Jul 23, 2021 Letters
Recently, I started describing Guyana as a ‘Sopranos state.’ It was deliberate, and intended to convey to American television-attuned Guyanese, the way things are. Because our culture is now overrun with unsavoury associations and arrangements, thanks to the political godfathers of Guyana.
The Sicilian Cosa Nostra perfected the art of Omerta, and made it into the foolproof science of secrecy, subject to its own immutable laws. Speak out of turn, and to dust will return. The local lingo is slightly different (confidentiality), but the results are the same (everything kept safe and secure inside the criminally corrupt family). This is how Guyana’s business is run by the national governing body, like some shadowy underhanded enterprise. Nobody talks, and risks a leadership contract being put out on them. Thus, they are assured of continuing favours, through leadership blessings and expanding personal prosperities. The key to maintaining secrecy is compartmentalisation. Everything is on a need-to-know basis. Dare to raise a simple question and its treason. Take a contrarian stand against the PPP-run Sopranos state, and alarms go off. What is there to fear? Nobody knows anything, says anything. The biggest racket is oil, now an incomparable national hustle. We have billions of barrels of it, but society can’t get boo from leaders about it.
Meanwhile, inside the secret political oil society the capo measures and weighs, and makes oil offers that greedy conspirators cannot refuse. They don’t. The only ones embraced are those trusted to steal, for then the seal of silence is unbreakable. To squeal would be self-incriminating. In the local Sopranos state, there are no stool pigeons, only pigs helping themselves from the people’s trough. This is how they make one hit after another, like Sammy the Bull Gravano, a real peach of a fellow. As for those daring to stand against them, they search for ways on how to neutralise them, and take them down. Legally, naturally. The choice of skullduggeries proliferate with big money criminality -narcotics, prostitution, gambling. We can’t fix flooding, but we prioritize casinos. What a racket! There is zero interest in clean governing, but every interest in a certain kind of policing. Well, at least with regards to the reporting of real-world crimes, as well as those happening high inside of the organisation. Guyana is one fixer’s paradise. And this is what the consiglieres (legal advisers) and capos (ministers) and connected families (well, no names should really be mentioned or needed, so obvious they are) all do: fix things to suit their corrupt visions and their patched-up stories. Like the real-life criminal Mafia, those in Guyana’s Sopranos state, make alliances with Wall Street and Fortune 500 companies, while camouflaging public and private sector activities, through a variety of fronts: construction, real estate, metals, downstream oil, and uptown high stakes betting. The barbarians are inside the gates, which we call government business and foreign investment, in what is one big, dirty family affair. A real Sopranos state we have here.
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