>Encouraging Events, Disturbing Developments<
By GHK Lall
Kaieteur News – I am struggling to find the good, the encouraging, the helpful in this country. The going is rough, gets rougher daily. We have great riches, but our leaders make us smaller when they deceive and coverup their real ambitions, their handiworks done by corrupt henchmen. Still, I reach for what I can find and share some.
An economist calls for guardrails against corruption. It is a spirited and well-intended call, and I am encouraged by it. But we need more than guardrails in Guyana’s corruption fights; we need a national straitjacket to immobilise our hands from reaching into the taxpayers’ cookie jar. Anything less than a straitjacket is not enough; we must go the whole mile and then circle back if we are ever going to put our arms around deep and broad corruptions. If only Guyanese knew a little of what goes on here, maybe they will be incensed to the point of never voting again for any group; never trust another leader or politician. The political and professional corrupt hide behind all manner of smokescreens, including when they get loyalists to defend continuing chronic corruptions with ‘the PNC also used to steal.’ I agree and ensure that my public wrath registered, though I could have done still more. It would encourage to see the celebrating New York and Guyana crowds possessing the individual integrity to say we have had enough, and we will not condone, we will not rationalise. There are no innocents.
Embedded in that presentation about guardrails against corruptions was the recommendation that NRF Committee members should submit declarations to the Integrity Commission. It is well meaning, but those declarations are only paper, and with that we are very good in what we present, in what may have already been well concealed from long practice in earlier public service life. Quite frankly, I am still uncertain about the Integrity Commission itself, since principled citizens are so acutely short; plus, once so selected the first loyalty is not necessarily to integrity and sworn duty, but usually to leader and party
Confirmation came in a strange way of how much corruption there is in, above, below, and around Guyana. An international report indicated that 99% of our territorial waters remain infested with lawless practices (KN September 7). I could have saved the foreigners time and trouble: 99% of Guyana’s earth is plagued with lawlessness from top to bottom and tarnishing everything and everyone in between. The few that are staunchly principled are tainted from just being around rogues, swindlers, and hustlers in both public and private sectors. The private sector knowing that its bread will only remain lavishly buttered by toeing the line willingly joins in upholding the national corruptions, and participating in it to demonstrate that members are real and part of the self-enriching crowd.
Look at us on this issue of lawlessness. One leader had charges dropped by a friendly comrade, who should be the standard bearer as a lawmaker; another leader would have had charges for serial lawlessness plastered all over him in a different society, but we have democracy and clean governance, as they tell me, despite all this. This is how we (me and you) discharge duty as citizens, and deliver on honesty, as persons. We may build something, perhaps empires of wealth for the few, like how it came to past in places such as Indonesia, Angola, Nigeria, India (another democracy) and Arabia (a monarchy). The reality is that we will never erect the foundations on which build a truly equitable society.
The Education Minister’s National Breakfast Plan for Grade 6 students caught my eye. It is a good thing and I applaud. Keep the children fed, and keep hands clean from any contamination is what I say to the people controlling and delivering. Don’t overcharge and underdeliver, thus starving some children in other school levels and other places. My one thought (not a criticism) shared with the Hon. Minister is to make this a truly ‘National Breakfast Plan’ and include all the Regions and all the spaces. Go the whole distance, though I know that some don’t need the compassionate hand.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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