Jan 06, 2021 Letters
I refer to the article titled, “Failure of Govts. to punish corrupt party members undermines governance – says Greenidge” (KN January 5). After confirming that Mr. Greenidge, indeed, did say that, my reaction is: well said, sir!
The way I see this is that how both the PPP and PNC governments function in terms of addressing corrupt party members goes beyond failure; it is that both parties embrace closely such members. They cherish such known financial (and other) predators; they do more than condone such members who have earned tremendous and longstanding notoriety for ripping-off the system, though not a minor lapse in judgement, but major assaults that cost the public purse in the zillions. They salute them quietly. There are several reasons that I see as being responsible for this, which I now proceed to share.
First, everybody duz doo it, and nonbady dee giv up anybady from deh side. So why should we giv up one of our own? There is a lot embedded in that ‘one of our own’ thinking and position. That one most likely is an insider. That same one most likely did a lot of dirty work for the party over the years. That one, therefore, is a sacred cow that has to be protected at all costs. And that is what has happened, where in time, the number of sacred cows multiply, and the sacred calves, of course, are there to nuzzle around for their own little scraps of the action, which they usually get to plunder and enjoy.
Second, which is somewhat incorporated into the above, soon enough what started out small a lifetime ago mutates into party culture since everybody is having a go at the rich irresistible fruits of office, and when government (party) changes, then the mentality, as I have expressed it not too infrequently, is that it is ‘wee tun fuh teef’ which now results in the level of pervasive corruption that is reality and the national culture.
Third, the mentality towards corruption in Guyana is best summed up this pithy phrase: ‘ah maan, wha is a lil corruption’. It is why offering and receiving a ‘gratuity’ or contract arrangements, etc. have become so ingrained in the national psyche. And when there is no offer forthcoming willingly, then it escalates into a hard demand. It must be remembered that in the system at work, and insisted upon in this society, is that when a party is in power, it is omnipotent. And if that word is too fancy, then try these few for size, as made famous by one LFS Burnham: the party is paramount. Indeed, comrade! And who in this lovely country will tell me that today’s PPP functionaries (czars) are not the equivalent of those long-ago potentates from the glittering East?
Editor, in effect, this translates to men with unlimited presence and reach, which leads to swagger, a mini base of sycophants rushing to polish shoes and the like, and who are a law onto themselves. These are the people in those vaunted and scorned ‘kitchen cabinets’ where they all have a good laugh over who made a killing, who is sleeping with whom, and who pulled the latest fast one on the next big one. Hey, it is a wonderful life, and who is going to touch them? Who is going to make an example of them, whether the serial scoundrel is at the top, in the middle, or lower down? Remember that one about a fish rots from the head? Well, there it is, because the leader himself does not have to have a reputation for chronic roguery (though they usually do), but when they turn a blind eye and do nothing (as they always do), then I submit that the head is rotten, and just as good as if their hands held the smoking gun.
Last, after a bruising elections struggle, the victorious PPP members in sensitive positions that control a ton of money (which seems to be just about everywhere), it is party time, time to reap the rewards, time to reward self. And with oil here, that only adds to the rush of projects and the grand opportunities to make a high pile of dough. Now, how many honest do anyone see among them? Go anywhere, in any direction, and there is the answer. Time to get down to the business of rearranging governance for fulfilment of objectives. Anybody want to know whose….
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