Guyana – The truth means nothing to the politician – By Adam Harris

The truth means nothing to the politician

Adam Harris

Adam Harris

Opinion - commentary -analysisI am convinced that politics is about deception. It is about making one group of people look good and at the same time, criticizing the other. But in doing so the politicians give credence to the adage that the more things change, the more they remain the same.

When the coalition government came into office it did so on the back of a lot of promises. It has been able to keep some of these promises, but others have proven difficult. The result of the failure has led to rampant criticisms.
One of the promises was transparency. The government had promised to make available the numerous contracts signed by the previous government. However, the nation has suddenly found that it cannot be made privy to the Marriott contract. That is something that I cannot understand.          

The former head of the National Industrial Commercial and Investments Limited (NICIL) Winston Brassington, kept telling the reporters who sought the contract that there were confidentiality clauses. That in itself was strange, given that the people’s money was being used to construct the Marriott Hotel. Then came David Granger’s promise to make those contracts available.

Today, Maurice Odle, the new head of NICIL says that there is a confidentiality clause and he details the clause. But to my layman’s mind, if the government spends its money then it is obligated to let the people know what’s in store. I can’t spend Glenn Lall’s money and then tell him that I cannot disclose to him how I spent his money.

There is another issue that politicians thrive on, and this is deception. There was the story about the Ambassador to Kuwait. For starters the Foreign Minister, Carl Greenidge, said that his Ministry did background checks, but because he United States is so large certain things would fall through the investigative cracks. He was being less than honest.

In the United States, if one is to be employed then one must provide a criminal report. And that cannot be forged. Guyana never asked Shamir Ally to provide his criminal report. Further, the Foreign Minister was alerted to this man’s criminal record, but he chose to ignore the warning.

He recently said that he cannot rely on a mere newspaper report. He doesn’t have to. The information including the court docket was provided to him on Thursday. He has all the proof he needs. He also does not need Kaieteur News to supply him with that information.

Gail Teixeira, the Opposition Chief Whip, must also cease her attempt to deceive the populace. In the wake of the report on Shamir Ally, she objected most vehemently to the report that Satyadeow Sawh was rejected by the Venezuelan Government. She also had the gumption to demand an apology.

The late Satyadeow Sawh was reported as being convicted in Canada. Ms Teixeira did not address this issue. She chose to pick on the aspect of the report that suggested that Sawh was rejected by the Venezuelan Government. She was correct when she said that Sawh served as Guyana’s Ambassador to Venezuela for three years. What she did not say was that his recall was based on the fact that the information about his conviction reached Venezuelan ears after his accreditation.

I broke the story of Sawh’s conviction in Canada. I published his federal penitentiary number after the then Foreign Minister Clement Rohee kept denying the conviction. I had given him three weeks to verify the initial report of the conviction but like the ostrich, and like Gail Teixeira today, he refused to see the truth for what it was.

Now Ms Teixeira contends that Sawh did serve as Ambassador to Venezuela. I concur but I also say that Guyana was forced to recall him and that he had a conviction. I now want Ms Teixeira to deny those facts. I will do to her the same thing I did to Rohee more than two decades ago. I will bait her to call me a liar then spring the facts for all to see.

There is another thing that the politicians love to bandy about, and this has to do with the economy. Every day I hear that the economy is in a tailspin. People point to the decline in certain sectors. For example, sugar continues to do badly as do bauxite. These were once the top export earners. Also not performing as expected is the timber sector.

The performance decline did not begin yesterday. For example, Guyana built the Skeldon sugar factory to reduce production costs in the face of the cutback by the European Union. That new factory is still to perform more than a decade after its construction. I expect to hear the coalition government being blamed for the poor performance of the factory.

In the timber sector we know that some foreign companies got huge concessions, both financial and otherwise. One can only imagine the loss to the economy because one particular timber company injected little or nothing for the concessions it received. The two vehicles seized can in no way compensate.

Yet this company, BaiShanLin, is heading to court to challenge the government’s decision to repossess the timber concessions. If I break a contract then I am liable to have the contract revoked. Perhaps BaiShanLin knows something that no one else knows.
What I do know is that the amount of money lost to the country by way of these tax concessions would have had the public servants smiling all the way to the bank. The political opposition would not have been there to stoke fire, although the very opposition hardly gave the public servants a thought.

One individual then contends that the economy has not declined, because gold is doing wonderfully well. I do remember how the previous government hugged the gold industry. Way back when, it actually forsook safety concerns to get Omai Gold Mines back on stream. Perhaps this was why it granted BaiShanLin gold concessions on the North West.

Economic decline is all around. Trinidad, the oil rich country is struggling with economic decline as in Venezuela, where there are reports of hunger. Jamaica is in the same bind with its dollar slipping almost daily. Barbados, too, is having its problems.
That being the case, why is it that the politicians at home want to make out that the coalition government is taking the economy along a downward slope?

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