Granger defends APNU/AFC’s corruption hiding behind the Private Sector

President David Granger this past week stated that most corruption in Guyana takes place in the Private Sector and among the general public. In the face of growing and urgent concerns of suffocating corruption in his Government, he appears to be telling people that if corruption is so prevalent in the Private Sector and in the public itself, why are people worried about corruption in Government. In other words, according to Granger, Government is simply behaving in accordance with a national culture.
Truth is, instead of acknowledging the sickening level of corruption that has taken root in his Government after just one year, he seeks to deflect the blame on the Private Sector and in the public. In sports and in war, they say a good offense is your best defence. I suspect that instead of condemning corruption in his Government, Granger has gone on the offensive to cast blame on corruption in the Private Sector. In fact, he castigates those who have painfully identified, and who continue to hold the A Partnership ofr National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) transparent and accountable for not going after the “real” bad guys, the general public and the Private Sector. In his perverse world, corruption in APNU/AFC is not a problem.
Cancer evolves gradually and then rapidly eats away your body, destroying you in the process. Corruption has been aptly described as a cancer that eats away at the effectiveness and efficiency of governments everywhere. It has been unanimously identified as one of the major reasons for failures in economic, social and cultural development. We cannot fight the disease of corruption in governments by excusing it on the basis that the Private Sector does it also and do it even more than Government.
We know the adage that unless an alcoholic is able to recognise that he or she has a problem, it is almost impossible to heal. A government has to be able to acknowledge it has a problem with corruption within its ranks in order to be able to address it. Anytime a government seeks to deflect attention away from itself when it comes to corruption, it is condoning the practice. Make no mistake Granger’s public announcement that the people who point their fingers at Government’s corruption are misguided and have identified the wrong culprit is an admission that he is disinterested in tackling corruption within APNU/AFC and his Government.
What is instructive is that he took this reprehensible position at the launching of a book by Anand Goolsaran on Governance, Transparency and Accountability, a book that points out the importance of tackling corruption in government in order to drive development. In a perverse way, he was disavowing Goolsaran’s argument that government corruption was a cancerous blight on development. His argument is that it is a non-issue in Guyana because the real corruption is within the Private Sector.
Granger’s position is a confession that as President he intends to do nothing to stop Government’s corruption. In the midst of this absurd position, we have more news of corruption. In Region Six, the REO gave out 18 contracts for cleaning septic tanks without any announcement, any advertisement, any advisory to the Regional Democratic Council; at contract prices that are significantly above the highest existing rates for such works. This is just an example of the multitude of small corrupt contracts that have become the norm in Guyana today. They are superimposed on the larger corruption, such as the sole-sourcing of the forensic audits, the sole-sourcing of the specialty hospital, sole-sourcing of medical supplies, sole-sourcing of a fertiliser contract, sole-sourcing of a wind farm, giving out employments to people whose only qualifications include political activists etc.
It is another confession that corruption within APNU/AFC is not rogue behaviour, but a practice that is condoned within a policy framework. The President as the highest public servant has now come out and stated that the real problem is Private Sector corruption. Joe Harmon, his right hand man, insists that these contracts, favours and employment without transparent processes to politically select people represent an “HONORIFIC” model of Governance, where political donors and supporters are rewarded. The President’s left hand man, Raphael Trotman, explains that businessmen and others make political donations and expect to be rewarded, a principle supported by APNU/AFC..
The President has abdicated his duty to his people and country. He is now in charge of a Government that is aggressively deflecting attention away from its corruption and now blames the Private Sector. This is a scurrilous, perverted foundation for building a strong democratic and effective economic and social framework to lift our people out of poverty. (Send comments to [email protected])