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Greed, Genocide ... and now "Green": Corruption and Underdevelopment in Guyana

Greed, Genocide ... and now "Green": Corruption and Underdevelopment in Guyana

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Published by RogerWilliams
As a mostly silent world looks on, and as CARICOM diligently turns a blind eye to the escalating evidence of Guyana’s manufactured social, political and economic crisis, the “torching” of the Ministry of Health just before a pending and potentially cataclysmic audit by the Auditor-General offers new clues as to how degenerate the political climate has become. This is the fifth government building so “destroyed” with all its paperwork and files.

And so, finally, a Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) that begs the outside world to pour more funds into Guyana’s gaping wound … or else the pockets of those who are convinced that they are destined to rule Guyana forever!
As a mostly silent world looks on, and as CARICOM diligently turns a blind eye to the escalating evidence of Guyana’s manufactured social, political and economic crisis, the “torching” of the Ministry of Health just before a pending and potentially cataclysmic audit by the Auditor-General offers new clues as to how degenerate the political climate has become. This is the fifth government building so “destroyed” with all its paperwork and files.

And so, finally, a Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) that begs the outside world to pour more funds into Guyana’s gaping wound … or else the pockets of those who are convinced that they are destined to rule Guyana forever!

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Published by: RogerWilliams on Aug 01, 2009
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Greed, Corruption, Narcotics, Torture, Fire, Race … and now “Green”:Guyana’s potent linkages to UnderdevelopmentJuly 27, 2009; … Updated Feb. 14, 2010Context:
From August 2009 to January 2010, the following is one citizen’s attempt to capture on paper an ongoing nationalconversation as it assumes, daily, an even more ominous tone and shape.Consider again the words of Professor John Davies in 2000 as he recounts the example of tension andconfrontation in Fiji … because these words could easily be yours, or mine, but for an accident of geography andtime:  “…
Finally, on a personal note, I recognise only too well the horrendous generalisations I havemade, the sins of stereotyping to which I have been guilty, my seemingly pathological emphasison identifying that which is ugly.
 I am, however, unapologetic. Political, social, economic and constitutional progressdemands that problems are confronted head on, that real fears, aspirations and motivations are nakedly portrayed, even if this is at the cost of creating some offence
.That said, it must be pointed out that as well as being the home of some of my most frustratingencounters, these islands and their peoples have been the source of the most joyous, movingand enduring of experiences. Though clearly imperfect - like everywhere else - it is nonetheless awonderful country. In the often sordid constitutional exercise, no one should lose sight of this
…”  (John Davies: May 24, 2000: Professor/Head, Department of Economics, Acadia University, NovaScotia, Canada;
 )
Snapshot Summary
:The compelling linkages between underdevelopment and Greed, Corruption, Narcotics, Torture, Fire, & Racism have never been moreevident than in the current Guyana socio-political context.Post 1992-Guyana offers some lessons for citizens that hopefully will never have to be endured again. Now, completely bereft of thepolitical goodwill that followed the 1992-unseating of the PNC’s Desmond Hoyte in national elections, a disillusioned nation turns to “Green” for comfort, parroting a Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) that, the evidence will show, is both adding to and sittingatop a triple crisis of leadership, credibility and social pathos.-The Auditor-General’s Report for 2006 (see its summary in the last two pages of this report) speaks directly to this crisis of credibility, as unprecedented billions of taxpayers' dollars are pillaged from the national coffers before our eyes year afteryear!The fact that the independence of the Auditor-General’s Office/Department has been questioned because of 
, the fact that the acting Auditor-General is NOT a professionally-trained accountant, in additionto an alleged new reporting relationship of same “Audit Office” to/under the Office of the President, and the fact that thefacility to receive and disburse LCDS and climate-change-mitigation funds suddenly appears in same Office of the Presidentrather than, say, in the Bank of Guyana, are
(
this last must be read to be believed 
).-
, Sasenarine Singh’s, and
treatments on the LCDS speak to the crisis in leadership.Altogether, they document an astonishingly inept and self-indulgent grab for US$580 million per year in World Bank carbonfunds, then a calamitous settlement with Norway for the promise of US$50 million/year over 5 years … while the trade-off seems to be the deliberate destruction of a US$300 million a year local mining industry AND the pitting of Guyana’sindigenous population against its other citizens in a scenario of ethnic upheaval (it appears that a part of the deal withNorway demands that some of the richest mining lands be given over to Amerindian populations in addition to existingreservations, with the inevitable peril of forcing 150,000 small and medium-scale miners of all other races out of business;further, miners are going to have to give the Guyana Forestry Commission six month’s notice before they can cut down asingle tree in the process of mining … effectively bringing to an end all local small-and-medium-scale mining).In a seamless moment of national angst, Guyana records its latest encounter with
, the miners’ claims aredismissed as “
regrettable
” by the administration, and a vindictive campaign to hound Bulkan (who has been critical of aspects of forestry and LCDS administration) out her World-Bank appointment begins ( see online letter “
If Janette Bulkan’sMessage is Valueless, the Government should say why and not resort to victimization
;
) .-Kean Gibsons
Cycle of Racial Oppression in Guyana
”, on the other hand, speaks … in its net outworking in the period2003 to 2009 … to the disaster in social policy that a commitment to “
If you are not Indian, you are nobody 
” represents forGuyana and the Caribbean. Her words were prophetic as to the current social pathos.Trade-unionist Lincoln Lewis equates the convert, overt and casual marginalization of 50% of the population because of ethnicity as being tantamount to “economic genocide”.
 
