May 14, 2021 Letters
When the government was changed last August, the country cheered. Within a few months, opinions began to change. People never expected that mis-governance, arrogance and perceived corruption would raise its ugly head so soon. There are too many questions about contracts and acquisition of lands. The government also failed to raise the issue of renegotiation with Exxon on the oil contract, while local content laws are not being enforced.
The last government was rightly and justifiably replaced for its arrogance and widespread corruption. Its corruption is still being exposed. But this government is not much better. Hardly anyone of repute known for integrity and incorruptibility, honesty and as an advocate for good governance has been employed by this government. Critics of the government are not recruited or consulted. As someone pointed out, this government has hired “nuff, nuff tiefman.” And if you look around at various offices, so many are back with corruption allegations pre-May 2015.
Not much has changed after nine months. Despite what the NACTA pollster says, disenchantment is rising even in PPP strongholds. Reform and prosperity, promised in the manifesto, are not anywhere on the horizon. The promised 50K jobs have not even led to the hiring of 1,000. The closed sugar estate workers are betrayed; the three re-opened sugar estates are stagnant. Workers have been given letters that their last day of employment is June, suggesting that government will close or sell the estates to friends as was expected from the outset. The government is letting down the poor whose lives have not been made better after nine months. A grant of $25K for a family (of five mouths) is not enough. It is more than what the coalition gave. But compare the amount with government ministers who get $1.5M a month plus perks and gifts from contractors.
People know the Ministries where there are deficiencies in accountability and companies that are favoured for contracts; kickbacks determine awarding of contracts. Greed by the political elite drives almost every policy and decision. There are allegations involving the procurement of COVID-19 equipment, drugs and vaccines, plus other contracted pharmaceutical purchases; one company, favoured by the two main political elites, gets 80 percent of the contracts.
One man thinks he knows everything and makes all decisions for the government including hiring, firing, allocating of contracts. Thief men are favoured for employment. The small political elite engage in bullying behaviour. Rules, norms, laws are violated. The elite are heartless and victimises those who oppose them. Those who take a position opposed to the elite and or call for reforms are abused and alienated. These critics, people of integrity are finding themselves in trouble. In government offices, the staff is coerced to approve unpalatable policies. One-man dominance must be rejected. People need to speak up. The regular letter writers must make their views known on political dominance and abuse. Those who spoke out against the opposition are silent on government abuses and perceived corruption.
This government is warned that pervasive corruption is unacceptable to foreign government. The western powers are not going to stand by idly and they should not on pervasive corruption and flouting of global norms. The West will not take too kindly to the elimination of mangroves that is in clear violation of Guyana’s laws as well as against the spirit of the recent climate summit. Investors are warned not to allow themselves to be duped by the political elite in government. Once the global community turns against the government, and once local people rise up (as they will sooner than the government thinks), the elite can’t save the investors. Arrogance, marginalisation of critics and professionals, and abuse of the opposition will lead to domestic insurrection. The opposition cannot sit by and allow ongoing abuses to themselves and their supporters.
Foreign governments will turn against this government for damage to the mangroves, corruption, and other abuses. Foreign governments are increasingly uncomfortable with this government especially its commercial, fishing and financial links with China. Major powers and CARICOM will back the opposition and critics, who speak out against corruption and one-man dominance of the government. Disgruntlement is rising. Government is becoming unpopular. To save face, this government needs an urgent reshuffling. Unfit and unqualified front figures must go, especially at Natural Resources, Housing, Local Government, Agriculture and Infrastructure.
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