There can be no doubt about it, absolutely no doubt that the political culture in Guyana makes people frown on this nation. One can just imagine what goes through the minds of foreign diplomats who live here. The attitude of the US Embassy sums it up – just come with your visa application, we don’t want to see any other piece of paper. This same embassy called in the police to investigate allegations against two very high ranking Guyanese citizens that a document they tendered at the embassy was forged.
Since then those two persons have been further elevated into the power establishment of this country. Think of how those embassy officials feel about Guyana. It is not that Guyana is part of an abysmal region where banana republic politics run amok. No, the Caricom region has international standards by which they practice the rule of law and by which they judge morality in public office.
An influential local white Jamaican businessman was pulled over by a traffic sergeant. The sergeant refused to accept a bribe, then, the local Member of Parliament and a senior superintendent intervened on behalf of the businessman. Jamaica’s tradition, no doubt inherited from its Westminister acceptance of a neutral civil service, of public morality in politics, has resulted in all three being charged. The superintendent and MP may now face an uncertain future.
Across in Trinidad, two days ago, the Deputy Minister of National Security was fired by the Prime Minister because he refused a breathalyzer test. Last year in that same Caricom Island, a Minister was removed over a contract to a company to which her husband was attached. These wholesome policies in Jamaica and Trinidad are not peculiar to the Caribbean. There ought to be a normal process of governing with recognition of the rule of law.
What occurred in Trinidad and Jamaica is normal politics. It is civilized politics. It is the politics of civilized societies in a modern world. It is the kind of politics that we find even in dictatorships. I would regard Burma, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Russia, Pakistan, among others as authoritarian systems. But I would say with not even a modicum of hesitation that the depravities and immoralities among high governmental officials that are tolerated at the presidential level in Guyana would never, I repeat, never, be allowed to pass in those countries.
What goes on in Guyana just don’t happen in the world. It makes this land immensely tragic where pessimism runs deep and people feel that civilization is lost and they want to get out. Look what “Killaman” did. The public incidents were cascading like fountain water. First a violent incident in which a suicide is alleged to have taken place. Then a teenager is beaten with a gun then a cyclist had his leg crushed in a road accident. Yet “Killaman” remains in high office.
In Guyana, Ministers own companies and these firms are huge beneficiaries of governmental outlays. Guyanese will laugh when they read this article about what happened in Jamaica and Trinidad. The average citizen knows that in Guyana the more corrupt you are in the corridors of power, the more Cabinet portfolios you are given. The Auditor General’s report on the tender system in the Ministry of Health would never be tolerated in any CARICOM territory. Very few countries, if any, would accept the occupational status of the wife of the Minister of Finance at the Auditor General’s office.
One of the weirdest things that a human can encounter with his/her government is this story involving the Minister’s wife. She is a qualified person that can procure a similar salary anywhere she chooses in the public sector. It simply has no logical explanation as to why she would want to put the Government of Guyana and the Government of Guyana would want to put itself, in such a controversial light? Why does Mrs. Singh want to work at the Auditor General’s office when a case can be made out for a conflict of interest?
Of course there has to be a reason, and it lies in the nature of the political culture of the ruling party. The moral basis of politics in Jamaica and Trinidad would never be accepted by the PPP because of the power madness. It is against this background one has to understand that Guyana is not out of the woods with the Linden crisis. Will the PPP accept the decisions arrived at over the coming weeks and in the months to come in the case of the Commission of Inquiry? I doubt it. The precedents are mountainous.
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