From the opening of the doors of 2016 to its closing hours, I have been repeatedly asked a particular question – why has the APNU+AFC Government performed so raggedly, incompetently, insensitively but most importantly, so self-destructively. On the last day of 2016, I left Kaieteur News at 2 p.m. and dropped in at Berta and Mackie restaurant, opposite the old licence revenue office on Smyth Street, to have a take-home.
A man introduced me to his wife and mother-in-law, and as usual, it was that question again. To say I have been pleased with the exercise of power in 2016 would be a hypocritical answer. I am not. I have been disappointed since the following; the ministerial portfolios gazetted in May 2015; the sudden transfer of Rupert Roopnaraine from Natural Resources to Education when there was a large photograph of him as Minister of Natural Resources visiting the collapsed pit that claimed the lives of a number of miners; the ministerial salary increase in July 2015 retroactive to June 2015; the increases of the barricades outside Parliament when it is in session; the transfer of Simona Broomes from the Ministry of Social Protection where she was a human rights champion; the shameless refusal of central government to have a forensic audit of the City Council going back the past fifteen years; the particular shape of Hamilton Green’s pension, the retention of NICIL, the wastage at D’Urban Park. I could go on. What I find dangerous about the dishonesty of the mind in 2016 is how cataclysmically close the power establishment came to becoming entangled in the Draculean maze of ethnic suspicion. Unless the APNU+AFC Coalition is so narcissistically pompous to accept that only its collective leadership has commonsense, then the commonsense of Guyanese will inform it that a deceptive and disastrous game is being played out, where the State investigates the other side for corruption but leaves untouched its own Norman Bates.
Forensic audits were ubiquitous in 2016 but they were only found in one spot, the site where the PPP once had power. Forgotten by the news boys and girls at OP on Shiv Chanderpaul Drive is their own Norman Bates – the Georgetown City Council. The last time I checked my calendar, I was in Guyana continuously the past 20 years without leaving the territory even for a second. So I would know who and who were corrupt from my media experience. I could cite two edifices where there were corrupt stables; in each structure billions of dollars in public funds were questionably used – central government and the Georgetown municipal council.
If the Coalition finds it convenient to unleash forensic audits on the PPP conspirators and not its own subordinates in the City Council then the blame game will pull us further down, because the other side is going to go and tell their supporters; “They are only picking on your leaders while their subordinates did the same.” Now why would any rational mind want to walk in that direction, knowing the implication which this county had enough of?
As 2016 drew to a close there was an intriguing yet disturbing letter in the KN and SN by a very long standing friend of mine – Tacuma Ogunseye. He chastised critics of APNU+AFC for saying that it will only be a one-tern regime. He appeals to such people not to keep saying that, because the monster is at the gate – the PPP. He ended his letter with a warning – if you keep criticizing the government those very bad people from the PPP will come back. Ogunseye can be likened to a preacher who is sermonizing to the people who are walking on the street outside the church, but not the parishioners inside the building. Shouldn’t Ogunseye tell the card players to behave themselves because the police will hear the fighting going on during the illegal gambling and rush into the building and arrest the illegal gamers? Instead, Ogunseye calls out to the neighbours to stop talking about illegal gambling in the building, because the police will hear them gossiping about it. One would like to think that the message should be to the gamblers, not the peaceful gossipers.
We have entered a brand new year. What can we expect in the first weeks? When a mind is deceiving and deceptive it is capable of any indiscretion. So we have to wait and see if there will be any more action and policies that will cause people to ask the that question that I had to face for the entire 2016 – “Freddie wuh wraang with dese people bhaai.” Maybe my friend Tacuma Ogunseye knows the answer
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