Eyewitness: Playing stupid…


…on gifts

The AFC came out in defence of David Patterson’s venality after he was outed as receiving millions and millions of dollars’ worth of bling as “gifts” from State corporations – all under his Public Infrastructure Ministry. Incestuous? This circling of the wagons was expected, since Patterson was their General Secretary, but more so because birds of a (felonious) feather better stick together, lest they be picked off one after the other by the eagle-eyed PPP and their audit teams!

It took a week for the PNC to weigh in, as the noose tightened and Patterson was hauled in front of the courts on corruption charges. This time, the infraction went waaaay beyond beds and (gold) bands and (most pertinently) there was a smoking gun with the PNC fingerprints all over it.

It was the “Case of the Sole-sourced DHB Design” contract that detailed the purloining of a cool $148 million for a desk-study that couldn’t have cost a quarter of that sum. Turns out the purloining was facilitated by no other than Joseph Harmon. His John Hancock signed off the Cabinet authorisation for that sum to be drawn out of the Treasury!! It’s like having an “Inside Man” in those bank heist movies!!

Harmon and some of his PNC faction turned up in front of the Court, along with some AFC remnants. After Patterson and the DHB General Manager (of the $800,000 gold bracelet fame!) were placed on bail, Harmon pronounced on the matter of gift-giving. “I think there should be a clear policy…I trust in the fullness of time, with the strengthening of our democracy, we are able to have clear guidelines on gifts and to what extent you can receive gifts in public office, and what ought to be done with gifts above a certain level when you leave that public office.”

As we say in Guyana, he was just “playing stupid”. He wants to tell us we need a POLICY to tell ministers that accepting $500,000 gold bands isn’t kosher? We need a policy to say stealing is forbidden? Wasn’t he the man who justified the 50% salary raise to immunise the same Ministers from corruption? It was clear he already knew the (corrupt) measure of the folks the PNC were appointing to high office! Didn’t Patterson’s own AFC leader Raphael Trotman ostentatiously come out with a Code of Conduct for Ministers that pronounced on accepting gifts?

But that was on gifts from outsiders seeking favours. Who woulda thought folks needed to be told that accepting from your own employees gifts bought with taxpayers’ money wasn’t right!
What about the venerable “smell test”? Didn’t those beds and furniture gifts stink to high heavens?

…on the border controversy

Your Eyewitness returned to the issue (above) of PNC’s greed (Ow man, stick to a tie pin and earring bought by employees who want to curry-favour, na!) and on the madman to the west – because these are systemic challenges. Maduro is mad all right – mad with power. He wants to tell the world that fishing boats in the middle of the Atlantic must never veer over an (imaginary) border line – no matter how rough and turbulent the said sea might be!

We’ve heard the owners of the two seized boats complain that our Coast Guards don’t seize Venezuelan fishing boats operating in our waters! Well, your Eyewitness thinks our captains are merely exercising common sense! As the Venezuelans normally do!! We just witnessed a deliberate action taken by the Venezuelan Navy on the orders of Maduro, who wants to intimidate us.
He mistakes the will of the Guyanese people. We may have our differences, but when it comes to our border:

…on audits

The Georgetown Mayor doesn’t want the Local Govt Ministry to conduct a “forensic audit” of the City’s books. He claims only an “extraordinary audit” is permitted.
Wasn’t it he who complained about endemic City Hall financial hanky-panky? Too close to home?