Mar 03, 2021 Editorial
Kaieteur News – We must say that we are deeply disappointed in former ministers, Cathy Hughes and Annette Ferguson, and particularly the former. There are certain things that are just not done, certain steps simply not taken, certain developments not associated with, and simply because they lead to the worst possible places of conjecture and condemnation.
In this country, women may still not be present in many places of power or hold much influence. But, it is undeniable that in this society women are largely looked upon as a source (the source) of profound and enduring truths, of being above the ugly fray, of going a different way from that which the blustering and conquering local men travel and make their own. Said a different way, our women from forever, it seems, are of a timeless wisdom that speaks of those deep graces that lift us up and comfort us, and never more than when it is dark, and it appears that all is lost. Men, most of them who listen, know that, and for one simple reason: they have benefitted enormously from the womanly wisdoms that set them apart.
That is why it is so surprising and discomforting to learn of the handiwork of Ms. Hughes and Ms. Ferguson, who should both know better, and actually knew better, but still threw caution to the wind and let us down. For one thing, they did not do the cause of women, uneven and unequal to begin with, much justice, did not subscribe to what helps to level the playing field for their sisters, and especially in the minds of the unreconstructed male chauvinists and cultural relics.
According to the reports, Ms. Cathy Hughes, former Minister of Telecommunications, was the ultimate beneficiary to the tune of six million dollars in contracts awarded to a company that she owned. As disclosed in parliament by another member from across the political aisle, it would seem that former minister Hughes might have actually approved a payment to her company. Surely, she didn’t! Surely, she should have known better! And just as surely, we believe, that if this is accurate (and we must rely upon it to be so, since it was presented by another honourable member in no less an august body than that of the National Assembly), then anything goes.
At the very least, we believe that former minister Hughes is savvy enough and schooled enough to know that she ought not to have been a party to any official payment document that authorized the release of public funds to her company, which, by extension, is to herself. If she did not know, then it was the easiest of steps (the closest and most available to her) to obtain guidance on what could or should not be done by her. We do not know whether such counsel was sought. But what is obvious is that there is a payment for six million dollars and a piece of paper with former minster Hughes’ signature clearing the way for that check to be drawn. That was unministerial; it now stands unmasked and highly unnerving.
We wish that we do not have to present this over and over again, but developments of this nature from our political stewards, in one government after another, force us to say that this is not of proper governance, or public service. Rather, it is of what is angering in the reporting and commenting, because it is so much about what is self-serving, which is precisely what has come to the fore during official travels of another former minister.
Annette Ferguson is her name and travel expenses is the name of the game. In the instance of Cathy Hughes, it was six million of the taxpayers’ dollars; in the now disclosed journeys of Annette Ferguson, it is in the high six figures. It is clear that our political people know how to make the numbers work for their interests. To go from the capital city to any part of the interior cannot be over a half million, and almost a million. This is runaway greed that knows no bounds. It is the arrogance that comes from the belief that anything can be done, and nothing can be done to call to task, to mete out the kind of punishment that may bring remorse, which makes others of like mind pause and retreat.
Ms. Hughes and Ms. Ferguson are but two examples of how the business of the people is overseen here. It encircles the bizarre in what is now a huge bazaar, and a honey pot from which the well-placed few help themselves abundantly.
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