Desperate measures: a sign of things to come

Dear Editor,

The arrest of leading members of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), including the daughter of the immediate past President, is an indication of the direction in which this People’s National Congress-led A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) regime is taking Guyana.

The APNU and the AFC fell victim to their own propaganda. They hyped-up the talk about corruption while in Opposition, and even in Government that fooled a lot of people. The tragedy is that they began believing their own lies and convinced themselves of massive corruption.

That is why they spent hundreds of millions of dollars on forensic audits to find the corruption. Those audits, although specially selected and done by known PPP/C critics, found nothing to really substantiate their claims of massive corruption.

In the meantime, in just 22 months, they have behaved as if they were/are in a hurry to enrich themselves. This is being done by very corrupt ways, even though some actions are legal.

They hiked their own salaries and allowances by huge amounts. Travelling abroad and even internally has become extremely profitable.

They also travel differently from the way the PPP/C Government officials did. Millions are being spent on chartering planes. Moreover, the delegations have grown greatly.

They have increased the bureaucracy by thousands of percentage points. This is even after they dismissed hundreds of person, both from the public service and contract workers, just because of their race or suspected political beliefs. The costs of government must have gone up tremendously.

This is in the midst of suspected massive corruption.

The drug bond which is costing taxpayers more than $14 million per month stores some packets of condoms and lubricants, while huge drug shortage exist in the whole health sector. The drug shortage was a deliberate act to perpetrate this type of corruption.

The regime is now procuring drugs from their finances at hundreds of percentage points above what the PPP/C Administration used to do.

Tax revenue cases are being settled out of court leading to horrendous haemorrhaging from the Treasury.

Other cases too, brought by friends of the regime, are being settled just by a mere letter of intention to sue. In one case, more than a billion dollars was paid on that basis. This, many feel, is paying off and receiving kick-backs.

It has been reported that now we are witnessing real corruption as Customs Officers are being pushed to raid businesses looking for uncustomised goods.

We are now being buried under a mountain of corruption.

Faced with a declining economy, a shortage of foreign currency and shortage of cash, the regime is getting desperate.

Huge amounts of new taxes are being imposed on our people. Included here are basic goods and essential services. Criminal taxes are placed on education, health, water, and electricity. Even persons planting kitchen gardens and making a living pushing carts or jackass carts are seeing taxes heaped upon them.

Now they have degenerated to using the State apparatus to pressure and harass political opponents and their families.

The arrests of March 7 and 8 mark the date that the regime crossed the rubicon of decency and further degenerated into undemocratic methods of governing.

The raid and arrests by SOCU has changed the nature of that body from what it was created for, fighting money-laundering, to now being a political tool of the regime to harass opponents of the regime and violate their human rights.


Donald Ramotar

Former President