Key positions within Customs were given to selective ‘saints and elites’
Greetings! In the spirit of fairness it is incumbent upon the free press to which you are an advocator that all those aggrieved are given an opportunity to ventilate their views and rebut the many shenanigans of the Commissioner General of the Guyana Revenue Authority. These public stunts are designed to deceive the gullible, throw sand in the eyes of the unsuspecting and to heap praise upon himself and cohorts.
The stark reality is that the erstwhile and egocentric top officials have become aloof, power-drunk and authoritative. Instead of being servant of the people they have become lords of the land and have displayed all the characteristics of dictators and Little Caesars. Instead of being the policy administrators, they micro-manage the day-to-day operations of Departments within the GRA therefore, for any major scandal within the GRA, they should be held culpable and accountable.
The Management system of the GRA needs to be revamped since all bottlenecks (impediments) can be found at the top since they have mal-administrated, desecrated and abused their positions. The unsavory practice of arbitrarily employing family and cronies and placing them in key positions is unethical, malfeasant and a violation of established conventions that leads to nepotism, conflict of interest, collusion and favoritism. The son of one senior official is in and out of the GRA and enjoys the luxury of the GRA vehicles at taxpayers’ expense. Another relative of a senior GRA official was working in a Section that had the three hundred million dollars cashiers’ fraud. However he was shielded and sent to another location.
The hypocrisy is that the bosses are earning tax free dollars. George Orwell’s novel “Animal Farm” is so accurate in depicting what is occurring at the GRA. They demand respect but show none. Even though we are all employees of the State, Management is not in sync with workers and exerts fear, intimidation and other complexes with impunity. The GRA stinks.
The bosses claim to represent our interest but at the same time are withholding Officers’ overtime for unreasonable periods. This is unconscionable, exploitative and brutish since the GRA has already been paid for the work we did. The excuse that they have to check recheck then double check is ridiculous since they do not use the same method when collecting these payments.
The impression that was peddled was that only Customs Officers are corrupt, so the Managerial and other key positions within the Customs operations were given to selective saints and elites from Inland Revenue and their cronies within the GRA but corruption is still rampant. The ploy is evidently to make us their ‘fall guys’ and the scapegoats whereas the real culprits who continue to besmirch the image of the GRA are protected and their corrupt practices are covered up. They are also sent on all the overseas courses and seminars. Promotion is based on favouritism. We may be accused of being jealous but we see the hands of discrimination.
The heads of the Customs Administration are appointed based on their ability to be subservient. Most often sucking-up attributes are preferred over professionalism and competence. We are important only to shore up the bosses who may have degrees but lack the technical knowledge and “mambo”, hence; there is a lot of square pegs in round holes.
The Commissioner General had stated the need to rehire staff due to the lack of Officers with integrity but this is to say the least, totally disrespectful and disingenuous. Who is he trying to cumfuffle? Under this present Management many competent and experienced Officers have been outcasted, made redundant, willfully and spitefully dismissed and those that could not take the nonsense simply resigned. Dr. Cheddi Jagan in his book ‘The West on trial’ described certain rulers as “heartless brutes”; well they have been succeeded by many current administrators with similar characteristics. The Massa and Slave psychology still exists. The Enforcement Arm has become the epitome of lawlessness and perversions. The Investigative arms; the Internal Affairs Division and the Internal Audit Division are heavily influenced and dictated by Management thus compromising their independence and do not adhere to the prescribed rules and procedures, whilst the Human Resource Division is toothless and functions as a rubber stamp. The Union has also abandoned us and is ineffective.
The primary goal of garnering revenue is to improve people’s lives, not to bring about impoverishments, sufferings and unhappiness or to denigrate us to lesser beings. Customs Departments are internationally established institutions of great importance and relevance; therefore, it is dumb to destroy it.