Sep 09, 2020 Editorial
It is one of the oldest tricks in the book. Dig a hole to fill a hole. And yet every time, smart people are made into suckers again and again, in a recurrence of the theme of no learning. Having made fools of the supposedly wise, and left them hanging by their greedy fingernails, the alleged Ponzi schemers have approached the courts to obtain some relief, this time under cover and operation of the law.
Now the Ponzi schemers say they want freedom, so that they can take care of their alleged mystifying business dealings by making things right for those out of pocket, even that of a long lifetime of scrimping and saving. There is no such thing as guaranteed money, as many a loser in well-regulated markets, and with much more sophistication, has learned to their unending dismay. Many of those sure things promised are anything but, and carnage comes quickly. When the promise of investment is too rich for the blood, then sepsis usually is the result.
Few of our fellow Guyanese have the wherewithal, the nerve, and the range of knowledge and experience to weather the likely financial storms that are now impending, with the wounding following. This is a game, this universe of investing for those who know what they are doing and can withstand the associated severe financial shock.
Sometimes the gullible can be so insane as to gamble the mortgage or rent money in the hope of making a quick dollar in a quicker span of time. And one of the features of the classic Ponzi scheme is to create the appearance of furious activity. That is, handsomely enriching activity. The word to the wise and temped and incautious is simple: do not believe for a moment. To paraphrase Dante Alighieri, the greeting on the door to hell says it all: those who enter pass this portal surrender all hope.
Now the alleged perpetrators say they want release, and access to, as well as authority over the mystery money. One time it is there, the next person and ranking authority, says ‘nothing doing’ nothing present. If nothing else, there is some smooth maneuvering of people, who are quick on their feet. They always have their head on and with fallback game plans in hand, as in if Option B does not work, then keep going down the alphabet.
To be clear, like any other accused, those citizens charged are entitled to the fullest protection of all applicable laws, with every element of due process being fully followed.
They want the long arm of the law and the judicial system to step back and let them control the flow. That would be the cash flow that has dried up, is now out of sight, cannot be accounted for, and which lured so many to their ruin. That is their get out of jail card, and it is most tempting, a wonderful bargaining chip. But there are misgivings, and they are not off the wall ones. They are real with the probability of flight risk being on the high end of the scale.
So we must be bold and state for the record: That could be going too far, since we remind that a bird in the hand is better than a few more elsewhere. As we share this, we emphasize that due process must occur, because if there is any provision in the law for freedom, then it must be granted. Now we take a different tack, open a bank account in the state’s name, with government authorities appointed mandatory signatories to any activity-deposit, withdrawal, payments-conducted. This way there is the prudence of steward and gatekeeper. There is simply too much at stake, with many allegedly harmed. Sometimes, people must be saved from themselves.
The last thing we wish to put out before the public is that there was some chatter in the early days about restitution. Why and for what? For if no wrongdoing was committed, as stated so strongly near the beginning, then there ought to be no offers of restitution placed on the table. There is reputation involved. There is name to be cleared from that which tarnishes. Simply not done.
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