The other side of this ?integrity? thing
Peter R. Ramsaroop, MBA
The President threw out a bomb by saying “all MPs have two weeks to disclose their assets” that then exploded. I believe he threw the bomb to take the heat off of the latest report that states his government is corrupt and is oversized.
As always, the opposition without thinking through why the President does certain things, fell into the trap and threw back a grenade that he had no authority to issue an ultimatum and now the population believe that the poor ones in the opposition parties are the culprits of corruption.
I am sure none of them have any access to our taxpayers’ dollars as the PPP MPs and Ministers, so really they are refusing to comply on principle that the Integrity Commission is not properly constituted.
NCN has decided to take the fragments from the President’s bomb and turn it into over ten talk shows blaming the opposition.
They then call in the known suspects. By the way we never see a PPP call in programme aired on NCN where we the citizens can ask questions. Ever wonder why?
This is what we call in the military a deflection tactic. The recent reports of corruption at all levels of government are the bigger issue.
Who is stealing our taxpayers dollars? Why millions have disappeared from the Office of the President, millions from NIS and millions from government ministries, millions given away in concessions and tenders of state properties, yet all we are hearing from the President and his supporters is that the opposition is failing to comply?
What really is the issue? A minister’s salary is not extremely large in Guyana. Yet, most of them have been able to build new houses within the last few years.
The purpose of the Integrity Commission is to determine how their assets were acquired. Their income statement will state their salaries and any other sources of money. Their expenditure statement will show how much they are spending a month.
What it does not show is where the wealth came from. For example, a public official built a large house, but because of his position, many of the items in the house such as building materials were donated to him by a contractor who has benefited from work from the government.
Officially, the individual may be able to show a bank loan, but because of the free materials, he is then able to pocket the dollars not spent on the materials.
Another flaw of the Integrity Commission is that it does not ask for close relatives to disclose their assets. One can then claim to sell their house for $100 million to a relative in order to legitimise the fact they now have money, when in fact the money came from other sources.
Also, how many public officials hold foreign passports and have moved assets to overseas locations?
Recently one top Minister sent his wife to deliver her baby in the US. Why was that so? Where are the financial sums coming from to travel and pay for private hospital bills?
Who paid for the delivery since the Minister’s salary in Guyana cannot afford that type of cost and he came from a very poor family?
We are all aware of family members of poor Ministers driving expensive cars and having a large entertainment budget, yet the Integrity Commission does not have any mandate to investigate. So as you listen to the opposition points, take time to digest; we have a major issue here to resolve, so don’t get injured by the bomb fragments. Keep away; it is time to know how to move forward on this issue.
I fully believe that all public officials must declare all assets both foreign and domestic. The issue here is not about the Opposition. Again, none of them has access to public funds, apart from what they get as MPs or their duty free.
What we must focus on are all the public officials that have access to our money, all those who approve tenders to only a select few in the country and then you see them drinking with the contractor they just awarded billions of dollars to.
We as a people must keep focus. Let us not be swayed by the propaganda around us. Let us demand public scrutiny on all that hold public office. One popular contributor to our newspapers, Emile Mervin, called on us to expand to all who may have gained wealth over the last few years.
If one looks at the GRA tax returns, they cannot account for the multimillion dollar building going up. Where is the money coming from, if not the banks? One way some are doing it is by taking an official loan from the Bank, then a few months later it is paid off by someone else.
The reason is if we question the purchase, there is to show that it was a loan that bought the nice building that was put up for tender by the government. Little do we know it was paid off in a few months by another source.
We as citizens must not be fooled anymore. Let us get our voices heard. We want accountability, we want transparency. What we don’t want is propaganda. Until next time “Roop”