EYEWITNESS: Biting the dust…


…with SOCU cases

With all that’s gone before, it wasn’t surprising that another SOCU case bit the dust! And the idiom is so apropos! There they were, the Government crack crime squad SOCU – SPECIAL Organised Crime Unit – supposedly staffed by the best and brightest the Police could round up, and ably guided by a crack (not “cracked”!!) financial crime investigator from Britain – standing before the Magistrate.

In the dock were two ex-Execs of the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) – General Manager Jagnarine Singh, and his deputy, Madanlall Ramraj, who’d been charged by SOCU for “fraud” during their tenure. But more pertinently, the two men were identified by the PNC-led Government as being part of a PPP operation they claimed had “siphoned” off billions and billions from the State Treasury. The top execs were charged for “failing to enter true entries of over $4.2 million into the company’s ledger, knowing that it was contrary to standard operation procedures.”

Can you imagine that? Since when do General Managers and their Assistants make entries in ledgers?? Which in any case was non-existent at the GRDB and nothing in the Company Act demanded such!  It was clear that SOCU was clutching at straws… as with their remaining cases – all tainted with the stench of political vendettas. The original charge stated that $250 million hadn’t been entered in a ledger – with the clear implication that that sum was stolen!!

Their final “clutching” was to ask to produce a Special Superintendent of Police (SSP) as witness – who wasn’t in court and who’d failed to appear before on a number of other occasions.

The court had been led to think the SSP was in possession of a “smoking gun” that would certainly convict the accused. With neither the gun nor the smoke appearing, the Magistrate didn’t mince words. She pronounced curtly: “The court has wasted enough time waiting for the SSP!” The SOCU prosecutor had to close their case – such as it was – and inevitably the defence moved for a no case submission. Which was granted and the SOCU case toppled face down into the dust!

But your Eyewitness has a question. Will the two men whose names were dragged through the mud for almost a year just take this malicious prosecution lying down?? He hopes not!! The PNC must be taught a lesson. While they’re desperate to show their supporters their outlandish claims of PPP corruption will end in jail time for the latter, when they fail as abysmally as they’ve just done, THEY should end up in orange jump suits!!

One can just hear Queen belting out, “Another one bites the dust!! And another one, and another one!!!”

…on suicide statistics

As usual, the Chronic’s headline was over the top: “SUICIDE RATE PLUMMETS”!! They were doing a piece of “World Mental Health Day”…but the headline certainly didn’t do anything for your Eyewitness’ mental equilibrium – much less health!! The statistics that have been bandied around for the last year or so – from a high of 44.2/100,000 in 2012, the rate had dropped to 24.4 in 2016 – were touted again, as the head of the Mental Health Unit probably sprained his shoulder patting his back so vigorously!

Fact of the matter, those numbers have been challenged by groups working on the ground dealing with the scourge – just like those the Police spew quarterly on “serious crimes”. For suicide rates to’ve been almost halved just by the ‘awareness’ programmes that’ve practically become a cottage industry for anyone who wants to get under the spotlight, strains your Eyewitness’ credulity.

If the numbers can hold up, Guyana should be a model for the world in reducing the one million persons globally who take their lives.

…on identity

PM Moses Nagamootoo just jetted off with his wife to another World Tamil Economic Conference”. He’d rejected being branded as “Indian”, but embraces “Tamil”, which is Indian? Why not just “Guyanese”??

Else he might just be seen as pushing Tamil separatism!!


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