Oct 08, 2021 Editorial
Kaieteur News – According to the latest media reports as embedded in the 2021 Mid-Year Report, the PPP/C Government has expended over GY$25B on COVID-19 protective and relief measures. It is a huge sum which is bound to increase by several billions more since we are now three months past mid-year, and a similar number of months are left in 2021. The Government says that another “$2B more may be needed” (KN October 7). These are massive numbers, no matter which way they are examined, and should have done enormous good for the Guyanese public, but only if all of it was expended in an honest and principled manner.
We at this paper first commend the PPP/C Government, its Leaders, and the Cabinet, for moving with energy and speed to deliver relief on a number of fronts to frightened citizens, especially those suffering from some of the pandemic fallouts. These include loss of work and earnings due to closure and an absence of confidence, given the mysterious and elusive nature of a virus that has proven difficult to nail down and bury forever. Vaccines have helped restore some confidence and, so too, have the reopening of facilities and protective equipment being furnished as needed. These are all positive components in Guyana’s COVID-19 fight and the PPP/C Government is given a round of applause for making available money to fund different needs in different areas.
But that only goes up to a point. Because prior circumstances, human nature, and governmental realities then take over, and with those come a healthy dose of skepticism, prompting varying schools of thought. As should be known, put that kind of money ($25B) in the hands of politicians and public servants the world over, and unimaginable and unpardonable things happen. Such things have happened in war, when men were dying on battlefields, when the rallying public was giving of its all for the national cause. It is called war profiteering, and it has a long history because in times of great conflict, still greater sums of money are spent to deliver the hardest, swiftest, and most telling blow to the enemy. The invisible enemy today is this COVID-19 virus which has now mushroomed into a near nuclear winter with devastation everywhere. Yet, that doesn’t stop men from profiting.
They are usually politicians, and the powerful men and women that they surround themselves with and put in charge of the business of their respective nations. These officials have a record of helping themselves from the immense sums that are freed up, and let fly around to fill one urgent need after another. In times of peace, it is the same vulgar story from politicians speaking fluently about what they have set aside to combat this, cure that, and fix some other area. The scandals of money siphoned off by corrupt bureaucrats, many times working in tandem with street smart Contractors, rob the people of what is rightly due to them: a clean process, a completed project, a product well worth the millions or billions spent in their name for their benefit.
The record attests that this has happened in the United States in one costly undertaking after another, and particularly at the state level. New York and New Jersey are names that are notorious for such thieveries and wrongdoings that hurt the people, sometimes even endanger them later. Though not as bad, this has unfolded from time to time in countries in Europe. When we consider all of this, we end up right back here with this GY$25B spent on COVID-19 measures, with more billions needed, which we think could easily reach into another GY$5B, if not more.
Prior PPP and PNC Governments have been a rat’s nest of skullduggeries with leadership obscenities and utter lack of integrity. Today, the PPP’s approach may be different, the language more comforting, but it is the same corrupt leaders and some of the same corrupt people in charge of delivery. With the amount of money identified, it would be encouraging to learn whether all went where it was officially earmarked to go: COVID-19 requirements. We are not optimistic, given how the PPP/C Government and its leaders have concealed other details where corruption reigns.
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