-A New York court accuses drug-kingpin and gun-runner Shaheed Khan of killing more than 200 locals (see “
”), and neither the local Ethnic Relations Commission nor the Guyana Police Force willprovide for citizens the true count and ethnicity of the genocide. Both bodies “ignore” their statutory mandates and “await” instructions to “proceed” with investigations.The Minister of Health is comprehensively implicated with Shaheed Khan by that same court, but this news is followed byswift legislation that all Ministers of Government are exempt from polygraph testing for any purpose. Opposition parties in joint session are forced to prepare the “list of dead” for themselves and to document the torture of ethnic minorities by thelocal security forces in a Dossier sent to several diplomatic missions.-In complete contravention of the intent of the Firearms Act,
are presumably issued to supporters of the post-1992 administration between the period 1992-1999, and neither the local Ethnic Relations Commission nor theGuyana Police Force will provide for citizens the true count and ethnicity of the distribution (which has itself fuelled anenormous crime spree).Both bodies ignore their statutory/constitutional mandates and “await instructions or submissions to proceed” withinvestigations to ascertain if the distributions were indeed made to ethnic enclaves of the population. As we wait, theamount of licences/weapons may have doubled by now!-The “torching” of the Ministry of Health just before a pending and potentially cataclysmic audit by the Auditor-General offersnew clues as to how degenerate the political climate has become. This is latest of many such government buildings in recentyears so “destroyed” with all its paperwork and files. The Minister of Health, one of the last persons to leave the buildingthat fateful night, is however immune from questioning and polygraph testing by that new rule.Latest “investigations” by the Guyana Police Force, before the matter disappears quietly into the night, indicates that “
theidentity of an overseas connection/mastermind is becoming clearer 
”. The matter dies right there!-Is Norway 
via the LCDS, and are miners in Guyana being duped about the Guyana Forestry Commission?“…
It is easy to caricature deforestation as capricious Third World governments colluding with corrupt loggingcompanies,” Jagdeo said in his speech at the launch of the Low Carbon Development Strategy. “And undoubtedly, this issometimes the reality,” he added 
 
. He could have talked about Guyana, where the reality is that the country’s
 
forests are being torn apart by Asian loggers. Whilst the Low Carbon Development Strategy promises new 
 
wealth based on non-polluting activities, more than ninety percent of the country’s existing logging
 
concessions are held by foreign companies under secretive but highly concessionary contracts, and their 
 
operations are spewing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as they systematically degrade the country’sforests.
Jagdeo’s plan is that these loggers will stay; the Low Carbon Development Strategy states that the government “will not stop existing economic activities or threaten the employment of those already working in the forest”…
”  “…
In order to counter the obvious contradictions in this, the government suggests that a “national certification scheme” will be introduced, with the aim of making all forestry operations Forest Stewardship Council compliant in due course
. Local experts say they’ve heard it all before, and point out that even a previous scheme to verify forest sector legality was never implemented properly, allowing fraud to continue. Guyana’s first certified logging operation,Barama, lost its FSC certification in 2007 when it was found to be 
of the FSC’s standards. It  shows no sign of being reinstated. As one observer has concluded “Guyana will continue on its presentrajectory of secret Foreign Direct Investment contracts with a few foreign loggers.” 
” 
“… This presents the Norwegian government with something of a problem. In his speech, Jagdeo said, “I am very  pleased that Norway and Guyana are now working very closely to determine how to generate performance-based compensation for forest climate services which will support the implementation of our Low Carbon Development Strategy.” 
But deforestation in Guyana is currently zero, making further reductions impossible. The one “performance” that the government could undertake in order to reduce emissions from the forest sector – i.e. to stop or reduce commercial logging is precisely what Guyana says it has no intention of doing.
So exactly what “performance” is to be measured is not clear. Perhaps the government intends to stop the traditional rotational swiddenfarming practised by the nation’s indigenous Amerindian communities, which takes place on a cyclical basis over a few tensof thousands of hectares per year…
” 
“… Guyana’s early ventures in REDD-type projects have been shrouded in secrecy.
The terms of the lease issued by the President to the London-based 
for the ecosystem services of the Iwokrama rainforest project in south-western Guyana have never been revealed. The government’s new Memorandum of Understandingwith Norway emphasises the need for “transparency”, but have even Norway’s negotiators have been able to prize the Iwokrama project contract out of the Presidency 
?...” 
A little more detail
:We should reflect on five viewpoints that further place the Auditor General’s report for 2006 in perspective.First, Kean Gibson in her 2002 iconoclastic review “
The Cycle of Racial Oppression in Guyana
” pointed to the strange localphenomenon of “
good thieving
” (“good teifin”) and “
bad thieving
” (“bad teifin”) being used as a racial, even racist, lithmus test todescribe the astonishing rape of national and institutional coffers under the party associated with President Bharat Jagdeo. She also
2
 
