Apr 21, 2011 Letters
The Guyana REDD and Investment Fund (GRIF) dealings provide insurmountable evidence for Guyanese to demand that the changing of the constitution be a top priority in the upcoming national election.
Our vote should be based only on the Presidential/Prime Ministerial candidate’s proposal and their respective political party’s plan to change the constitution and for the return of independent functioning parts of the Government of Guyana.
This means an independent Judiciary, Police Force and Military, a Parliament and Governance by a Prime Minister with consent of Parliament, Freedom of Information Act, and removal of immunity clauses for the President and Higher Education (UG).
All these sectors of society, as in any true democracy, must be independent of political interference and subterfuge from the ruling government and its associated personnel.
The dual concept of the Government of Guyana being elected (Western Democratic implementation) but being a guarantee “dictatorship”( Soviet/Cuban style) in its principles of governance by the constitution has now been enforced upon us as evident by the now malfunctioning Jagdeo’s/PPP constitution.
The current lack of a long-advocated Freedom of Information Act and the accompanied transparency and anti-corruption measures etc. has resulted in all sorts of international financial schemes and scams.
The attraction of unscrupulous and questionable buyers to Guyana with these projects having no civic and parliamentary oversight brings a new level of degradation to Guyana.
The ill–advised projects will bring untold economic and potential losses. The current deals and actions have left most Guyanese wondering if the country is already sold. One is forced to wonder what price was paid behind the scenes.
This duality nature of the Government (elected/”dictatorship” governance) in place has made Guyana one of the latest places for nefarious international financial scams and deals.
Change is necessary to something similar to the constitution of say Trinidad and Tobago or Canada. These constitutional safeguards should at least give Guyanese some ways of preventing such scams and stopping poor governances. The new constitution must move away from the dictatorship principles of PPP which are similar to the Cuban or Russian dictatorship methods of governance.
The case of Guyana REDD + Investment Fund (GRIF) is a situation where all parties know the people associated with the World Bank, the Norwegian Government and especially the Government of Guyana, more clearly the political class of Guyana is assured of benefits. The money will disappear without question and maybe without any accountability.
The collusion is frightening when it is realised that the World Bank will violate its own banking principle and forego any check and balance that will allow the Government in this case the Government of Guyana — for not providing information to its citizens as to deliverables and how the money is being spent.
The World Bank is already on record that it will charge US$700, 000 as banking charges as a fee to administer the fund.
The question that needs to be asked would the Norwegian Government, the World Bank and the Government of Guyana add their consultants — what would be their charges? Would the Government of Guyana charge a fee for administering this fund?
We already know that in order to service the CLICO deal, the Government of Guyana (GoG) under President Bharrat Jagdeo has already sold off some of our forestry cheaply to save further financial burden from an already withered Guyana’s treasury. This is already in violation of the agreement with Norway of saving Guyana’s forest but this violation does not seem to matter.
The Government of Norway must know that the Government of Guyana (the PPP under President Jagdeo) has and will dodge any mechanism to verify if the agreement is being met. The GoG usually provides improper data that are in conflict with real forestry data. In addition, the GoG lack of technical competence in several fields of expertise. It lacks the will to do any proper financial and forestry accounting for auditing. Yet, with all this information on hand, the Government of Norway along with the World Bank are still willing to provide the un-savory political class (PPP) with money again which would not be accounted for as desired by every Guyanese citizen.
It does not seem to matter that the money will not be accounted for – what seems to matter is that the money must be spent and be redistributed to all concerned with the loan, and at a greater cost to the people of Guyana.
With the current Jagdeo/PPP constitution, any elected President candidate (from PPP, PNC, AFC, or GAP) will have in principle another opportunity to employ the same “dictatorial” governance as President Jagdeo has done and our motto will continue to be “love thy local dictator.”
For all the above reasons, if we as Guyanese want to make at least a stop to this pillaging of our country and its resources, we must start by demanding changes to the constitution that once again make institutions like the Parliament, an independent Judiciary, UG among other institutions functional or we will lose a country and depend on non-government international organisations for survival.
Guyanese should only vote for a Presidential/Prime Ministerial with a time-line (frame) for changing the constitution to make it more democratic.
Guyana cannot survive on the Jagdeo / PPP’s constitution any longer.
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