Greed, Corruption, Narcotics, Torture, Fire, Race … and now “Green”: Guyana’s potent linkages to Underdevelopment July 27, 2009;

… Updated Feb. 14, 2010 Context: From August 2009 to January 2010, the following is one citizen’s attempt to capture on paper an ongoing national conversation 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 and confrontation in Fiji … because these words could easily be yours, or mine, but for an accident of geography and time: “… Finally, on a personal note, I recognise only too well the horrendous generalisations I have made, the sins of stereotyping to which I have been guilty, my seemingly pathological emphasis on identifying that which is ugly. I am, however, unapologetic. Political, social, economic and constitutional progress demands 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 frustrating encounters, these islands and their peoples have been the source of the most joyous, moving and enduring of experiences. Though clearly imperfect - like everywhere else - it is nonetheless a wonderful 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, Nova Scotia, Canada; http://maorinews.com/karere/fiji/davies.htm ) Snapshot Summary: The compelling linkages between underdevelopment and Greed, Corruption, Narcotics, Torture, Fire, & Racism have never been more evident 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 the political 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 sitting atop 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 after year! The fact that the independence of the Auditor-General’s Office/Department has been questioned because of manifest conflict-of-interest issues, the fact that the acting Auditor-General is NOT a professionally-trained accountant, in addition to an alleged new reporting relationship of same “Audit Office” to/under the Office of the President, and the fact that the facility to receive and disburse LCDS and climate-change-mitigation funds suddenly appears in same Office of the President rather than, say, in the Bank of Guyana, are continuing causes for concern (this last must be read to be believed). Janette Bulkan’s, Sasenarine Singh’s, and Patrick Pereira’s 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 carbon funds, 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’s indigenous population against its other citizens in a scenario of ethnic upheaval (it appears that a part of the deal with Norway demands that some of the richest mining lands be given over to Amerindian populations in addition to existing reservations, 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 a single 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 eco-imperialism, the miners’ claims are dismissed 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’s Message is Valueless, the Government should say why and not resort to victimization; http://www.stabroeknews.com/2010/letters/01/22/if-janette-bulkan%e2%80%99s-message-is-valuelessthe-government-should-say-why-and-not-resort-to-victimization/ ) . Kean Gibson’s “Cycle of Racial Oppression in Guyana”, on the other hand, speaks … in its net outworking in the period 2003 to 2009 … to the disaster in social policy that a commitment to “If you are not Indian, you are nobody” represents for Guyana 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”.

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A New York court accuses drug-kingpin and gun-runner Shaheed Khan of killing more than 200 locals (see “Genocide in Guyana … The Tip of the Iceberg?”), and neither the local Ethnic Relations Commission nor the Guyana Police Force will provide 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 by swift 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 the local security forces in a Dossier sent to several diplomatic missions.

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In complete contravention of the intent of the Firearms Act, 30,012 gun licences are presumably issued to supporters of the post-1992 administration between the period 1992-1999, and neither the local Ethnic Relations Commission nor the Guyana Police Force will provide for citizens the true count and ethnicity of the distribution (which has itself fuelled an enormous crime spree). Both bodies ignore their statutory/constitutional mandates and “await instructions or submissions to proceed” with investigations to ascertain if the distributions were indeed made to ethnic enclaves of the population. As we wait, the amount of licences/weapons may have doubled by now!

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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 latest of many such government buildings in recent years so “destroyed” with all its paperwork and files. The Minister of Health, one of the last persons to leave the building that 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 “the identity of an overseas connection/mastermind is becoming clearer”. The matter dies right there!

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Is Norway being duped 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 logging companies,” Jagdeo said in his speech at the launch of the Low Carbon Development Strategy. “And undoubtedly, this is sometimes 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’s forests. 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 consistently in breach of the FSC’s standards. It shows no sign of being reinstated. As one observer has concluded “Guyana will continue on its present trajectory 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 swidden farming practised by the nation’s indigenous Amerindian communities, which takes place on a cyclical basis over a few tens of 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 Canopy Capital for the ecosystem services of the Iwokrama rainforest project in south-western Guyana have never been revealed. The government’s new Memorandum of Understanding with 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 local phenomenon of “good thieving” (“good teifin”) and “bad thieving” (“bad teifin”) being used as a racial, even racist, lithmus test to describe the astonishing rape of national and institutional coffers under the party associated with President Bharat Jagdeo. She also

