Before Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) was so named it went under the title Guyana Water Authority (Guywa). Before GWI moved to Vlissengen Road, it was located literally yards away from the residence of Guyana Cricket Board official, Anand Sanasie in Kingston.
I was present one day when Guywa’s chief, Karran Singh, and Mr. Sanasie’s handyman were engaged in light banter. The handyman complained about the colour of the water to Singh and a little exchange followed. Mr. Singh assured the gentleman of clear water stating hilariously to all those present that, “You don’t have to worry, I like my water clean.”
When Guywa was restructured, Singh was sidelined because of a request from the foreign aid donors. Being one of Guyana’s well known bennettitaceous personalities, he was chosen over a top accountant at the Georgetown Public Hospital and the current Minister of Housing and Water, Irfaan Ally, by President Jagdeo for the post of GWI after the British firm Severn Trent left.
If one understands bennettitaceous politics, Karran Singh had to be the preference of Mr. Jagdeo. It would appear that this same bennettitaceous framework was used for the elevation of Gary Best to head the army and the promotion of a certain public relations officer in the Presidential Secretariat.
This type of politics seems to have worked in favour of Mr. Brian Young who has secured a lucrative contract in the communication industry. I do not think that Guyanese and Caribbean analysts have analyzed Mr. Jagdeo’s style of rhetoric, policy-making attitudes and his personnel choices within the framework of bennettitaceous politics. My own belief is if we use this paradigm it will help to explain many of the behavioural traits of Mr. Jagdeo.
Back to Karran Singh. This was one of the most horrendous appointments in the public sector since the early days of colonialism. I don’t think the Guyanese people should ever forgive Mr. Jagdeo for this appointment. Under this man’s tyranny, GWI lost seventy-two employees in one year, a majority of which gave cause for alarm.
Mr. Komal Chand, of GAWU, sat on the board of GWI when these semi-civilized decisions were being made. One gentleman worked for 25 years and was fired when he was yet to pay two-thirds of his mortgage. He spoke to me with tears in his eyes.
I spoke to Chand who bluntly refused to speak to me on the episode. Two months after, the guy who likes to receive his clean water was in his tyrannical mood again. This time the dismissed employee was two months short 32 years of service in the sewage system. This was fascism the likes of which was never before seen in Guyana. I called the man who likes to get clean water. He was angry. Months earlier, I had done an article on him. He responded to the column by calling me early on Saturday morning. I was still asleep. I was rude to him over his comments on my column.
Karran Singh was fired from GWI for questionable financial transactions. But before he re-migrated to Canada, he did an amazing thing. He demanded that the Guyanese people stop using GWI’s water for garden, cleaning and car-washing purposes. He explained that it was too expensive for those tasks. This bennettitaceous personality did not advise us on an alternative source.
I wonder what kind of water he gets to do his thing in his backyard and to wash the SUV he drives in Canada. Of course one can bet that whatever water Karran Singh gets it will be nice because he likes to have his water clean as he once said.
Karran Singh is long gone. But his time in Guyana showed how tragic a country we have become. This entire nation allowed more than seventy-two persons to be fired by GWI in one year and we did nothing.
It remains a damning indictment against the PNC. No one has ever asked the PNC under Mr. Corbin to preserve Macbeth’s witches. It was clear that Corbin wanted to extinguish “mo fyaah/slo fyaah” but I think he went too far in trying to become the nice guy. Or did he have an ulterior motive as many of his detractors think?
The story of Karran Singh and those dismissals mark one of the lowest points in opposition politics in this country. No doubt Tacuma Ogunseye knew what Singh did to those workers. One must bear in mind that Singh’s untouchable status was preserved by the chief of the bennettitaceous crew himself.
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