Tony Vieira's Comments
22 October 2017

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Lumumba
(Aired 2 September 2001)

    These commentaries consume an enormous amount of my time, I have to research them, I have to gather the raw data, I have to examine all aspects of the situation I am commenting on and deliver a commentary that is accurate, fair and not libellous. I would sometimes examine eight or nine current issues before I decide that one is capable of being given special attention.

    A commentator would do these commentaries for any one of three reasons 1. He wants a reputation and or fame. 2. He is being well paid for doing so.

3. His commentary is exciting the outrage he expects and is producing some kind of reaction.

  I am by nature a very private person; I go out little, I spend most of my spare time in my garden, I do not need any further fame or reputation and

  I certainly do not get paid for these commentaries.

  So I am doing it to alert the public to certain situations which are patently unfair, incompetent or corrupt and which can ultimately affect them.   

  Two weeks ago I did a commentary on Mr. BK. Tiwarie and not only have we not been given an explanation by either Mr. Tiwarie or the Government whose contempt for the Guyanese people seem to be boundless, in that they do not see the need to account to us for their actions when questioned.

   I am also yet to see the reaction or the outrage from the public which I felt when I first understood the situation that related to B.K International being given unfair privileges which the rest of us do not enjoy. The GP&L situation I outlined for you last week is also another example of no one in Government reacting or caring about something which is totally unacceptable and patently unfair to its people.

   The complacency of the Guyanese public in these matters seem to stem from the fact that they perceive that their voice can make no difference to the functioning of the system of their government, this is a serious incitement against a country in which we talk about our new won democracy with such fervour and pride, of course If the Guyanese people are so complacent that they cannot be outraged by these situations, then I am clearly wasting my time. And I should stop.

   In a democracy, it is almost too obvious to state, that we, the people, have to raise our voices whenever we see a sequence of events that impacts negatively on us, and we must demand that someone account to us for his/her/ their actions. This is the price of democracy; we have to demand it daily. And remind those who believe that the democratic process begins and ends with an election, that it is not so, that the process continues all during the 5 years until the next election, and that we are watching them closely.

   In 2000 the president of this country initiated a series of conferences with the youth of this country. These conferences were apparently arranged by Mr. Ondiga Lamumba, so far all is as it should be, maybe even laudable.

    The conferences apparently went off well in regions 1-2-3-5-6-7-9-10, inexplicably, according to the document I will outline for you in a moment, there were no monies allocated for youth conferences in regions 4 and 8 where more than 40% of our youths reside.

     On September 21, 2000 Mr. Doorga Persaud Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Labour wrote the head of the President secretariat Dr. Roger Luncheon claiming that G$11,640,000 advanced to Mr. Lumumba to purchase the necessary merchandise to run the Youth Conferences were still outstanding to the ministry of labour. Money for Food drinks, pizza, groceries, rental to several hotels, eating houses etc.

    First of all I question the legality anyone taking, or giving permission to take, the Ministry of Labour's funds to finance these conferences, I also question the legality of simply handing Mr. Lumumba nearly 12 million dollars in seven checks [and I have the check numbers] simply to go on a shopping spree, the fact that at the time PS Persaud writes Dr. Luncheon, Mr. Lumumba had not accounted for the full 11 million and had 2.5 million unaccounted for is also compelling, I would hope that he has accounted for it by now. 

   On PS Doorga Persaud's letter to Dr. Luncheon, there is a hand-written note, presumably from the good doctor himself, to take our lottery money and pay the 11 million due the Ministry of Labour.   

    Fellow Guyanese our government officials can't be playing games with the people's money in this manner, shuffling it from ministry to ministry between the office of the president and the lottery fund, have none of these people heard of the stone scam? It was essentially the same thing, but you see the IDB are looking after our affairs far more diligently than those we have elected to do so for us. Surely if the Auditor General was doing his job competently and fearlessly he would, and certainly should have, questioned this strange sequence of events.

     In the United Kingdom where the institutions of government are still functioning as they should, and on which our system of government is based, no self respecting Permanent Secretary would have allowed himself to be placed in the position Mr. Doorga Persaud found himself in, since he would have refused to release the funds in the first place. 

   Finally, and I could be wrong, I have this question, why were the youths of regions 4 and 8 excluded from these conferences/fetes? Monies were certainly not allocated for them.