPP executes capital (fund) punishment on this farmer by damaging his appliances resulting in him spending what he does not have, on new appliances. This is the PPP formula to keep Sukhai in perpetual poverty. He did not damage his TV; GPL and by extension the PPP did but they refuse to refund him for his loss of wealth.
2. As his chicken dies as a result of poor electricity supply, his ability to multiply his wealth is put at risk by the PPP. Thus his return on his investment reduces with every chicken that dies as a result of blackouts. Under the PPP this farmer is not guaranteed a fixed rate of return for his investment and labour.
However this same PPP has guaranteed the rate of return for all the mega-investors in Guyana (the Marriot Hotel investors, the Berbice Bridge investors, the Amaila Fall project investors and even Buddy Shivraj when he invested in the Princess Hotel). No risk for the rich friends, family and business buddies of the ruling Jagdeo/Ramotar cabal. This is the PPP brand of working class party for you!
3. Water is life; at least that is what the United Nations tells us. However, under the PPP, potable water remains a luxury that is not easily accessible in the land of many water. Water is a critical element for every family and if you do not have reliable access to water, then you cannot run a poultry farmer properly; much less manage a family satisfactorily. The risk posed by denying this farmer water in times of Blackout has to be responded to by the majority in Parliament.
A motion must be passed demanding a full, independent and transparent investigation of the operations of GPL.
It is time the leadership from all political forces including the back benchers in the PPP, rise up and demand justice for the people of Berbice. Mr. Zulfikar Mustapha and his side-kick Mr. Jafarally, who like to flounce on Berbice TV to sing the praises of the PPP should wake up from their slumber and stop telling the people Alice in Wonderland stories. All is not well in Berbice.
They’re living in a world of their own and they’re trying to reduce the rest of us to the same condition of losing touch with reality. We call on the AFC to highlight the real suffering of the Berbicians to all of Guyana, especially in those areas that the PPP thinks they got tribal rights.
Let us bring the nation back to its centre of gravity where the people more actively resist non-violently the oppressors in the current regime, just like how they resisted the colonialist and the Burnham dictatorship.
Dr. Asquith Rose and Harish S. Singh
Auditor General’s findings on Region One just the tip of the iceberg
NOVEMBER 11, 2012 | BY KNEWS | FILED UNDER LETTERS
I am not surprised at the findings of the Auditor General with regards to the Contracts in Region 1. I am sorry but what has been disclosed is only the tip of the iceberg. Corruption in Region 1 is so rife. To get to the fishy deals, one has to travel up into the riverain areas where some buildings the size of fowl pens are called schools and teachers’ quarters. Yet the contract prices are astronomical. One only has to check the amounts paid for materials for building/repairing roads. Where are the roads?
There is a fuel depot at Morawhanna and yet the Administration purchases fuel from middle men. Morawhanna is across the pond from the Mabaruma Compound.
How is it that one previous REO collected accounts from some business people and some time after, turned up with cash to pay them. Has the Sub Treasury become mobile?
Like I mentioned, the Auditor’s report is only the tip of the iceberg. There is a huge chunk below surface, the likes of what ripped the Titanic open and caused it to sink.
The Opposition allows this universe of corruption in Guyana to grow and expand
NOVEMBER 4, 2012 | BY KNEWS | FILED UNDER LETTERS
I am replying to one of the East Indian extremists, Vassan Ramracha that lives in New York that shamelessly supports the PPP’s autocracy and tyranny in Guyana (see “Kissoon’s social contract and the blame game,” KN, Nov 2).
People like Ramracha can boast about the corrupt rule of the PPP (which this newspaper should win a UN medal for exposing corruption in this country) because the opposition beginning with the advent of Robert Corbin’s leadership and also including the pre-2011 AFC plus a dead civil society structure allowed this tyranny and corruption to grow and take over Guyana
Hopefully, it looks like Linden will put a stop to this autocracy as it relates to Linden. In five successive national elections, the opposition has won the constitutional administration of REGION FOUR but has not been given its constitutional right to administer this region.
As someone trained in history and political philosophy, I say most unambiguously, this would never happen in any other country anywhere in the world that is plural in nature and driven by a huge ethnic divide where the contending ethnic communities are equal in importance and numbers. I repeat, this has not occurred elsewhere and the leadership of the oppressed constituencies would not accept to be shifted from areas of control in the particular country where it won legitimate votes to govern
People like Ramracha in their zeal to publicly support the PPP are so silly that every time they open their mouths, they offer critics of the PPP golden opportunities to expose the fascist underpinnings of the PPP’s misrule. The most convenient example of this in Ramracha’s letter is the following statement; “Contrast Mr. Kissoon now living a privileged life of luxury with a big house in a gated community.” How stupid one can be. But this is the type of people the PPP attracts.
I am sixty years of age and only owned a home in 2007 after working for more than twenty years in an institution, the University of Guyana that pays what al of Guyana knows is a miserable salary. I drive a duty car that I bought since 1999. I live in an ordinary lower middle class house without any wealthy interior decoration. My home does not have a self-contained bedroom. The family used the same bathroom.
If Ramracha is looking for luxuries and luxury home, he should visit the mansions of Cheddi Jagan’s protégés. Ramracha has to be the most imbecilic supporter of the PPP. He doesn’t pay attention to what Donald Ramotar writes. Six years ago in these letter pages of this same newspaper. Ramotar wrote to say that he knows some businessmen helped me to build my home. Of course he is right. I didn’t have the wealth the PPP boys and girls got after they acquired power in 1992. In my column today I acknowledge I had received help in erecting my dwelling house.
I do not live in a mainstream gated community but in an area where GUYSUCIO gave almost free house lots (because of the almost next to nothing price) to its wealthy Indian hierarchy who had no uses for them because they already had their mansions. These lots were in turn sold far, far, far above market rates. The seller of my land was extremely generous not to be greedy. He did the moral and honorable thing. Two of the plots were possessed by the son-in-law of an infamous minister. Two of them are currently owned by a certain minister. There is only one reason for describing it as gated because it has one road in and one road out
Contrast my age and the meager resources of mine with little boys and girls who are the children and relatives of the PPP dynasty, who in 1992 when the PPP came to power were literally little boys and girls. Today these grown up boys and girls are owners of assets that match the resources of the traditional rich classes in Guyana. In my research for which Bharrat Jagdeo sued me, I documented who these people are. Some are young men who haven’t reached forty years as yet.
A certain Minister has put up his/her house for sale in Pradoville 2. An inquirer that I know told me the price is $US 1.2M (just above 200 million Guyana dollars). That Minister is not forty five years as yet and had no claims to previous resources. We know about a mansion and swimming pool of a Minister in REGION 3. We know of a Minister up the East Coast whose swimming poll is one of the most resplendent in the world with a lighting system that you find in the pools of American billionaires
Amidst these graphic facts, fools like Ramracha can point to someone like me with his idiotic claims of me living in luxury.
But Guyanese are glad to see these asininities from people like Ramracha because it gives some of us the space to further expose the moral and criminal bankruptcy of a party that the daughter of its founder, Nadira Jagan has boldly chastised for the decadent, wealthy lifestyle of its leaders. Imagine Ramracha talking about me living in luxury and Nadira Jagan and Ralph Ramkarran have written about corruption in the PPP administration, Yes, the PPP that Nadira Jagan’s father founded and that Ralph Rakarran helped to build. Let Ramracha write more so we can reply and show the rural folks what type of monsters control their country