Guyana has never before had so much scandal. Indeed there have been scandals, some reaching all the way to the top. But for the first time there seems to be a certain credibility to what is in the public domain. The source of the documents is the Americans who are unquestionably the global policemen.
Ever since America rose to global prominence, the world expected it to be the protector of every cause under the sun. That country was expected to mediate in border disputes, political wrangling and even financial problems. It was seen as the breadbasket of the world. In Guyana’s case we tended to look to the Americans for just about everything.
When the People’s Progressive Party decided that Guyana’s politics was akin to apartheid, it was to the Americans that the leaders turned for help. That help came in the form of direct involvement in the political process and the ultimate removal of the People’s National Congress from office.
Because of this involvement, Guyanese began to look increasingly to the Americans. The various people who felt wronged by the people in the government turned to the American Government for help. Perhaps they expected an invasion; perhaps they expected sanctions, the likes of which visited the PNC and saw the decline of the economy.
There were times when the Americans intervened. They shocked even the most apathetic Guyanese when they began to revoke the visas of prominent people, not least among them Government Ministers, some politicians and prominent businessmen. It also slowed certain aid programmes on the grounds of accountability.
Some of us expected that the political opposition would have pounced on this fact, but they were in disarray, so they were incapable of attacking the government. People concluded, however, that some of them had been bought by the government. In Guyana, it is common knowledge that the government silences its opposition by offering tokens to its critics.
I could not help notice that some people, who could barely eke out a living, suddenly began driving upscale vehicles, visiting top flight entertainment centres and even commanding certain jobs. This must have surely escaped the eyes of the opposition leaders, because they all said nothing. People had been compromised.
Whatever had been happening in Guyana never escaped the attention of the diplomatic community and the files flew. Some of those files are now public knowledge and they have made waves in the country. People began to see what was being said of their leaders and how their leaders were behaving. The unpleasant ones made the news, and in a big way.
The newspapers’ headlines screamed. Understandably, none of these things made the news on the state-controlled media. When questioned, the government shrugged. It dismissed the cables as it had every right to do. However, the media persisted with the revelations, much to the discomfort of the government leaders and it was only a matter of time before there was some retaliation. The retaliation came in a most nasty way.
Kaieteur News has long been targeting corruption in the society. Ad infinitum, people were complaining that they were seeing shoddy work on the part of the contractors. The money came from the public treasury. Money is never enough; the government keeps saying that it cannot pay much by way of wages and salaries to public servants.
The investigations by Kaieteur News revealed that a large portion of the money spent on projects was either wasted or pocketed. It could have gone to paying the beleaguered public servants.
The perpetual reporting by Kaieteur News had to have its repercussions. A WikiLeaks cable provided that forum. For the first time the state-controlled media reported anything on those cables, and all because the person involved was Glenn Lall. The report was anything but journalistic. It was a scurrilous piece, announcing that the government was out to make life uncomfortable for Lall.
For four days these media house repeated the same thing. That must have been a record for news reporting. There must have been something to the reporting because a blog followed. The emphasis was to insinuate that Glenn Lall was a ‘snitch’.
No one wants to be identified as a snitch when one is not. I have been in that position many times and it hurts. I suspect that Lall must have been.
I happened to speak to him about this development. I pointed to a headline that proclaimed that he supported the Alliance For Change, when he himself said that he has an unconditional support for Donald Ramotar. He simply said that there are people in the government who want to hurt him for talking about the ills in the government.
I also told him that this would blow over. And I believe that it will.
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