EYEWITNESS: Bonusgate

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President David Granger claims he was the one who made the decision to secrete the US$18 million “signing bonus” in the Bank of Guyana, instead of the constitutionally-mandated Consolidated Funds. Article 216 is pretty unambiguous about the latter imperative: “all revenues or other moneys raised or received by Guyana shall be paid into and form one Consolidated Fund”. Can’t get more explicit than that, can you?

So, what happens now? Do we accept the President’s glib “explanation” that the money was placed in “escrow”?? One dictionary gives a very succinct definition: “An escrow account is a temporary pass through account held by a third party during the process of a transaction between two parties. This is a temporary account as it operates until the completion of a transaction process, which is implemented after all the conditions between the buyer and the seller are settled.”

That’s right! In an escrow account the money isn’t actually transferred to the intended recipient! So the “bonus” transaction between Exxon and the Government isn’t over? What exactly does Guyana have to do so they can collect the money? After giving Exxon the right to three billion barrels of oil (and counting!!) worth at least US$180 billion for just a US$18 million bonus – 0.00001% of the gross!! – we can’t even collect it? Now we know this is nonsense, the President knows it’s nonsense and as Eusi Kwayana once said, “This confounded nonsense must stop!!”

And the way to stop it is to let the law take its course. So, what’s the law when the President is accused of violating the Constitution? Well, Article 94 of the Constitution gives the answer:

“The President may be removed from office if he or she commits any violation of this Constitution or any gross misconduct.” That’s right!! There’s no if ands or buts about it: the President can be removed if we follow the rule of law!!

And how do we go about this removal?? The Constitution also has the answer? The procedure for removal is laid out in excruciating detail in Article 180. A notice will have to be given to the Speaker specifying the President’s gross transgression (and boy this bonus sleight of hand is gross!!). The fly in the ointment will be to get the stipulated signatures of “not less than half of the elected members of the Assembly”.

But this is where creative real-politik comes in. Because of the slavish support of the government’s inhumane policies, the AFC has become dead meat.
Just provide some salve for that conscience!!

…defining “political vulgarity”

The President says the PPP’s MP’s holding up placards during his speech to Parliament was “vulgar”. So was MP Edghill’s refusal to obey the Speakers order to quit speaking and the subsequent actions of the PPP MP’s to form a human shield to prevent the Police from illegally removing Edghill. He advised Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, to improve his party’s “culture”.

He didn’t say “parliamentary culture”, but “culture” writ large. However, your Eyewitness will stick to the former and not get into the quagmire of defining the culture of “PPP people”! Well for obstreperous behaviour of MP’s in the “Mother of Parliament” at Westminster, Rule 46 states: “In case of grave disorder arising in the House the Speaker may, if he thinks it necessary to do so, adjourn the House without putting any question, or suspend the sitting for a time to be named by him.”

So why didn’t the Speaker follow this rule?

…real vulgarity

To label others as “vulgar” is by definition, to assume one is not. But what’s more vulgar than the President’s condoning the persistent and (ultimately) useless lies of his two senior Ministers, Jordan and Trotman?

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