Mar 24, 2013 News
By Ralph Seeram
I was helping to cook some meals earlier this week. As the “assistant cook” my chores are relegated to washing the dishes and pots, cleaning the chicken, preparing the seasoning which includes peeling onions.
As I was peeling an onion which had started to rot, I thought of the PPP and former President Bharrat Jagdeo for some reason. Fresh in my mind was the news of the latest scandal involving the Jagdeo regime and the PPP, the latest evidence of the corrupt practices of the Jagdeo administration, the latest proof that Jagdeo shared out Guyana’s resources to his friends and cronies, I am talking about the latest disclosure on how the Radio, Television and Cable licences were parceled out to his friends and PPP family.
This was nepotism at its worst. I mean how much lower Jagdeo can sink? Are there no depths to this man’s depravity? I can now understand why he has not shown his face in public; in fact he should not show his face in view of his “barefaced action” in sharing out those licences.
The onions I use are large, about six to eight ounces each. As I peeled away the rotten layers, I was reminded of the layers of corrupt persons surrounding President Donald Ramotar, after peeling away about six layers, I reached the core of the onion which was perfectly good for cooking, and I am thinking to myself, what if the current President gets rid of the rotten layers of corrupt persons surrounding him, layers that are holdovers from the Jagdeo regime. How much credibility will be restored to his administration?
Right now, the PPP and the administration of President Ramotar is tarnished and that is putting it mildly. The present administration has no credibility with voters; even the strongest of PPP supporters have lost confidence in the government. Like an onion the PPP is rotting away slowly, like an onion left unchecked the entire onion will be rotted down to its core; left unchecked if President Ramotar does not remove the layers of corrupt persons around him, he too will be consumed by the rotten odour.
The PPP is dying. Left unchecked it will be out of power come next election. Forget about snap elections, holding a snap election now will not give the party the Parliamentary majority the PPP will hope for. Naturally I don’t want to paint everyone around Ramotar with a broad brush, there are some like Prime Minister Sam Hinds who no one can point an accusing finger at.
Jagdeo and the present administration made fools of the Guyanese public, going through this charade of the Broadcast Authority, how the applicants have to present all sorts of documents and plans, all sorts of hoops to jump through, while the bulk of the Radio and Televisions licences were already awarded clandestinely by Jagdeo to his friends and PPP family.
This will come back to haunt the PPP at the next elections unless Ramotar takes corrective actions.
The way these licences were shared out, demonstrates a blatant attempt to control the media in Guyana, resting it in the hands of a few friends of the PPP.
There is no question that this is going to be another form of censorship, another effort to control the media, to stifle voices like Kaieteur News which is in the forefront of exposing the corrupt practices of the PPP government. To put it into a little perspective; imagine all your radio, television and cable news and programmes coming from only the government-controlled Chronicle, the “Hard Times newspaper and the government-owned television station.
This kind of monopoly will not be condoned by the Guyanese public; they will make their voices heard at the next elections. I thought it was ironic in the March 16 edition of this newspaper where a headline caption read “Jagdeo shares out airwaves to friends” followed by another caption below “Zambia strips ex-president of immunity from prosecution”.
The latter should concern ex-president Jagdeo and his cronies, after all the government could change come next elections, who knows what an incoming government will investigate.
President Ramotar now has the opportunity to demonstrate to the voters that he is his “own man” and shake off the perception that he is Jagdeo’s puppet; that is if he wants to bring some sort of integrity and credibility to his administration.
He can start by REVOKING ALL THOSE LICENCES NOW and let the process start over in a transparent and legal way, giving everyone a level playing field to bid for the licences.
To his credit the President has been disclosing the” backroom” deals he has inherited. We don’t know how many more “skeletons are in the closet”, to be disclosed. This is the time for the President to step up and demonstrate that he is the President of ALL Guyanese, that all Guyanese will be given equal opportunities be they for contracts, jobs opportunities (think Marriott) or Radio, Televisions and Cable licences.
Unlike some of the “Johnny come lately” ministers that surround him, the President is a grass root party member. As such he should ask himself if this is the party of Cheddi Jagan; if Cheddi Jagan would have condoned the level of corruption that permeates the government today.
The President needs to start now to demonstrate that he seriously wants to weed out corruption and show transparency and accountability. REVOKE those licences now and start a new chapter in governance; shake off the odor of Jagdeo from your administration; the stench might be a bit difficult to get rid of but you have to start somewhere and some time. The time is NOW.
The Guyanese public has been patient with you but the “honeymoon” is over. They expected bold actions from you, but you have disappointed them. Your party has been dying since the last election; you have failed to take measures to revive it.
Guyana’s image as a corrupt country has sunk lower. You, President, have the power to reverse all the above. The question is,’ do you have the courage?’ The onion is rotting its way to the core of the PPP, it will envelop you, and come next election you and the PPP will be history.
Ralph Seeram can be reached at: [email protected]
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