Where was Ralph Ramkarran for the past twenty years?
Please be kind enough to desist from roiling my Sunday breakfast. I came close to “upchucking” when I read the banner headline “Ramkarran calls for action against ‘pervasive’ corruption” (SN June 17). I was caught between disbelief, scorn, and anger. I settled for anger.
Where was the former speaker for the last twenty years? What tied his tongue, curbed his intellect, and interfered with his sense of honour? For a long time I harboured the belief that Mr. Ramkarran was a man of honour; once again, I have to check my own judgment. I had avoided that old saw of “show me yuh company, and ah gun tell yuh who yuh are…” I gave Mr. Ramkarran the benefit of the doubt.
I gave him that benefit when taxpayers’ dollars were used to recruit dirty tricks men to coordinate attacks using the state media against those of us who spoke and wrote of corruption over the years; the same corruption that he never knew of before, and which is now ‘pervasive’ in his eyes. I welcome him to the real word of Guyana; to the national cesspool (I urge him to remember those two words, he should see them soon enough) that Guyana has become under the leadership and activities of his party. Pervasive he calls it, and pervasive it is, even though that very word may not be representative enough. Yes, that is how runaway, rampant, and sickening corruption is now in Guyana, and has been for a long time.
I wonder where was-and is-Mr. Ramkarran when conscientious citizens assailing corrupt practices (“critics” and “opposition media” the government calls them) were vilified on a near continuous basis through a blog spot reported to have origins and operations from right within the Office of the President. I repeat from the Office of the President. Where was Mr. Ramkarran then? And where was he when a senior member of the national fly-by-night procurement outfit did not have the time to spare to respond to questions surrounding a controversial project costing us hundreds of millions. And which is now repeated in this questionable business involving the New GPC and drugs.
Where was Mr. Ramkarran when the General Secretary-now president-said there is only a “little” corruption and that it was a legacy from the PNC? How less pervasive was corruption then? More importantly, how does His Excellency stand now on the corruption issue? Perhaps, it is still miniscule, and still a PNC matter. Perhaps, like the man from the procurement board, Mr. Donald “Do Nothing” Ramotar has more important things to do. He and Mr. Ramkarran and the PPP did not want to hear then-or now-of massive, unimaginable corruption at all levels. Corruption involving narcotics and money laundering; corruption infesting most public institutions; corruption permeating contracts and contractors; corruption in cricket and education and transports and divorces and documents. In terms of anything involving printed material, it is most shameful and revealing that the U.S. Consulate has ceased to accept any piece of paper from Guyanese to support their visa applications. Does this one action not tell the sorry, sordid tale most illuminatingly of a national humiliation rooted in corruption? It does to me; and speaks towards corruption which has cascaded (not trickled down) from the PPP leadership and apparatus into every facet of Guyanese society and life. No one in the PPP wanted to hear it then; it didn’t exist; and by the way just shoot the messengers.
Editor, here is the crux of the matter: The issue is no longer how much-or how pervasive-corruption is in Guyana. That is a given, yesterday’s news. It is about who is not touched and contaminated by this scourge that has devastated land, people, living, and psyche. Who are the men and women of integrity left? How many of them are there around? This is the real story, and speaks towards our ability to man integrity commissions, or recruit ‘untouchables’ who can impact positively the present and the future. It goes towards Mr. Ramkarran’s belated call for action. In effect, the recommending of the equivalent of political hara-kiri, and he knows it. For, as I have said before, if one brick -a single brick- in the corruption apparatus is touched, the whole house will come tumbling down. Very few will be left standing unsoiled. Yes, this is how bad things are; so welcome Brother Ramkarran to your place in the “opposition media” and the vocal minority. By the way, I am still angry, and I want to puke even more.