Politicians have contributed to fraud in the country
It has been some time since there has been so much news about irregularities in Government circles. It has also been some time since a President has been under so much pressure. President Donald Ramotar is expected to be aware of all that is happening and to right every wrong in the society.
Everything has a reason, and I would attribute the reason for the spate of corruption to an absence of supervision, or at least proper supervision. In cases where there is money, a supervisor should be able to review the activities of the day. This would entail reviewing all the transactions.
This should be a relatively easy task since there is computerization. Every transaction should be documented. But what actually happens is that supervisors leave the staff to their own devices, largely because supervisors cannot be bothered with working. People have now developed an attitude that says the least done the better.
There is also a reason for this. The people at the top are also not keen to see people work because they too have the same attitude. I know this because I see it. A few days ago there were reports of an illegal transaction within the police force. This is not the first time that things have not been alright with the police.
The police Finance Department has had its share. There have been reports of monies being deducted from ranks and not being paid; money destined to pay people being pocketed because the payee had long since left the force; and of course, the normal pilfering that comes from overpricing.
This time the business involved the purchase of a yacht. I am at a loss to understand how this could have been effected. There is a tender board that should have been involved in the purchase. Someone could have done research into the vendor.
That being done, the sale should have been plain sailing. Instead, police officers were allowed to negotiate the sale with the result that money was siphoned off. The scheme was exposed, but the nation was never made aware of what transpired, because although people were found to be guilty there were no prosecutions.
Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee brought the issue to the fore, and he has caused a lot of talk. From what he says, people were made to repay money. I have since learnt that there were efforts to protect those who were found guilty of wrongdoing. This is unusual.
We have had reports coming out of the contracts awarded to people. The most astonishing involved the purchase of pharmaceuticals. There was the report that goods that were procured at source for a small amount were sold to the government for as much as ten times the purchase price.
The exposure came, but there was never a review. It turned out that the government was prepared to pay the higher price because it got concessionary rates on other drugs. For his part, the vendor quite practically said that he calls his price and it is up to the buyer to pay.
Freddie Kissoon made the point that in days gone by there would have been investigation and possible prosecution. He made the point that many prominent people were prosecuted and some were jailed, one of them a Deputy Chief Education Officer for an exercise book scam.
These days high office offers immunity. This decision has permeated the society with the result that there is now a case of monkey see, monkey do. The junior ranks decide that they could also take liberties.
This is not confined to the offices and to government departments. I am aware that even the Guyana Revenue Authority has run into problems because of this new attitude. Some seem to be exempt from taxes. I am aware that the people who bring foreign entertainers have enjoyed such breaks to the extent that some owe in excess of $50 million.
How is this possible? Someone in authority allows for a temporary waiver. The next time the group brings in an entertainer it makes a promise to pay the old debt. A junior officer may withhold the permit, but a phone call to someone higher up clears the way and the debt mounts.
Clearly a lot has gone wrong in the society. Political intervention is the key. Politicians have taken control over every aspect of the society, with the result that people now realize that these politicians would cover for any wrongdoing.
No country has ever developed with such a system and none ever will. Surely the political hierarchy must be taking notes, but then again, it is one thing to take note and another to take corrective action. Some things have become endemic—deeply entrenched that it would take a radical change of personnel to bring about any change.