The letter published by the Guyana Chronicle, headlined ‘Jagdeo standing on shaky ground’, penned by one, Earl Hamilton, demands a response, if only to underscore the unschooled repetition of untruths, in the face of available facts.
When Hamilton talks about the “the nightly staccato of automatic gunfire that left bodies lying in the city suburbs and its environs” in Guyana, one wonders if the writer found himself lost in the script of one action flick or another. But that is an aside.
Moving on to the contents of Hamilton’s letter, he does admit that he stands to be corrected and I intend to do just that – correct him, if only in an effort to stress the need for the disrespect and discounting Guyanese’s intelligence to be discontinued.
The letter writer says that former president, Bharrat Jagdeo, “presided over what is now recorded as the most traumatic of our modern political history.” Where are the facts to support this allegation?
Hamilton claims that organised crime flourished, but it was the PPP/C that advanced the establishment of the Special Organised Crimes Unit (SOCU) to go after organised crime. Instead, under the Coalition government, SOCU has been hijacked to pursue a witch hunting effort. And the fact to support this lies in the case of directors of the Guyana Rice Development Board – all linked to the PPP/C – being taken to court over an accounting error, something they had no responsibility for.
Hamilton claims too that Guyanese men were “systematically murdered”. But the claim, first peddled by the People’s National Congress (PNC) has been discounted via supposed ‘evidence’ provided by the PNC itself. The list of 400 young men, who were supposedly killed under the former PPP/C government, was made public by the PNC. If one were to go through that list, it is clear that the list includes repetition of names, the names of victims of crime and the names of police officers killed in action. Yet, despite these facts, Hamilton peddles untruths, joining the bandwagon of other ‘two-by-twos’ seeking to make a name for themselves by attacking prominent public officials.
Hamilton says he looks forward to an inquiry of this period – parroting the Coalition government’s promise of an inquiry. But he fails to admit that Jagdeo and the PPP/C have made clear that an inquiry will be welcomed. The only question left to be answered, therefore, is why President Granger hasn’t moved to establish such an inquiry – especially since Commissions of Inquiry seem to be a fetish of this Government.
Hamilton states that “narcotics became the symbol of state affluence,” but again fails to substantiate his claims. If ‘drug money’ was the reason for economic progress under the former PPP/C administration, then we should have seen the crackdown on drug dealers to correspond with the current downturn of the local economy. There is no logic is such a claim.
Reference to major projects, including the Marriott Hotel, and the non-release of the related contract was also mentioned. But, with the Marriot Hotel contract being the least of the lot, Jagdeo has called for the release of all contracts for projects, which the Coalition government had claimed were corrupt. This includes the evaluation report for works related to the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project. Why hasn’t government done so? Is it because the release of the projects’ documents will show up APNU+AFC’s claims of corruption as shallow and empty talk?
Crime rates also get a mention from Hamilton and he claims that statistics point to a decrease in crime. Has he even looked at the statistics for himself from a disaggregated point of view? For example, there have been 39 disorderly type murders, 15 domestic murders, 12 robbery murders, 4 execution murders 8 murders where the circumstances are unknown and 2 murders under the category of ‘others’ at the end of August 2017.
Hamilton’s unfounded assertion that the private sector complained about crime increases, because it had “benefitted in so many ways from tax waivers and tax concessions” from the former PPP/C government is preposterous. First of all, the representatives of the private sector have a legitimate right to express concern about something as major as crime if they are being affected. Secondly, the private sector is globally acknowledged as the engine of economic growth for countries and if the crime rate drives business down, it is a legitimate problem that needs to be addressed.
Allegations about what the government’s “many audits” supposedly prove were raised by Hamilton, who says the audits “tell a story of wholesale theft of every type.” While this is untrue, Hamilton also fails to admit that the 40 audits cost the Guyanese people over $133M and the costs of at least five others remain unknown. He fails to say that the Coalition government ignored the procurement process and handpicked auditors – many of whom are vocal supporters of APNU+AFC – to do these supposed ‘forensic’ audits. He fails to say that the audit reports were published without the responses from the entities being audited, in an attempt to paint a lopsided picture of the actual state of affairs.
Moving on, Hamilton. He says, “I believe in freedom of speech, but not when someone like Jagdeo uses its sacred tenets to mock the sensibilities of this nation on almost a daily basis.” Having established that Hamilton does exactly that – mock the sensibilities of this nation – with his untruths, his comment is ironic.
Furthering his attack against Jagdeo, Hamilton says “in any other jurisdiction of a homogenous type, he (Jagdeo) would have been consigned to the dustbin of discredited national leaders.” Hamilton needs to understand that Guyanese society is diverse; our nation’s peoples are brainy enough to see past his untruths; and many Guyanese have the backbone to call out the peddlers of pathetic unschooled repetitions.