Over the past year, there’ve been a few instances where confidential information on suspicious or illegal activity from within the government was given out and ended up with the Opposition Leader. He – occupying the office constitutionally designated to keep the government on its toes – used his platform to inform the populace so that could make “informed decisions” on how their government was operating.
Not surprisingly, the government – caught with mud on its face, or more frequently with their hands in the cookie jar – has been embarrassed!! The instance of US$9000 being deposited directly into the personal account of Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson and then exposed comes to mind. Then of course, there’s the more recent case when the info that $20Million had been transferred to the children of a Minister from the accounts of the Ministry of the Presidency was revealed.
Matters took a turn into the surreal, however, when the just-appointed Minister of Public Service Sarabo-Halley fired the entire personnel department of the Ministry – plus a supervisor. Presumably because of the leak. Either the Minister or the government had made a decision to stop the leaks with massive force so as to deter others from repeating them. But wasn’t this like using a hammer to kill a fly that just landed on the head of the person sitting next to you? A bit of an overkill?
Well, one analyst doesn’t think so. Executive Member of the WPA David Hinds who is closely related to Minister Tabitha Sarabo-Halley felt the PPP left “moles” behind in the government when they departed and there needs to be a systematic approach to rooting them out!! Wow!! Shades of McCarthyism creeping into Guyana!! McCarthy, of course, was the US Senator who saw communists not only in every government department after WWII, but under every bed!! He used his position to launch highly publicised hearings, forcing citizens to defend themselves against accusations of being Russian moles. Countless lives were ruined after folks just used the opportunity to “get” others they just didn’t like!!
It all fell apart when one outraged soul finally cried out to McCarthy in front of the cameras: “Have you no shame, sir?” The country then turned against the bullying McCarthy!! But why go all the way to America. Didn’t Burnham do the same thing to Hinds’ WPA back in the 1970’s -without any “hearings”?? Didn’t Burnham boast at the 1979 Congress that when he fired those WPA “traitors” they “stayed fired”?? And that’s the problem, isn’t it?
Even if the PPP had left “moles” in place, forget about how the COI that Hinds suggest would prove their guilt.
How would they be identified?
The Opposition Leader identified the persons passing on information as “whistle blowers”. This term made a distinction between “moles” who were passing on government information to foreign interests or for money and patriotic individuals who were responding to their consciences in not allowing the government Leviathan to get away with illegalities – whistleblowers. During the Vietnam War, Daniel Ellsberg passed on thousands of top-secret filed to the New York Times, which showed that the government had engaged in a massive coverup of its war efforts. More recently, there’s been “Deep Throat”, Snowden and Manning in the US.
The US Code of Ethics for Government Service says bluntly, “Expose corruption wherever discovered” and “Never use any information coming to him confidentially in the performance of governmental duties as a means for making private profit.” With this background how could Hinds, who teaches in the US, call “whistle blowers”, moles?
Guyana should do no less than the US: “whistle blower” legislation’s long overdue.
…and witch hunting
But even before moles and whistle blowers, there were witches and witch hunting. Folks just had to make an accusation against another and the person was “tested” by the Church.
One test was to tie their hands and dump them into a river. If they survived, they were witches.
If they didn’t, too bad!!