Well, well, well! To paraphrase the verse from Samuel: “The beauty of (Microsoft) is slain upon thy high places: how are the mighty fallen!” As you would know, Dear Readers, your Eyewitness isn’t given to pandering to gossip – salacious or otherwise – nor to wallowing in schadenfreude over the misfortunes of the high and mighty. But the fall from grace of Bill Gates demands comment since it holds meaning far beyond his weakness of the flesh.
We were all bedazzled by the wunderkind who dropped out of Harvard to found Microsoft that went on to become one of the biggest corporations on planet earth. And, not so incidentally, making him one of the richest people in the world. His nerdy glasses, vacuous smile, and philanthropic activities cemented his image as a well-meaning do-gooder and blunted the usual “ressentiment” that erupts in most of us at such outrageous success.
Why not me?!
But after his sudden and dramatic divorce from his wife Melinda – who we all knew from being paired in “The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation” that spent billions on HIV, malaria and vaccine research, etc – the dirt started to be spilled. Turned out he wasn’t the loving and caring hand-holding husband that was projected in the news. He’d been using his position in Microsoft to harass young female employees for decades and was even ejected from the Board of Microsoft for those indiscretions! He had a squeeze on the side that predated even his marriage and he insisted on spending one week with her every year – with the acceptance of Melinda!? And imagine we never knew!! That’s the power of money that can buy PR!
But enough of the details – of which your Eyewitness knows we haven’t heard the half of yet! Melinda hasn’t yet revealed why she finally filed for divorce. Maybe it’s for the sake of the Foundation which continues to sustain so many projects in the Third World. The fascinating question to your Eyewitness is “Why Bill?” You’d think that with his mega profile, Bill would’ve been worried that his peccadillos would be revealed, wouldn’t you?
Well, not really. And it’s not just because of his high-priced PR flunkeys – it goes much deeper and it’s from here that Bill’s denouement has relevance for us. You see, Dear Reader, from the beginning of human communities, the powerful (which is now a synonym for “rich”) have felt that the rules that govern societies don’t apply to them! In modern times being “in-Government” – which is also seen as the road to riches – also generates this hauteur!
So, while we wallow in Bill’s excesses, let’s keep our eyes open for the newly-appointed Little Caesars amongst us!! Lechery!
…GWI’s feather bedding
“Feather bedding” is a quaint term that connotes being pampered – sleeping on down mattresses while most folks slept on floors! It entered the labour world to describe situations where more workers are hired than necessary to perform the tasks at hand. Obviously, with more workers than work, most employees would be “throwing back” on the job. And most Guyanese would probably agree, this has always been the default situation with Government employment!
It would appear that GWI has taken the practice to new depths! Imagine that in the five PNC years between 2015 and 2020, the corporation hired over 600 workers with the payroll ballooning from $96 million to over $240 million!! Now, as the Minister pointed out, in the industry, there are standard ratios as to how many workers per customers served – and Guyana is way above the regional standard.
Unfortunately, your Eyewitness believes that the featherbedding at GWI is simply the usual “jobs for the boys” practice of PNC regimes.
Remember Volda’s “I only hire PNC friends”?
…or opening the crime door?
There’s always the suspicion that our criminal justice system is a “revolving door for criminals”. That bail was granted by a City Magistrate to four individuals for gun possession just confirms the suspicions.
Take them on, AG!