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coined the phrase “corruption that is ruinous to the state” in that regard (See “The Marginalization of Persons of African Origin in Guyana” and “The Case for Scholarship in Kean Gibson’s Book”). In response, the Guyana government used ethnic and other bias in its tightly controlled Ethnic Relations Commission to try 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 highest decision-making forum in Guyana in “Needs Assessment of the Guyana National Assembly 2005”. He reiterates his findings in the report “Addendum to the Needs assessment of the Guyana National Assembly 2005”. These reports are hastily removed from their online berths at http://www.parliament.gov.gy/sirdaviesreport.pdf and http://www.sdnp.org.gy/parliament/sirdavies_addendum.pdf respectively. One hopes they will be returned soon (write to RogerWilli@Yahoo.com 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 come from 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)”(27 February 2009, A/HRC/10/11/Add.2, available at: http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/49bfa6ec2.html ). 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 “Lawyer plotted to kill and bribe witnesses in drug goon's trial – feds”, is initially instructive. As mentioned before, evidence led in the trial implicates at least one Minister in Bharat Jagdeo’s cabinet with Simels’ client, the Guyanese vigilante/assassin Shaheed Khan, 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 “Shaheed ‘Roger’ Khan: Drugs, Dirty money and the Death Squad”. The following excerpt from this last summarizes the cynicism with which the local press now 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 wide assortment of handguns and ammunition. All of this was possible only because of his special relationship with the Guyana Government. He enjoyed immunity from an indulgent administration and compliant law enforcement agencies. Even now, the administration has made no attempt to conduct official inquiries nor has the police force attempted to bring Khan and his well-known accomplices to justice…” Guyana’s Opposition Coalition should petition for full disclosure on an infamous “letter” written by same Khan to President Jagdeo 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 Ronald Austin as he struggles in 2004 for a sense of professional calm while issuing a haunting appeal to the Diaspora. In his article “Genocide”, 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 in European 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, among others. What is most intriguing about this period is that even the great intellectuals and statesmen of the day 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." Even as 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 immediate circumstances suspected the radical character of the anti-semitism that was expressed from 1942 on in the 'final solution.' How can one believe the unbelievable?" …” 2. A local importer, Fidelity Investments, is indicted by the then Auditor-General:

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“… It was held by the Auditor General’s team that customs duties totalling $321.5M were allegedly evaded by Fidelity and that the requisite fines should be paid by it. Further, the probe team maintained that Fidelity submitted false documents during the investigations, and therefore recommended that the relevant charges be instituted against the importer for producing false documents to the task force with the intention of misleading it….” ; (see “Fidelity Farce”; Editorial, May 25th 2009; http://www.stabroeknews.com/2009/editorial/05/25/fidelity-farce/ … for a summary of the issues) President Jagdeo’s response is to confound the entire legal community, and usurp the function of the court through the side-stepping of essential procedure, insisting that the government will in fact target 12 Customs Officers who were originally induced by Fidelity, and not Fidelity itself. He ignores the entreaty of AFC-Leader Raphael Trotman that “… Plea bargains are subject to the approval of the court and are not deals struck before a guilty plea is accepted …” Fidelity is allowed plea-bargain outside the court-system, while the accused Customs Officers are indicted within the system. How significant is this rejection of the courts, of the rule of law? Everyone appears to recognize the fallout … except Mr. Jagdeo and his administration: “… Otherwise, this investigation choreographed by President Jagdeo on April 7th last year will implode into nothingness and add to the image of the country as one lacking in transparency and riddled with corruption. It must be remembered that it was the team headed by the Auditor General which was entrusted by President Jagdeo with the task of deciding what had transpired in the polar beer scam and to present the basis for an ensuing prosecution. Whether or not the Auditor General engaged in overreach by recommending charges against not only the customs officers but Fidelity is beside the point. What the Auditor General presented was a credible enough depiction of what transpired to warrant charges against the main players who were embroiled in a conspiracy to defraud the Treasury….” (see “Fidelity Farce”; Editorial, May 25th 2009; http://www.stabroeknews.com/2009/editorial/05/25/fidelity-farce/ ) This would fuel the most recent comment by the co-President of the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) in the Stabroek News of August 11, 2009: “… Mike McCormack said that there appear to be two categories of crime in the country, one prosecuted in the normal way and a second, which is beyond the scope of law and order officials. McCormack’s comments were made in the context of the allegations being raised in the US courts about murders in the country that have gone unsolved. “There appears to be no interest in how certain people die, or instance of massive fraud or serious drugs offences. It is almost as if there are two kinds of citizens, those who the law applies to and those who are above it”, McCormack stated. Further, he said that it is this glimpse of parallel societies which is the most frightening revelation of the New York trial involving Khan’s former attorney (Robert) Simels …” Relative to this last sentence, and the stunning ethnic cum racial dimension that each issue above ultimately resolves itself into, it should not be lost on readers that it was this selfsame phenomenon that Kean Gibson was perhaps trying to delineate in “The Cycle of Racial Oppression in Guyana” and its sequel “Sacred Duty: Hinduism and Violence in Guyana”. There, she decried the prevailing culture of “If you are not Indian, you are nobody” and utterly denounced it as a valid social, or national, policy in multi-ethnic Guyana … albeit in her usual blunt and stunningly direct way. At another, more academic and abstract level, we had attempted to address these and other developments in “The Case for Scholarship in Kean Gibson’s Book”. (Guyanese politician) Ravi Dev’s peculiar perspective on Blacks in Guyana being considered “outcastes” by the Indo-Guyanese “jati” (nation) caught our attention then, but also noticeable from that piece would be the utter transformation that commentator Frederick Kissoon has since undergone. It is ironic that some of the flak that he initially levelled at Gibson is now aimed at him! It remains to be said that Ravi Dev’s destiny, and Kissoon’s latest insertion in the “elected dictatorship” and “ethnic dilemma” debate can be found in the latter’s Kaieteur News article “A Man and His Dilemmas”. It is also worth mentioning here that one of the principals at Fidelity Investments, working under the subsidiary name Guyflag Insurance, was also allegedly involved in a scheme to apparently defraud an insurance company of $400 Million in 2005. Due to maddening administrative delays in the tightly controlled court system, nothing has yet came of that situation … but that’s irrelevant, isn’t it? Readers would get an idea of what was in store for that evolving fiasco at “New Objections Result in GuyFlag Trial Adjournment”, and see the case die a “predictable” death in the online article “GuyFlag Trial Gets Indefinite Adjournment”.

