Kaieteur News – What a bizarre country. Riding on a wave of denunciation of corruptibility under the PPP regime, the APNU+AFC secured power in 2015. It set up an anti-corruption agency name SARA (State Asset Recovery Agency) headed by one of the leaders in one of the parties that made up the coalition government – Dr. Clive Thomas.
During the life of SARA under that very government that brought SARA into being – the APNU+AFC regime, PNC activist James Bond banked a million American dollars into an account and absolutely no movement took place in relation to an investigation by that commercial bank, the central bank, the anti-money laundering unit at the Ministry of Finance and Clive Thomas’ outfit – SARA.
In a small country, corrupt officials will never be caught because in such countries, people with power and money control the entire population in both the public and private spheres; from the persons who weed the public parapets to the managers of the commercial banks.
The commercial bank manager will be told in advance that a cheque for $500 million will be deposited within an hour. The manager will then tell the powerful caller that when the office boy comes with the cheque, he must tell the teller to inform him. That is the end of that.
So how Bond was able to deposit a sum of one million American dollars and no question was asked from any quarters? The answer is simple; in countries with tiny populations, the moneyed people and the power people can do anything they want because they know the bureaucrats and state officials that have to implement the laws. Why is the manager of the financial house going to refuse to accept a cheque from a person who has in his possession a note from a minister of government saying: “Please facilitate as a request from me; call me if you have any enquiries.”
I stayed in my car on the Railway Embankment one day and looked from a distance as the traffic ranks stopped motorists at random, checking for papers. Not one heavily tinted, expensive SUV was stopped. Commonsense was at work. When the police ranks see such vehicles, they know the stuff is so expensive that only moneyed people or power people can be in those cars so they know that they are not supposed to intercept such drivers.
The police confronted some folks who were imbibing at 11:30 pm, thus violating curfew time at a gas station up the East Coast. Do you know the hundreds of parties that have taken place way beyond curfew time, way beyond midnight in fancy suburban mansions since COVID-19 restrictions were implemented? The police did not intervene. Why? For commonsensical reasons. The police know that such places are off-limits.
This is the shape of life in a poor, underdeveloped country. Do you know at the very same time Bond banked that sum courtesy of the manager how many poor souls were hassled by the financial houses for their deposits of $15,000, $25,000, etc. I remember driving up the East Coast to attend the wedding of Leonard Craig of the AFC in 2017, in a car driven by former AFC parliamentarian, Trevor Williams.
Williams told me for a deposit of $10,000, he had to answer a mountain of questions by the bank teller. I did write about this conversation in the myriad of denunciatory columns on the commercial banks that I did. However, the Guyanese version of 007 Bond easily put one million America dollars into one of the commercial banks and no questions asked.
Former Minister of Home Affairs, Khemraj Ramjattan, is always speaking to the press. But to date he has not responded to the statement by current Home Affairs minister, Robeson Benn, that about 60 percent of gun licence applications were approved without the process going through all the necessary stages including the licence board. If that is not true, then Ramjattan has not disputed Benn’s accusation so I am assuming it is true.
So the interesting question is who are among those 60 percent? The answer is simple – moneyed people and power people. This columnist knows about countless cases where genuine applicants were never awarded a licence and in many cases their applications were never acknowledged. We had the situation of well know journalist, Leonard Gildarie, who was given the grand run-around for years with his application.
So we return to Bond with the obvious question – if Bond did it and it went unheeded surely how many more did it and the money was accepted by the banks and now safely sits in several accounts? What a tragic wasteland is Guyana.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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