A breaking development on the corruption front is that a foreign company readies to proceed to the Guyana courts to recover financial injury incurred due to having to pay bribes.
A local contractor must limit himself to the discretion of silence as a better strategy than that of valour.
A poor, not so well educated, definitely unknown and unconnected, seeker of public services must reach in pocket so that he or she can reach across the counter and collect a piece of paper. It is the well-practiced barter of trade-offs, rip-offs, and send offs. Everybody walk away contented and constitutionally empowered. Constitutionally invigorated in the personage, as the tonic of progress has been achieved: something given, something gained. From the regimen of frequent, painful exercise, this has been sculpted and perfected into a Guyanese art form, through rights and responses distorted.
This assumes near constitutional authority, as this has become the language and law of the land that is Guyana. Of this, there are no conflicting interpretations, no clashing misunderstandings, no confronting protestations. Step up, pay up, keep up. All are in sync. All are happy in this unanimous referendum of what works, what wins passage to the next link in the chain. Or until next time. This is the modus operandi and modus vivendi in Guyana, of Guyana, throughout Guyana. No money, no honey.
A bribe at the side, a gratuity to avoid futility, the handshake that is now an inerasable aspect of the shake, rattle, and roll that is the mating dance of local content and local culture. From tenderfoots from the country unwise to the ways of the bright people in the big city, to the everyday hustlers seeking favours and the official hucksters selling them from behind counter and computer and conference room. The latter is where the big monies and big honeys preside: A hook here and a dodge there, and the papering over of sweet deals making sweet dreams come true. There is much that is sour and rancid in all of this.
Sour and rancid in this keeping up appearances of cleaner government, in the midst of hordes of slicker populations, wiser operators, more versatile conspirators. Come prepared to play. Policy, what’s that? It means pay. It is a case of no dealing, no stealing. Principles and procedures and Integrity Commissions, who gives a…whatever! Money speaks a rich language. It has a long heritage, as there are very few, who having partied in that game have nothing to show for their great resourcefulness. The music continues, while the tragedy that is the Titanic called Guyana lists helplessly, lurches forward spasmodically.
The only fatality is the state. Survivors – and Guyanese are daily survivors – have recalibrated and refined the intricate mechanism that is the familiar welcoming harbour that is state-wide corruption. There is no paper trail, no fingerprint, and no smoking gun of a tape recorder. What can be more transparent and accountable than that? Cleaner than a baby scrubbed of any residues from diapers. Tender loving care, it is.
But what is transparent is what is obvious and undeniable. Call it whatever is fancied-bribe, little something, a big percentage, a mark-up, a cost overrun – but that cash must be passed somewhere. The days of under mattress or backyard are over. Too much bulk. A house raises no eyebrows. Neither does a mansion with all the accompaniments, whether inside or outside. After all, there are so many of them around nowadays that one or a dozen more attract little attention. Wheels are a good investment, and though the luxury ones may cause some caustic comment, those fade soon enough. This is the Guyanese dream.
Parliament is the ticket. So, too, is the presence made possible by citizenship. Then there are tender boards and boards of inquiry, and numerous other boards that throw the suffering Guyanese public overboard. In local lingo, this is a ‘boards’ country. Check with foreigners.
Crushed are any inclinations towards the straight and narrow or something once named ethics. The age of martyrs and saints are gone. Welcome to Guyana, and its peculiar bureaucratic compacts, the undying hallmarks of local content in action. Remember: no money, no honey. Kickbacks neutralizes paybacks. Currency brings expediency and agency.
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