Commentary: The Forensic Audit Reports … Dr. David Hinds

The Forensic Audit Reports … Dr. David Hinds

March 26, 2016 – Transfer of State resources has serious consequences

Dr. David Hinds

Dr. David Hinds

THE results of the recent Local Government Elections have once again confirmed what we have long known: that Guyanese generally vote along ethnic lines. One may not like Mr. Jagdeo’s politics, but he is the first PPP leader to say openly that the PPP is an East Indian party whose first line of action is to secure its ethnic base. Not even Dr. Jagan was so blunt about it. In fact, given Dr. Jagan’s socialist rhetoric, he could not bring himself to say so even if his political practice reflected that truism.

Jagdeo does not have that burden; he has never been a prisoner of socialist rhetoric. But more importantly, Jagdeo knows from actual practice what the intentional merging of ethnic politics and governance means for consolidation of ethnic support and marginalization and co-option of the ethnic opposition. 

I am contending that Jagdeo and the current PPP took ethnic politics in Guyana to a new level. Their method was no so subtle, but it was methodical. First, they took advantage of a society that understands the danger of ethnic domination, but, led by their leaders, are reluctant to speak openly about its racial consequences.

The PPP, during its 23 years in power, successfully criminalized any discourse about ethnicity and its racial consequences. They got rid of any such discourse in the Indian-Guyanese community by shutting down Ravi Dev and ROAR, and eventually co-opting them.

They employed the full weight of the State on Freddie Kissoon, who was the single Indian public person who exposed their racism. Other Indian Leaders criticized the PPP, but never indicted them for racism. Freddie was, and is, alone in that regard.

They criminalized those of us who pointed to African-Guyanese marginalization, and separated us from the so-called mainstream African-Guyanese leaders. And they eventually co-opted many of those leaders, both at the national and local levels, with inducements of material benefits. This writer and others were very often called racists by African-Guyanese leaders who accommodated themselves to the PPP regime in exchange for gifts and limited privileges.

The PPP played to what they saw as the weaknesses of the African-Guyanese communities. They used State resources to make entertainment a way of life in that community, and bribed selected individuals and groups.

When one adds the age-old phenomenon of fear to the mix, they, in the end, succeeded in depoliticizing the community and silencing any widespread protest.

I say all of the above to get to a short discussion of the reports of the forensic audits that hit the media this past week. The revelations are startling. As I have argued before, the PPP’s action represents a crime against all Guyanese; but I want to take this discussion to another level. Yes, the PPP gave away State resources to their friends and members; that is crystal clear. But context matters.

In what context were these resources transferred? What was the mindset that informed these transfers? What was the expected outcome of these wholesale transfers of land, potential and actual wealth and broadcast licences?

The PPP leaders may be challenged in many ways, but they are rational people; there had to be rational reasons behind what they did. Such transfers, if left untouched, would lead to a permanent imbalance that would retard development and the advance of joint nationhood in Guyana.

None of our other leaders, from Burnham to Hoyte to Jagan, engaged in such wholesale transfer of State resources into the hands of a small private clique. I believe that these leaders understood the consequences of such transfer. And I believe that Mr. Jagdeo and his leadership understand those consequences, yet they went ahead with the transfers.

As the forensic audit reports are showing, the overwhelming majority of those resources were transferred to the elite of one ethnic group. Although the masses of that group do not benefit directly from this unlawful concentration of resources, in our ethnically divided environment, the symbolism has far-reaching consequences for ethnic balance.

So we now have a Guyana in which ownership of common resources is disproportionately in the hands of one group. That should not be allowed to stand. I am opposed to the rape of State resources from a social-class standpoint. Denying the poor while enriching the rich is wrong and ugly. I oppose those actions from a purely political standpoint. Governments should not facilitate corruption; it’s undemocratic. I am opposed to using government for unfair ethnic distribution of State resources. It is ugly, dangerous and morally wrong.

Guyanese and poor people of all races have a duty to press this government to recover those resources, and to put measures in place to ensure that what the PPP did does not ever happen again.

(More of Dr. Hinds ‘writings and commentaries can be found on his YouTube Channel Hinds’ Sight: Dr. David Hinds’ Guyana-Caribbean Politics and on his website http://www.guyanacaribbeanpolitics.com. Send comments to dhinds6106@aol.com)

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Comments

  • Albert  On March 28, 2016 at 2:28 pm

    Dr Hinds: “I am opposed to State resources from a social-class standpoint. Denying the poor while enriching the rich is wrong and ugly. I oppose those actions from a purely political standpoint. Governments should not facilitate corruption; it’s undemocratic. I am opposed to using government for unfair ethnic distribution of State resources. It is ugly, dangerous and morally wrong.”

    This goes to a point I made briefly earlier. How does a democratic government, with inadequate laws, recover these stolen resources? I am no political scientist but from observation it appear Granger is too much of a “gentleman” politician to get down in the dirty job of recovering those resources and probably punishing the offenders. This may require creative political thinking for which I think Granger is still an amateur.

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