Jun 17, 2021 Editorial
Kaieteur News – Thanks to social media, something that occurred on the streets of an African country went viral. It was this amazing picture of a tall, well-built man in full suit chasing and swinging blow after blow at another man, a shorter and apparently younger one in a jacket. It is not so much that the attacker mainly missed, but what was important was why he confronted violently, and the underlying reasons for the public rage and attempted pummelling of the man targeted. And, arguably most importantly, it was about who was doing the wrathful attacking.
The bigger man doing the beating is the President of Guinea Bissau. The one ducking, dodging and running from this public trashing is a government minister. And the reason for the rage of the president and the attempted presidential beating down was of squandered COVID-19 funds. We at this paper have a few things to say about this in the most unsparing terms. Some may be offended, which is regrettable, since some things just have to be said raw and sharp, with no beating around the bush.
We say good for the Guinea Bissau president. We are sorry that more of his intended blows did not land on target and teach the minister a lesson that he would never forget, with the same strong message sent to all: do this thing right. Serve the interests of the citizens properly, in the most principled manner. Do well with the money entrusted to care, so that all will be well; or, better off than before. If not, then pay the consequences, which could include public humiliation.
Citizens the world over are under siege, and the poorer ones in impoverished countries are experiencing the brunt of pandemic fallouts. They need every helping hand they can get, and since the state has the biggest hand, then that is to where hopeful eyes are cast. It is, therefore, unpardonable, when ministers trusted and expected to care for the people, and give whatever little relief is available, squander the monies placed in their hands to ease the plights of the people. It is unforgivable, when thieves and cheats sense and move to seize yet another opportunity to deny the people, to expose them still further, through wastage and incompetence, or worse, through skullduggery and deceptions. For these reasons, we can identify with the fury and frustration of the President of Guinea Bissau; we applaud his actions.
As we at this paper absorb and think of what happened on that street in Guinea Bissau, our position is that, we need some of that startling action right here on our streets in full view of the Guyanese public. The problem with that taking place here, is that we have too much of the leadership and ministerial problems that provoked the burning anger of Guinea Bissau’s head of state. We have too much right here, definitely more, of the same squandering of money that could benefit the people.
The first problem is, where to start, and who to beat with public trashing. The second is this one: who is capable of, clean enough, and strong enough, to engage in public beating of the squandering, the lying, the hiding, and the stealing. We look around, we search for some helper along the lines of that African president, and we come up woefully short, as in empty handed. We look in government and we have to backpedal rapidly. We look at the opposition, and we run away in disgust. We watch at civil society, and it is the same story: there are no candidates, no takers. All we have, to the greatest extent possible, are the hustlers and grabbers and positioners.
For something for themselves, through taking or hoping for something that cheats the ordinary struggling citizens, who need it more than those rushing to the front of the line, and angling for the biggest chunk of Guyana’s riches. We need a man, a people, with a big heart and a bigger stick to shake leaders and ministers and all politicians out of their complacencies and corruptions. Squandering is not the word here; it is about savaging and sucking blood dry. The challenge remains: who is going to beat whom?
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