coined the phrase “
corruption that is ruinous to the state
” in that regard (See “
” and “
”).
In response, the Guyana government used ethnic and other bias in its tightly controlled Ethnic Relations Commission totry to have the book “
removed from public places
.Secondly, US. State Department Reports on Guyana for several consecutive years point to “corruption at the highest levels of government”.
The Bharat Jagdeo-led government in Guyana dismiss these findings as “false”.
Thirdly, the Commonwealth Adviser Sir Michael Davies points to the systematic destruction of Guyana’s parliament as the highestdecision-making forum in Guyana in “
”. He reiterates his findings inthe report “
”. These reports are hastily removedfrom their online berths at
 and
 respectively. One hopes they will be returned soon (write to
and I’ll show where online copies can be read) .
The Guyana government dismiss Sir Davies’ assertions as “false”
.Fourthly, the UN Independent Expert on Minority Issues, Gay McDougall points to acts of racism that could just as easily have comefrom the story of the deprivation of India’s 300 million Dalits in the report of the UN Human Rights Council: “
Report of the Independent Expert on Minority Issues, Gay McDougall : addendum : mission to Guyana
(28 July to 1 August 2008)”( 
27February 2009, A/HRC/10/11/Add.2, available at:
).
The Bharat-Jagdeo government dismiss these claims as “false”
.Fifthly, as an example of how extreme the degeneracy has become, one can point to two recent developments:1.The pre-trial analysis of the trial of US Lawyer Robert Simels, adequately summarized in “
”, is initially instructive. As mentioned before, evidence led in the trialimplicates at least one Minister in Bharat Jagdeo’s cabinet with Simels’ client, the Guyanese vigilante/assassin ShaheedKhan, who has been responsible for the death of over 200 Guyanese.A post-trial summary of the events to date is found in the Stabroek News article “
”. The following excerpt from this last summarizes the cynicism with which the local pressnow view the political climate: “…
Shaheed ‘Roger’ Khan was one of the most complete criminals in Guyana’s history. He acquired vast  properties, recruited serving police officers, ordered executions, imported and exported cocaine,laundered millions of dollars, possessed specialised intercept equipment and armed himself with a wideassortment of handguns and ammunition.
 
 All of this was possible only because of his speciarelationship with the Guyana Government. He enjoyed immunity from an indulgent administration and compliant law enforcement agencies. Even now, the administration hasmade no attempt to conduct official inquiries nor has the police force attempted to bring Khanand his well-known accomplices to justice
…” Guyana’s Opposition Coalition should petition for full disclosure on an infamous “
” written by same Khan to PresidentJagdeo on August 25, 2008 … parts of which were strangely excluded by the judge in the Simels trial.If the above 2009-reality defies belief, then imagine the emotional distress of former Guyana ambassador to China RonaldAustin as he struggles in 2004 for a sense of professional calm while issuing a haunting appeal to the Diaspora. Inhis article “
”, he puts the toll at over 400, while yet others point to “1,107 Guyanese murdered between 2001 and 2007”.
“… I have been musing on these things for a certain time now. I am a troubled soul. I was fortunate that as a student of history of at least two universities, to be instructed by men who demanded that I look beyond existing reality. Example, put before me is that of the destruction of the Jews. There is no greater lesson in modern or post-modern history than this ugly occurrence. Anyone familiar with this passage inEuropean history would know that the destruction of the Jews was preceded by centuries-long culture of hatred and sustained campaign of demonization. The end result was Dachau and Auschwitz, amongothers. What is most intriguing about this period is that even the great intellectuals and statesmen of theday refused to believe what was happening to the Jews. In the now famous words of Hannah Arendt: "Normal men don't know that everything is possible." Evenas great an intellectual as Raymond Aron, when confronted with the atrocities of the Nazis in the early  period of Hitler's reign, could confess in his memoirs that "it seems to me that no one in the immediatecircumstances suspected the radical character of the anti-semitism that was expressed from 1942 on inthe 'final solution.' How can one believe the unbelievable?" …” 
2.A local importer, Fidelity Investments, is indicted by the then Auditor-General:
3

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