Tony Vieira's Comments
18 October 2017

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GP&L license
(Aired 4 November 2002)

    In my last comment I told you about the scandal regarding this nation and those we have brought here to be our equity partners in GP&L, we own 50% they own 50%, but apparently we have no say whatsoever in how they run our electrical generation or what they charge us for doing so, they have spent no money whatsoever to rectify the numerous problems in the distribution system to the extent that IF they generate 100 megawatts, only 58 megawatts gets to the consumer, but it is the consumer that has to pay for the generation of 100 megawatts. These so called partners also receive a very onerous management fee which even our President Jagdeo has publicly stated is too high.

   Tonight I want to generalize, to sum up some of the things I have disclosed to the public in these commentaries.

   My commentaries of necessity have to examine complex matters and make them simple enough for the common man to understand. So sometimes they are a bit long. I won't apologize for that anymore.

   I have never pretended to be a journalist, in fact I do not consider myself as such, notwithstanding that I personally, almost single-handedly started The Evening News in September 1992, and redefined what television newscasts in this country should be in terms of quality, content and presentation.

   As a manager in the sugar industry for over 27 years I learnt, the hard way, how to communicate complex ideas to the common man.

   Managers learn very quickly that unless you can communicate with your workforce you are in serious trouble. But the ability to do it effectively comes only after years of working side by side with your men and understanding what makes them tick, especially if they are manual workers with very little education.

   I grew up on a sugar estate at Houston; I learnt to swim in the Houston punt trench with the children of the workers. They invited me to their homes to eat with them and I did. I do not think that there was a single family living at Houston 40 years ago, which had children, in whose house I was not completely at home. I don't think that there was a single yard in all of Houston housing scheme at which Bernie and I did not raid the Mango, Guava or Jamoon trees, Bernie was the son of an indo Guyanese worker at Houston, who was my good friend for years. Where are you today Bernie?

  Bernie used to live in the first house at the intersection of the Houston and Rome middle walk trenches. In case anyone wants to check. My family NEVER told me it was wrong to associate with Bernie, that we were better than he was, that we were high class and he was low class, my family just doesn't think that way. And they were right!

   But the problems will not go away and so this onerous task has been left to me, to tell you of all of the wrongs that are being perpetrated on the Guyanese public by unscrupulous people whose only agenda is to fill their own pockets, and to hell with the rest of us. I do it probably to my own detriment since this Government has accused me of every conceivable transgression, from being anti Government to being an apologist for the PNC. But not once have they attempted to take me to court since what I tell you is the truth.

    I am not anti PPP and I am not an apologist for the PNC, in fact I have told you repeatedly that the mess we are in now was created by Mr. Burnham's ridiculous socialist 1980 constitution, which we HAVE to change for there to be progress in the land. This constitution was introduced after a referendum in 1978 which was patently rigged. But when Dr. Jagan went into power in 1992, being a Marxist, he liked the enormous power the 1980 constitution gave him and he never sought to change it. So by accepting it in 1992 he ratified it and entrenched it in our constitutional history. And so despite everything that we think we know about Dr. Jagan he was essentially no different to Burnham.    

   My agenda now, is to divest the enormous power enshrined in the Presidency by this ridiculous constitution, and I don't care if it is Jagdeo or Hoyte, it was crafted for a socialist state, and we must effect changes to it more in keeping with our new stated national principle of a democracy. No more of this hypocrisy of telling the common man that we have a new democracy, when in fact we have a dictatorship. We have democratic elections every 5 years to decide who the dictator will be for the next 5 years, that is all, and it is ludicrous even hilarious, if the results were not so tragic.

   When the US constitution was being crafted over 200 years ago the great Madison who became the 4th President of the US was told that a democracy can only work in small territories with homogenous populations and not in large countries with diverse races, cultures and interests.

    Madison however decided that he can make it work, but that the three branches of government the executive, the legislative and the legal systems must contain enough checks and balances, so that no one person or no one branch of government must ever be able to control the other two and that the rule of law must stand supreme. In this country, I have told you over and over again that, if you win 51 percent of the seats in the parliament you can control all three branches of government and establish what is, to all intents and purposes, a dictatorship.

   The President is above the law, his Ministers and his Party are therefore also above the law, and they can commit any transgression and no one can stop them since the parliament has no real power and the judicial system is impotent, a creature of its political masters.

   If I do a commentary exercising by god given right to tell the truth and I tell you that we have a President who makes promises which he does not keep, that we have a Government who want to break every law in the land with impunity, and not one of them will ever be brought before a judge for misdemeanor in public office, it is the truth, but if they can then conduct a campaign of terror against me and my family and get away with it, then we have no democracy and these cowards whose only agenda is to fill their pockets with money obtained from every conceivably sort of skullduggery, leaving the citizens, including their own supporters, in abject poverty, then they are to all intents and purposes only henchmen for this dictatorship.   

    How deep is this corruption? well Let me give you a concrete example which defines the depth of it, some months ago it became clear to the head of our revenue authority Mr. Edgar Heyligar, that 17 containers consigned to one S. Ahmad in Guyana and sent from one S. Ahmad in Miami, were riddled with numerous transgressions of the customs act. Mr. Heyligar ordered an investigation which was conducted by one Jameel Baksh deputy comptroller of customs, this investigation implicated the head of the customs section Mr. Lambert Marks and he was given 48 hours by Dr. Roger Luncheon to tell this nation and Luncheon what his side of the story was.   

    Whatever else Marks is he is no chicken, so he does something completely unexpected; he calls a press conference and informs the media that if the PPP moves against him he will disclose all of their transgressions for the public to see. Marks apparently knew plenty, and the entire PPP ran for cover taking Jameel Baksh's report with them, the NEXT day after the report no longer posed a threat to him Mr. Marks experienced total amnesia and informed the media that he knew nothing. Shortly thereafter Heyligar outraged at this situation resigned, and in doing so he told us that he will not work amidst such lawlessness and corruption. Whatever else Mr. Heyligar is, he was probably the most honest man in the government.

    But can you imagine ladies and gentlemen the level at which the PPP hierarchy have breached customs regulations, to the extent that they all ran for cover and hid when the head of our customs threatened to disclose all if they dared to fire him?      

    Remember Professor Thomas' report on the HIPC nations, he said that when governments are corrupt from the top to the bottom, they become incapable of sanctioning anyone within their ranks.

   We now need a new head for the Revenue authority, the advertisement for this post should read. Wanted:- head of the Guyana revenue authority, must be comfortable with every conceivable form of illegality, skullduggery and corruption,  must be able to use his position to victimize any citizen identified by the government, must have been convicted of fraud within the past 10 years.