To­day cor­rup­tion is not per­cep­tion but real

Weekend Mirror - - EDITORIAL -

Dear Ed­i­tor,

I wish to put on record for pub­lic con­sump­tion my views as it re­lates to the cur­rent plague of cor­rup­tion that has in­fected the APNU/AFC coali­tion Govern­ment and their in­sin­cer­ity in do­ing any­thing about it.

It was the APNU and AFC be­fore the 2011 elec­tions and again as coali­tion part­ners while in full cam­paign mode be­fore the May 2015 elec­tion, which saw a ‘jumbie be­hind every bush’ and screamed cor­rup­tion. To­day, cor­rup­tion is not about per­cep­tion but it is real, live, cur­rent, able to re­late to wicked­ness, dis­hon­esty, lies, de­cep­tion, and in many in­stances now, bold, barefaced crass­ness. This is fur­ther com­pounded by the man­i­fest acts of cover up by the Ex­ec­u­tives and their cul­ture of non dis­clo­sure / ma­nip­u­la­tion of in­for­ma­tion and non an­swers to ques­tions raised by the MP’s dur­ing de­lib­er­a­tions of the Na­tional Assem­bly. This Govern­ment is not just en­gag­ing in cor­rupt prac­tices, it is cor­rupt.

The so­ci­ety is still rest­less and there is still buzzing on the ground from the con­tin­u­ous ef­fects and con­se­quences of the mass dis­mals, po­lit­i­cal dis­crim­i­na­tion, the racial and eth­nic vic­tim­i­sa­tion and mass witch-hunt­ing by the Coali­tion Govern­ment since it took the reins of Govern­ment.

I wel­come with bated breath the dis­clo­sure in sec­tions of the me­dia on 12th Septem­ber, 2017, which read “UN ex­pert has plans to tackle cor­rup­tion, drugs and to spear­head anti cor­rup­tion projects here”. The UN in­clud­ing the UNODC and its per­son­nel like all other in­ter­na­tional agen­cies has and will con­tinue to play sig­nif­i­cant roles in Guyana. But I cau­tion these ex­perts and in­ter­na­tional agen­cies that they must not be used as a ‘fig leaf’ to cover the cur­rent cesspool that ex­ists in the bow­els of the cur­rent Govern­ment’s bu­reau­cracy.

Any ef­fort to fight cor­rup­tion must be free from po­lit­i­cal con­trol, if not, those ef­forts will be mis­di­rected to shake down po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents and pro­tect al­lies. The anti-cor­rup­tion fight must be led by ac­tors out­side of those who ex­er­cise dis­cre­tionary, co­er­cive, or ad­min­is­tra­tive pow­ers. Our cur­rent At­tor­ney Gen­eral is not in any po­si­tion to lead a fight against cor­rup­tion. The Spe­cial Or­ga­nized Crime Unit (SOCU), which is a depart­ment of the Guyana Po­lice Force that was es­tab­lished to sup­port and strengthen the in­ves­tiga­tive ca­pac­ity of the Fi­nan­cial In­tel­li­gence Unit (FIU) has now been politi­cized and used as a tool to tar­get po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents. It is lack­ing in op­er­a­tional in­de­pen­dence and it is sub­ject to the di­rect con­trol of po­lit­i­cal per­son­al­i­ties. It is bor­der­ing on be­com­ing a rogue unit of the Guyana Po­lice Force. Guyanese must re­mem­ber that Mr. Sit­tling­ton, Bri­tish ex­pert as­signed to the Guyana Po­lice Force/SOCU was phys­i­cally present when busi­ness­men were be­ing shaken down at the be­hest of po­lit­i­cal mas­ters and was un­de­ni­ably present at the Of­fice of the Leader of the Oppo- sition and at Free­dom House when SOCU sought to ar­rest and ques­tion top lead­ers of the PPP/C as part of the APNU/AFC’s witch-hunt.

This cur­rent ini­tia­tive by the UN ex­pert must not be hi­jacked by the po­lit­i­cal cir­cus be­ing led by the cur­rent At­tor­ney Gen­eral. The SARU and now SARA, an­other po­lit­i­cal out­fit mas­querad­ing un­der the guise of the re­cov­ery of state as­sets through its state­ments in the me­dia and ac­tions on the ground have all been tar­geted against PPP/C lead­ers and sup­port­ers. There have been no in­ves­ti­ga­tions by SARA for the no­to­ri­ous Sus­sex Street Bond Scan­dal, the 632 Mil­lion pro­cure­ment scan­dal at the Ge­orge­town Pub­lic Hos­pi­tal Cor­po­ra­tion (GPHC), and the 1.3 Bil­lion rape of the Trea­sury for the con­struc­tion with­out any pro­cure­ment process of the now in­fa­mous Dur­ban Ju­bilee Park at Homestretch Av­enue. There has been no ac­tion against known smug­glers and traf­fick­ers of il­le­gal fuel by per­sons con­nected to this ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Would the At­tor­ney Gen­eral speak to the is­sue of 500,000 be­ing spent on monthly rentals for homes for Govern­ment Min­is­ters and in one in­stance 1.5 Mil­lion be­ing paid by the Min­istry of the Pres­i­dency for rent for a se­nior Govern­ment of­fi­cial?

Would the SARA or SOCU go af­ter the in­sider trad­ing, the pol­icy of sole sourc­ing of con­tracts that is al­ways favour­ing friends, fam­ily and fi­nanciers of the coali­tion Govern­ment?

There­fore, the photograph and the head­line and state­ments by cred­i­ble in­ter­na­tional part­ners must not be mis­con­strued to sug­gest that all is well with this cur­rent Govern­ment. I strongly call upon the United Na­tions’ ex­perts, in­ter­na­tional agen­cies, or­ga­ni­za­tions of in­ter­na­tional rep­u­ta­tion not to al­low them­selves or the names of dis­tin­guished of­fi­cials as­so­ci­ated with them, to be used as the clean sheet to dec­o­rate a de­filed bed. The shame­less, un­re­pen­tant, dis­re­spect­ful and pre­sump­tu­ous ac­tions of Min­is­ters of the Govern­ment and their sur­ro­gates must not be al­lowed to be ex­cused as clumsy mis­takes and bad pol­icy mak­ing; they must be seen for what they are, raid­ing the pub­lic purse.

In the days of the Mes­siah’s so­journ on earth there were those who po­si­tioned them­selves as the stan­dard bear­ers of right­eous­ness, de­cency and moral­ity. There were namely two sects: Scribes and Pharisees but Je­sus un­dressed them in pub­lic view when he re­ferred to them as ‘white sepul­chres’, mean­ing nicely painted tombs but rot­ten on the in­side. The fa­cade of nice suits, bib­li­cal quo­ta­tions in speeches and pan­der­ing to the gallery, singing songs of Zion are all now tat­tered, worn. The true man is be­ing seen. Stop hid­ing APNU/AFC; face the light of scru­tiny, trans­parency and ac­count­abil­ity. An­swer the peo­ple’s ques­tions.

Bishop Juan Edghill, PPP/C MP

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