Tony Vieira's Comments
22 October 2017

Updates!

Receive email notices when a commentary is uploaded. Join our mailing list.

E-Mail Address:

View Article

Ministry Of home affairs: Runnings
(Aired 31 January 2002)

   My last commentary attempted to show that notwithstanding our having a reasonably manned police force, we do not seem to be getting the service and protection from it, as is its mandate.

   To examine the RUNNINGS in our Ministry of Home Affairs we turn to the auditor General's report for the year 1999.

    Very early in the investigation we discover that the Ministry of Home Affairs is no different from any other Ministry in that it is heavily buttered with gross irregularities.

    The salaries book NO. 3022 reflected a balance of 59.8 million dollars as of 31 December 1999 but there was no CASH book. As a result the exact balance of this account could not be determined as the cash book was apparently misplaced!?.

    The salaries bank account was not reconciled since it was established in June 1996. Failure to balance bank accounts can lead to irregularities being perpetrated without detection. This matter was drawn to the attention of the Ministry's functionaries before! Without result.

   82.7 million dollars were spent on benefits and allowances, but of this amount 11.4 million were spent in an unsatisfactory manner no bills, no system of quotations were followed before the purchases were made etc. the Ministerial tender board of the Ministry of Home affairs did not function between January to November 1999, no adequate explanation was ever given.

   The main bank account of the Ministry of Finance 3020 [not the salaries bank account I referred to earlier, this is their MAIN bank account] was overdrawn to the tune of 26.8 million but the cash book balance was 38 million a discrepancy of 11 million dollars.   

   Our Auditor general tells us quote "137.8 Million representing outstanding check orders for goods supplied could not be verified, alternative audit checks were carried out on a sample basis, it was not possible to trace the items to the goods received books and stock records. A special investigation is recommended to determine to what extent value was received in respect of outstanding purchases for 1999 and previous years. I need not say again that nothing bought by the Ministry of Home Affairs that I could find complied with tender board procedures"

   The ministry of home affairs spent 67.3 million dollars on dietary items needless to say that no tender was available for these dietary items, clearly our minister of Home Affairs did not benefit from the use of these dietary items.

    616 of our police officers do not have NIS numbers, ladies and gentlemen these men operate in a high risk environment, how is it possible that they are not covered by NIS.

      Having established the delinquencies of our Ministry of Home Affairs as far as their economic accounting to this nation is concerned, and remembering that we have established, in my previous comment that we physically have enough police ranks to manage our security properly. What then are the problems that prevent them from carrying out their mandate to protect and to serve? Incompetence and Corruption are the problems. It is generally believed that for 150 thousand dollars, in the right hands, gun licenses are available to anyone who wants one. It is common knowledge that vehicular transgressions are settled at the roadside, instead of in the courts where they should be.

     Our Minister of Home Affairs was once convicted for fraud and was jailed, since two separate court martials found him guilty, but his appeal to the Appeal Court was upheld because of deficiencies in the way the Judge advocate in the second court martial worded his decision. In the normal run of things this would be OK, but we are talking about our Minister of Home Affairs here. Our Commissioner of Police [acting] stands charged of another serious offence which has not been discharged in a manner which convinces me that he was innocent of the allegations leveled against him. If either of these two gentlemen would like to challenge me on these statements, I stand prepared to defend them. Civil matters are not as tricky or as strict as criminal matters and I have little doubt that my statements will stand in a court.

    Ladies and gentlemen the two most senior functionaries in our, "protect and serve" establishment stand under a cloud of suspicion. How then can we the people, trust them. Our Minister of Home Affairs was at best a mediocre lawyer, how can he be living in the mansion he now occupies.

    This country has by far the most unexplained extra judicial killings in the Caribbean, so the question arises as to exactly who our police force is serving and protecting.

    For the purpose of this comment let us make a few assumptions, suppose you are an unpopular government escalating the poverty already present in the society, suppose that all of your citizens know that most of your public functionaries are corrupt and incompetent, let us say that the opposition are so fed up that they are prone to protest and marching, that they have threatened to keep up the pressure by public protest, what would you do? What did PAPA DOC in HAITI do? Why, you create a trigger happy group of thugs within the police force who are above the law, to drive the fear of the lord into the population so that they would be afraid to protest and to exercise their democratic right to condemn the wrongdoing going on all around them.

    So who are our police force protecting? They are protecting the corrupt establishment who formed them for the sole purpose of frightening the population into compliance and subjugation. 13 million dollars were spent buying guns and ammunition for the police during 1999. Soon we will know how much was spent in 2000.

    What astonishes me is that the Guyana Human Rights Association has been conspicuously silent on this matter.

    Five armed prisoners recently escaped from our prison leaving one officer dead and one very seriously wounded, where are our deadly police force when faced with 5 armed desperate men? One assumes that they have gone deep underground to investigate the matter but how deep can they go? Is it possible that they can go so deep underground as to be invisible?