The NCN corruption debates are only comic relief in a troubled land
Objective investigation requires the finding of facts as the first approach to understanding the issues that matter in any set of circumstances.
Engaging in any other approach would be ludicrous that in turn may only lead to a ‘fool’s errand’. For example, the Linden Inquiry is aimed at establishing the facts of what happened, making use of professional and qualified persons who have no vested interest in the outcome.
After this phase is completed, Guyanese will be in a better position to have a serious debate or perhaps to enforce legal action to correct the breach in the public good, if the facts so warrant.
In contrast, there are many cases of alleged corruption or mismanagement presented in the public domain that have not been thoroughly investigated; and had it not been for a vigilant and privately owned press the public would have been uninformed.
For example, the nature and cause of several white elephants, including the Sugar Factory at Skelton, the Sugar Packaging Plant at Enmore, the Amaila Falls Road Project, and the Supenaam Stelling; the malfeasance by NCN officers; the claims of overpriced drugs;suspect tendering on public projects; and the illegal copying of textbooks sanctioned by Cabinet, among other reported cases in the press.
These are perhaps breaches in the public good and instances for action to be taken, allowing the facts to be established, with the possibility of legal action thereafter to re-establish good governance, if the facts are supportive. Unfortunately, we have not seen any serious investigation on these or other cases, even though the former Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr. Ralph Ramkarran, made a public claim alleging that corruption is pervasive in Guyana.
He is supported by the corruption perception index that ranks Guyana as a relatively high corrupt country (http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/dec/01/corruption-index-2011-transparency-international); and by the Auditor General’s reports, where cases of public funds (such as the Lotto funds, NCIL funds) have not been accounted for or audited reports prepared.
Mr. Ramkarran’s claim is further reinforced by the President of Guyana, Mr. Donald Ramotar,who has spoken against corruption in at least onepublic institution(SN March 2-2012).
And yes, some officers have been removed (staff at NCN), but no action has been taken to dispel the notion that the taking of public funds for private use without the requisite authority is a criminal offence against the people of Guyana.
Hence, no inquiry is instituted, no forensic audit is conducted and no manager is called to explain under oath what has transpired. Consequently, the so called NCN debates on corruption are therefore only comic relief and a ‘fool’s errand’ in a troubled land. Guyana cannot progress, if we cannot make a clear distinction on what is in the public interest and what is not.
Corruption certainly is not in the public interest or is it on the path to good governance; hence, deferred action that delays cleaning house immediately could only be described as a cancer waiting to metastasize.
C. Kenrick Hunte