On January 19th, the New York Post carried an article with this arresting title, “How five members of Joe Biden’s family got rich from his connections.” It should be arresting for conscientious Guyanese despairing about continuing involvements by political leaders and public service seniors in questionable practices, the limitations of the Integrity Commission, and how the corruption plague operates.
What it exposed with Joe Biden’s family enlightens on the quiet arrangements, insider networks, discreet positioning, backdoor sweetheart deals, and the lavish prosperity that flows from the incestuous tangle of family, friends, and likeminded connections.
The Post’s coverage relied heavily on the new book by Peter Schweizer titled, “Profiles in Corruption: Abuse of Power by America’s Progressive Elite.” Guyanese do not have to read the book itself, as the newspaper presented a comprehensive enough picture of how people in high places operate when the high stakes of high-end opportunities (jobs, partnerships, ventures, and the like) are in play for high returns. Inevitably, the well-positioned big hitters emerge from these arrangements richer, more well-established, and a part of the exclusive club that is all about taking care of one another, through endless quid pro quos.
It is also an exclusive club of interrelated insiders, who parcel out the banquet amongst themselves that is well in place here in Guyana, regardless of which party rules. It is just the character and conditions of these kinds of sleazy, under-the-table, conspiratorial business operations. Today, it is the turn of the brother (or sister) over there. Tomorrow the carousel of the prize of vast tracts of prime land or influential job or a lucrative contract would stop and reward another in the circle. And the day after, it would be somebody else’s turn (or their family member) to taste the rewards of power, influence, and results.
Let these immovable and unchallengeable facts be faced. It is neither accidental nor random, but well thought out, pursued, arranged, and executed operations laced with cooperating players, the language of compliance, and the same sordid outcomes that should fool no one. It is where, like Joe Biden, the name, relationship, friendship, comradeship of those to be favoured are either known or the conversations are had, and the introductions completed. There are no minutes nor record of such side plays, no incriminating trails. The relationships facilitate getting in front of the crowd and collecting the prearranged result. Joe Biden’s children and relations did.
The US 2020 presidential hopeful said, “I never talked to my son or brother or anyone else – even distant family – about their business interests. Period.” Well, author Schweizer blew up that self-created and self-serving vacuum, which lacked any iota of accuracy.
First, there was Joe’s brother James and Hillside International president (a Biden family friend of longstanding), White House visits, and a very senior job for James. As a Hillside spokesperson explained, there is only upside with the Vice-President’s brother as a partner. The hundred million-dollar contracts came quickly.
Then there was VP Biden’s son, Hunter, on foreign travels via Air Force 2, and high-level introductions to powerful foreigners seeking access to his father. It is of people with plans in their heads meeting other people (all movers and shakers on both sides) with their own agenda and greasing wheels through arriving at mutual understanding.
It is of labour union pension funds used to back Joe Biden politically and the routing of business to an asset manager with links to Chinese mandarins and Kazakhstan big shots and school ties with his son. And the same shaded, suspicious stories involving brother Frank and son-in-law, Dr. Howard Krein. Something for something is how the game works.
Wherever this occurs, it is unfair and wrong, it is enriching. It is sharply and continually insulting to the Guyanese public and those honest, unconnected competitors and supplicants. There are those who think they are slick and wave this farce about recusal, which means absolutely nothing here. It could be land or business contract, or the more discreet favours for family: jobs, and scholarships via a closed network that is pervaded by nepotism, cronyism, and traditionalism. It is why we keep hurling daggers at each other, knowing full well what we ourselves did practice.
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