Power abuse: Corruption hallmarks of APNU/AFC regime

Dear Editor,

The APNU/AFC regime is a throwback to the PNC’s days in office (1964-1992). This is not surprising since the PNC is the dominant force in this coalition Government.

Any doubts one may have had about this dispensation must have been dispelled when they heard the speech that the PNC Leader, David Granger, made at the party’s recent Congress.

Granger asserted that his government is being guided by the ideas of Forbes Burnham.

What were those ideas in relation to governance?

The most prominent was the paramountcy of the party (PNC). Burnham saw the state apparatus as just another arm of the party to utilise as it pleased.

That is the philosophy that led to taking measures to turn state institutions into party arms. The Army and Police had to swear loyalty to the party and its leader. According to Kenn Danns, who wrote the PNC’s militarisation of the state, all officres of the army and police had to be members of the PNC.

The PNC groups were used to recruit soldiers and police personnel.

The regime even had the PNC flag flown above the Guyana Flag at the Court of Appeal. This signalled that the judiciary, too, was not independent of the PNC’s influence.

Indeed, one commentator wrote that after a while, judges did not have to be told what to do; they anticipated what the leader wanted and delivered.

This mode of governance led to gross abuse of power and widespread corruption. It finally culminated and damaged the economy, pauperising the masses.

An examination of this regime will clearly show that we are on the same road. The Granger-led regime has quickly taken up where the Burnham regime left off.

First of all, we see the widespread racial and political discrimination taking place. Persons suspected to be supporters of the PPP/Civic have been and are being dismissed from their jobs. This has affected Indo-Guyanese workers the most. But it is not confined to them. Some 2000 Amerindians were fired in one devastating blow. Many Afro-Guyanese who showed signs of independent thinking have also been sent packing.

This is total disregard for people’s human rights.

The philosophy of paramountcy has made members of the regime insensitive to public opinion.

The regime has also been demonstrating callous disregard for the laws of our society.

The procurement process has been abandoned and the regime has gone back to the PNC’s practice of ‘fat fowling’ their friends. Sole sourcing of pharmaceutical and other goods and services has become the norm.

The case of the bond to house drugs is a case in point. The Government advanced enough money to allow the purchase of the building. All the expenses have fallen on the taxpayers and yet they are paying $12.5 million a month to rent the facility.

Who will believe that this deal is not tainted with corruption?

Who would believe that kickbacks have not been received for the huge tax write-offs granted by the government to big companies?

At the same time, the small man, including donkey and horse cart operators, are being asked to pay taxes.

The cases that are being settled long before they reach the courts tell their own story as well. While the economy stagnates and sinks, the members of the regime are living it up in ‘Daimler’ style. At the same time, we are witnessing disturbing signs of control by the regime.

Many ordinary Guyanese have questioned why the elections petition case is not being heard as yet.

Why is Gecom, another organisation that appears to be captured in the regime’s net, resisting efforts to prove the integrity of the last elections?

The state’s control is beginning to stifle Guyanese. The devastating impact on the economy is being felt. This path led us to a deadend before.

It seems to be no different now.


Donald Ramotar

Former President