Tony Vieira's Comments
22 October 2017

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Accountability
(Aired 21 June 2001)

   I am not complaining but the PNC have beaten me to the analysis of the 2000 accounts prepared by our fearless and efficient Auditor General.

    This is the way it should be, use facts that are available to the parliament and highlight the corruption and irregularities that cause much of the economic problems we face in this nation. I am and have not been speaking for anyone, but the PNC have taken up the gauntlet and have exposed numerous irregular practices as exposed by our auditor General, in the 2000 audit report. This tells me that the PNC are listening, it also tells me that the PPP are not. Hopefully because the accounts are being looked at so carefully now, by the opposition we may expect some compliance with the law in 2001 and 2002 and perhaps the PPP will moderate their excesses. Our president telling us that no interference with the functions of the auditor general has been attempted by his administration is pure fiction.

    For our auditor general Goolsarran to produce a creditable audit he is supposed to have over 256 staff members, he has less than 150, so President Jagdeo is not telling us the truth, he is tying Goolsarran's hands and thus he is contributing to the inefficiency of the auditor general's office by understaffing them, it is hardly a situation worth boasting about.

 There are several departments of government or corporations owned by the people of this country, which are required by law to present their accounts, in parliament on specific statutory dates, the NIS, GUYWA, GTV and GBC are SOME of them, but none of these entities have presented an audited account in the parliament in some years. Is there something to hide? And does the minister of finance know that by not tabling these accounts in the parliament, on the statutory dates required, he is breaking the law?

     In a previous comment I have outlined for the public that the legal system in this country is controlled by the executive, so waiting on the minister of finance to be investigated by the DPP and charged by the legal system is pure fantasy. Waiting for any government functionary to be charged with misdemeanor in office, is also pure fantasy, so don't waste your time waiting.

     I have this advise for the opposition, especially Stanley Ming, and Jerome Khan, demand that the purely non governmental entities be mandated to produce their audited accounts, you may be shocked at what you find boys. Not producing these accounts is much more of an illegality than producing them with a thousand irregularities.

     Let us sum this up, the PNC have taken the lead and have began to act as an investigative opposition, but the PPP stand on their usual irrelevant rhetoric, and are not paying attention to the necessity of cleaning up the corruption, the incompetence and the numerous breaches to our laws that occur on a daily basis, let me quote a few examples:

     Is everyone satisfied with the situation concerning the Lama matter, we paid a contractor 400 million to build up this conservancy dam so that we can conserve water 4 ft higher than normal, ladies and gentlemen the issue as far as I am concerned is not the breach at cane grove, the issue is that we paid 400 million for a job to be done and the Lama is barely capable of conserving at the old level much less the expected new level of 4 ft higher. AND this contractor continues to be given new contracts. If I were in charge, this contractor would be required to do this entire job over and do what he was supposed to do in the first place. And I would not consider giving him any further contracts until he did. Let's make this simple for those who, like me, like it simple, you hire a contractor to build a fence in your yard, after a few days this fence falls down, in falling it damages your neighbors car, is this contractor only supposed to fix the car? is he not obligated to rebuild your fence, and are you going to give him further work until he fixes it? You would be a real idiot to do that, but that is exactly what our government is doing.

   Is everyone satisfied that our derelict functionaries at the ministry of agriculture and the D&I board have not been disciplined in any form or fashion whatsoever, in view of their total incompetence in this matter? Not me.

   Is everyone satisfied that the Permanent secretary Durga Persaud being surcharged with $500,000 is a satisfactory conclusion to this corrupt matter, which may have implicated the Cabinet itself. Not me.

    Is everyone satisfied that we have a ministry of home affairs which receives a budgetary allocation of nearly 3.8 Billion dollars per year and  cannot protect the society from 5 criminals, acceptable? President Jagdeo has promised the police force an extra 100 million over the next three years, who thought that one up? Habeeb Khan. Our president declaring that he will establish another crack group of men to handle the current crime spree is hardly reassuring, what does this mean my fellow Guyanese, more black clothes police? Maybe this time they will kaki blue shirts.

    If 3,800,000, can't help, how may I ask will 100 million extra do so, to my utter shame, our journalists sat there and cheered at this nonsense.

     Our GDF is getting almost 2.9 Billion dollars from the 2002 budget, the GDF and the ministry of home affairs are costing us 6.6 BILLION dollars a year or 10 percent of our total national budget and our citizens remain unprotected from the criminal element. Can someone please explain this to me? The only thing I SEE happening, is that our minister of home affairs is getting fatter. I even have an unofficial report that the minister sleeps at Eve Leary every night for his protection, what about the rest of us Gajraj? why not open a hotel at Eve Leary and make this simple. When we feel threatened, we can all go there for protection, it would make more money than this imaginary tourist trade we say that we have.

    Recently I visited my divisional commander at Leonora about the revocation of my pistol license, which the courts ruled was wrongly revoked but which the judge, if we can dare to call him that, refused to rule that the weapon must be given back, thereby failing to discharge the rule of law fairly, your crucifixion is next Judge Moore, so stay tuned, I will compile every perverse judgment you have made and tell the public about it. The commander of my division told me and my lawyer that he does not have the authority to give my gun back, notwithstanding the courts ruling, the commander told us that we would have to approach the commissioner and Gajraj, my lawyer pointed out, IN the laws of Guyana, where it is stated clearly there that divisional commanders have the authority to renew my Gun license, given the courts ruling, the commander told us that whatever is written in the law books is irrelevant, and that we should know "how things work in this country".

    I do know how things work, but I refuse to play that $150,000 dollar game for a gun license. Whatever is written in the laws of Guyana, is irrelevant to the commander of my division, those powers have been taken away from him. Can you believe this? Not me.

     Now I am not plugging for the return of my gun, that matter will be before the courts soon, but I am giving you my personal experience of a divisional commander and a Judge who are NOT exercising the statutory powers they are supposed to have, because they are controlled by the executive, who claim that when they empower regional commanders they take bribes... so the black clothes boys are not involved in illegality??? Also does anyone in this country believe that the ministry of Home Affairs is not involved in Illegality? Not me.

    This may just be our problem ladies and gentlemen, the divisional commanders have been stripped of their power to patrol and exercise the rule of law in their divisions, retrain them to do it effectively, and give them the necessary equipment to do it effectively but give them the power to do it, and make them accountable to a cross section of regional citizens in a meaning full way, a regional complaints authorities for example, so that they will be forced to perform. That's how you solve these problems, you can't solve these problems because, you as an Indo Guyanese government are terrified of your own black police force, so you remove all of their powers and everything has to come from the center, so that you alone can get the bribes and control everything to the detriment of your citizens, if some man on the West Coast is being robbed and he calls 911, who is going to come and help him? Black clothes or blue Khaki clothes police from Eve Leary? By the time they arrive at Meta Meer Zorg the man and his whole family are dead and the criminals are back in Georgetown. 

    Ladies and gentlemen, if you can't motivate and empower your own police force, despite the difference in race, it means that you are a very insecure and ineffective government indeed, it also shows clearly that you have no intention whatsoever, of treating all citizens equally under the law, so you have to be afraid of and prepared for racial reprisals, but in doing so you are endangering your own supporters, because to all intents and purposes you are marginalizing and making ineffective the entire rural police force, and that is where the majority of your supporters reside. Are you so completely out of touch with reality that you do not see the political danger in not protecting them effectively? But due to evidence our history provides, it makes no difference to your supporters does it Mr. Jagdeo, you think that they will vote for you no matter what.