Home Letters Any effort to fight corruption must be free from political control
I wish to put on record for public consumption my views as it relates to the current plague of corruption that has infected the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition Government and their insincerity in doing anything about it.
It was the APNU and AFC before the 2011 elections and again as coalition partners while in full campaign mode before the May 2015 election, which saw a ‘jumbie behind every bush’ and screamed corruption. Today, corruption is not about perception but it is real, live, current, able to relate to wickedness, dishonesty, lies, deception, and in many instances now, bold, barefaced crassness. This is further compounded by the manifest acts of cover up by the Executives and their culture of non-disclosure/manipulation of information and non answers to questions raised by the MP’s during deliberations of the National Assembly. This Government is not just engaging in corrupt practices, it is corrupt.
Society is still restless and there is still buzzing on the ground from the continuous effects and consequences of the mass dismissals, political discrimination, the racial and ethnic victimisation and mass witch-hunting by the coalition Government since it took the reins of Government.
I welcome with bated breath the disclosure in sections of the media on September 12, 2017, which read “UN expert has plans to tackle corruption, drugs and to spearhead anti corruption projects here”. The United Nations (UN), including the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and its personnel like all other international agencies has and will continue to play significant roles in Guyana. But I caution these experts and international agencies that they must not be used as a ‘fig leaf’ to cover the current cesspool that exists in the bowels of the current Government’s bureaucracy.
Any effort to fight corruption must be free from political control, if not, those efforts will be misdirected to shake down political opponents and protect allies. The anti-corruption fight must be led by actors outside of those who exercise discretionary, coercive, or administrative powers. Our current Attorney General is not in any position to lead a fight against corruption. The Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), which is a department of the Guyana Police Force that was established to support and strengthen the investigative capacity of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), has now been politicised and used as a tool to target political opponents. It is lacking in operational independence and it is subject to the direct control of political personalities. It is bordering on becoming a rogue unit of the Guyana Police Force. Guyanese must remember that Mr Sittlington, British expert assigned to the Guyana Police Force/SOCU was physically present when businessmen were being shaken down at the behest of political masters and was undeniably present at the Office of the Leader of the Opposition and at Freedom House when SOCU sought to arrest and question top leaders of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) as part of the APNU/AFC’s witch-hunt.
This current initiative by the UN expert must not be hijacked by the political circus being led by the current AG. The SARU and now SARA, another political outfit masquerading under the guise of the recovery of state assets through its statements in the media and actions on the ground have all been targeted against PPP/C leaders and supporters. There have been no investigations by SARA into the notorious Sussex Street Bond Scandal, the 2 million procurement scandal at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), and the .3 billion rape of the Treasury for the construction without any procurement process of the now infamous D’Urban Jubilee Park at Homestretch Avenue. There has been no action against known smugglers and traffickers of illegal fuel by persons connected to this Administration.
Would the Attorney General speak to the issue of 0,000 being spent on monthly rentals for homes for Government Ministers and in one instance .5 million being paid by the Ministry of the Presidency for rent for a senior Government official?
Would the SARA or SOCU go after the insider trading, the policy of sole sourcing of contracts that is always favouring friends, family and financiers of the coalition Government?
Therefore, the photograph and the headline and statements by credible international partners must not be misconstrued to suggest that all is well with this current Government. I strongly call upon the United Nations’ experts, international agencies, organisations of international reputation not to allow themselves or the names of distinguished officials associated with them, to be used as the clean sheet to decorate a defiled bed. The shameless, unrepentant, disrespectful and presumptuous actions of Ministers of the Government and their surrogates must not be allowed to be excused as clumsy mistakes and bad policymaking; they must be seen for what they are, raiding the public purse.
In the days of the Messiah’s sojourn on earth there were those who positioned themselves as the standard bearers of righteousness, decency and morality. There were namely two sects: Scribes and Pharisees but Jesus undressed them in public view when he referred to them as ‘white sepulchres’, meaning nicely painted tombs but rotten on the inside. The facade of nice suits, biblical quotations in speeches and pandering to the gallery, singing songs of Zion are all now tattered, worn. The true man is being seen. Stop hiding APNU/AFC; face the light of scrutiny, transparency and accountability. Answer the people’s questions.
Bishop Juan Edghill
PPP/C Member of