Sep 25, 2021 Editorial
Kaieteur News – The foreigners who come here to exploit our riches have shown that they can be every bit as smart as Guyanese political leaders, with a practice that they now adopt. What they were slow in picking up early, comes in a rush later, with no looking back after appreciating Guyana’s dark waters. It is stock in trade answer, one-size-fits-all response, drop-dead terminal, where all roads taken in this country lead: it is named CONFIDENTIAL.
Politicians, from leaders to ministers in government to opposition members, all have prized secrets to be protected, to public servants with much to hide, to private and civil sector actors, it is the same dreary concealing story: CONFIDENTIAL. Ask a routine question that has no teeth, a fluffball one, like the friendly media brownnosers practice, and both politicians and public servants gush over about this much money being spent, that billion-dollar project and the other ones in the works, and something becomes immediately apparent. There is no stopping them from talking like a duck with diarrhea, since they all recognise an opportunity to aim high, and deliver self-serving propaganda. They have at their fingertips all kinds of numbers, any manner of big visions, on the issues and projects, which their dirty, grubby paws have not fastened upon, as yet. This is how they are with information, meaning, before the dirty, self-helping action begins to take place. The foreigners, no slouches themselves in the concealment department, quickly learn how business is done in Guyana, and what they can get away with, compliments of crooked politicians and their supporting cast of crooked handpicked cabal of rogues and scamps.
Thus, the foreigners come and adapt accordingly. They learn swiftly about the broad benefits of bringing up the protection of CONFIDENTIALITY. The Zijin Mining Group arrives in Guyana and plays the CONFIDENTIAL card. No time, no answer, no detail, no can do. Not even on basics, such as production targets, company prospects, leadership sentiment. It is a guaranteed showstopper. Zijin did it, Exxon gets Guyanese leaders to do it, the locals do. It is: CONFIDENTIAL, buddy; nothing doing.
CONFIDENTIAL bring all the probing, worrying questions to an abrupt stop. It is a long road, with many detours to divert those pressing for clarity, any degree of truth. The first one goes like this: UNAVAILABLE. Since, the senior officers are always unavailable to furnish any much-needed details, that is as good as neutralising all such alarming inquiries with a bolded big font stamp marked CONFIDENTIAL. There is no telling where these inquiries could lead, and before it is known, the horse is out the barn, the media has a field day, citizens are in an uproar, and leaders mortified. It is much better to let the proven wisdom of CONFIDENTIAL halt everything and all comers in their tracks.
This is why Guyana’s highest officeholder, its Head of State, a leader now recognised as an expert in delivering verbal balloons with little things and simple things gets all choked-up and tongue-tied when appealed to, or confronted with, issues that call for a straight answer. This is why Guyana’s clever Vice President, a former head of state himself of rather mean standing, also develops a powerful case of acute laryngitis, when gently pressed for the facts on oil or gold or governance. The man loses his voice, and those who question him wonder how they could have lost him, such a clean pair of heels he displays. It is the spectacle of this country’s top leaders, one elected by the people, who refuse to share or report any material information to the people. In a word, everything that matters is CONFIDENTIAL.
But there is still one more twist to the Guyana CONFIDENTIAL soap opera. Because powerful politicians always have needy and greedy people serving at their beck and call, and dependent upon their whims and favours, they don’t have to do the dirty confidential deed. They pass the order: go out there and don’t say a single word. Talk up a storm, but do not say a word that could return and haunt, or expose either ourselves or our friends. CONFIDENTIAL, it is. It gets the job done a certain way. Any questions?
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