Aug 16, 2022 Editorial
Kaieteur News – Corruption! Corruption! Corruption! It is a wound here, a pain there, and when taken together acute and chronic agonies all over the body of this nation. Official corruptions, political corruptions, and professional corruptions drain the blood of citizens leaving them anemic and weak. Guyanese cannot get their bearings, are unable to see their way, and are hampered from developing the kind of strength that they should have, given all these riches with which this country has been endowed. We should be the richest people in the world, considering our tiny population, but the hard reality is that we are the sickest, the frailest, and the shakiest.
The most current example of the stench of corruption, its weight and wrongs, was captioned on the front page of our Sunday edition: “More than $300M worth in fuel stolen in GDF/GuyOil racket …no charges laid one year later” -KN August 14). Clearly, it pays to steal in Guyana, and the more that is stolen, the more is gotten away with by thieves and fraudsters. GY$300M is a considerable amount of fuel stolen, as internal audits found, and which also had to occur over a period of years. The mystery is that nobody has been charged, dragged before the courts, and doing a long stretch of prison time.
The GDF and GuyOil are not corner cake-shops, selling a few sweets and bags of tennis rolls, but two national institutions of size. The GDF has considerable numbers, and GuyOil has a presence in most places in this country. They have systems and policies and standard operating procedures (or they should have), and they have some skilled people at both national concerns. Yet nobody knows anything about $300M in stolen fuel, or at least one manager or worker or director saying something to that effect in public. Confidentiality aside, and whistleblower protections properly considered and weighed by those thinking of taking such a fateful step, there should be more employees at different levels in those national entities, who know something, stand for something, and have the courage and integrity to say something. For sure, there may be fear of offending the powerful by talking out of turn, but silence is also contributing to the corruption cancer that is eating away at the fabric of Guyana.
One person did face the public and addressed the corruption that was found in the GDF/GuyOil fuel racket. It is no ordinary citizen, but the most highly ranked one in the person of the Vice President of Guyana, Bharat Jagdeo. Though he struggles with his own troubles with claims of corruption, whatever he says has muscle, and must be listened to, if only to get a sense of the direction in which the wind is blowing. According to Vice President Jagdeo, it is a billion dollars of fuel that has been stolen, and it could have been going on for five years, if not much longer. A fuel fraud of this magnitude is going on for years, and all that Guyanese do, from top to bottom, is talk about it and complain about it, and that is the apparent end of the matter, the concern.
We say this because it is a year later, and nobody has been charged, nobody is in jail. We have all these audit findings, all these speeches from political leaders (the Vice President is not the only one), and all we have is emptiness afterwards. It is our understanding that the Guyana Police Force has been handed the files and the rest, but after that, there has been nothing but thin air. This is how corruption festers and grows from strength to strength. The issue of concern is who is really about truth, integrity, and getting to the bottom of massive corruptions, so that the Guyanese people can get some justice for their tax dollars stolen. Plenty is not adding up, too many worry, because there are doubts about which leader, which watchdog institution, which tribunal of correction is genuine about cleaning up corruption in this country. When anyone can find them, please let us know, for we will be glad to share with other Guyanese horrified by what we live with, pay for in blood.
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