The headline in the Chronic caught your Eyewitness’s eye: “2500 free homes”+ repairs!! Really? And here your Eyewitness thought nothing in the world was ‘free”! So he immediately wondered cynically what was behind the move. And of course the first thing that came to his mind was “politics”! Or more likely, “politricks”. After all, that’s what makes the world go ‘round, doesn’t it?
With 2020 bringing in the oil revenues just around the corner, the elections scheduled for that year take on a whole new significance! The party that takes that one is in the driver’s seat for another three decades; bettering the PNC’s first infamous “28 years”. The PNC has to win this one by hook or crook. And the giveaway of 2500 free houses now makes sense – it’s part of the “hook”. If by 2020 the PNC figure they can’t pull off the elections legally, then the “crook” will kick in.
Now note: all the free houses will be located in Region 4 – which isn’t only the largest region population-wise, but has most of the PNC’s supporters! Now, we know from all the previous Household Income and Expenditure Surveys (HIES) that Region 4 is doing waaaay better than ALL the other Regions. So what other reason does the PNC have for ignoring those other Regions other that solidifying its base by vote-buying in the region it can get the biggest bang for the buck?
Note the SPECIFIC areas in Region 4 where the houses will be built. It’s not in areas where the PNC’s support is rock solid, like, say, Buxton; but in marginal areas, where these new home owners can become missionaries for the PNC, to convince fence straddlers to jump in, feet first, into “their party”.
Normally, a cynic like your Eyewitness may’ve shrugged his shoulders, since this kind of politics even got its own name – Tammany Hall politics – in the bastion of democracy, the USA!
But here, in our dear land of Guyana, our polity is ethnically fractured, and politics can get outright scary when “one side” sees “the other” getting all the goodies. When Cabinet posts, Permanent Secretaries, Department Heads, Police Heads, Army Heads, Judiciary heads, GECOM head, etc are all reserved for not only one party, but one race, it’s pretty near impossible to prevent the genie of violence from being let out from its bottle once again.
This is even more likely when the US$30 million, or Gy$6 billion, couldn’t be found to pay off the severance to 5700 fired sugar workers, who’d earned that money through their service.
But the PNC figures that’ll be a ‘slaughter of the lambs”.
…for Integrity in Government
If it’s one job that came with its built-in recipe for failure, it’s the Integrity Commissioner’s. He wants to enlarge the pool of folks who should be submitting annual declarations of their income and assets. He feels the top brass of the GPF and the GRA ought also to be brought under the microscope. Now, your Eyewitness is in full agreement with this position, since he – and the rest of Guyana – know the Police and GRA are, by definition, cesspools of corruption and graft.
But, isn’t the Integrity Commissioner putting the cart before the horse? Shouldn’t he be focusing on the 80 per cent of Public officials who’re already under his watch but couldn’t be bothered to submit their info? This is totally unacceptable!! What’s the purpose of all the sturm and drang about SOCU going after corruption with PPP officials when the mice are literally slurping the milk from under the (cat) Commissioner’s eye??
The law the Integrity Commissioner should ask to be enacted is to drag in Government officials whose houses and other assets are way above their pay grade.
…for rice fraud
So let’s get this straight. A miller tried to pull a “fast one” by shipping PARBOILED rice instead of WHITE rice to Panama to defraud his customer there?
But if parboiled rice is more expensive than WHITE rice, who’s fooling who?