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And if that were not enough for the enduring soap-opera that doing business in Guyana has become, readers are encouraged to consider that no-one really seems to know what the latest position is on this phoenix. World-renown Guyanese economist Dr. Clive Thomas had (in 2004) spoken of/to the “criminalization of the state” under the tenure of a Bharat-Jagdeo-led administration that has literally squandered 17 years of local and international goodwill: “….... Guyana needs intervention at the macro/national, intermediate/meso and the micro/local levels, Thomas said. He listed, "the superficiality of national unity, the dynamics of racial arithmetic and insecurity and the unrelenting rise of both benign and militant extremism." Guyana's predicament, he said, was compounded by the depth, scale, complexity and sheer persistence of economic misery and the growth of the narco-economy. He added that the country's entrenched totalitarianism in a multiracial society combined with territorial threats and the criminalisation of the state all played their part. Thomas asserted that Guyana's political and social crisis could not be solved without the intervention of the international community in the broader sense of creating the foundation for some resolution. "Just as our development problems are so acute that we cannot solve them without the support of the regional and international community, similarly, our political crisis requires this type of intervention." Asked to expand on the term `structural deadlock' during the debate that followed his remarks, Thomas alluded to the government's initial objections to the symposium and their attempts to review presenters' papers prior to actual presentation....”(Source: Dr. Clive Thomas: "International Conference on Governance, Conflict Analysis and Conflict Resolution," Georgetown, Guyana February 2004) The Bharat-Jagdeo government had dismissed Thomas’ claims as “false”. Is the lawlessness limited to local activity? Perhaps the latest instalment in the tragedy outlined above will be another “fire” that will be harder to put out. Following the antiCaricom rhetoric that followed the European Partnership Agreement (EPA), and the ruling by the Caribbean court of Justice (CCJ) against Guyana in the TCL/CET fiasco, we have the astonishing development of the possibility of a refusal by Guyana’s government (not it’s people, mind you) to reinstate the CET on extra-regional imports. The implications for the rule of law, while not unexpected in the Guyana case given the evidence of executive lawlessness below, are enormous given the regional implications. Guyana’s government seems to have forgotten that there may be repercussions for its exports as well if they fly in the face of the CCJ. Bottom line: the Government of Guyana broke the law … violated the provisions of Article 82 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (RTC) … on behalf of a few of its business friends, and now refuses to obey the legal judgement by the CCJ …for the sake of a few of its friends. They will doubtless argue with some stubbornness that the US$1 or US$2 difference in price of a sack of cement “justifies this move” and Guyana’s lobby in COTED for a waiver of the CET … but some commentators have argued with similar diligence that “…it may only be of … significance that one of the major financial beneficiaries of this waiver would be Guyflag, importer of Venezuelan cement whose principals include former ministers Bibi Shadick and Sasenarine Kowlessar …”. The significance of the Guyflag/Fidelity connection has already been made clear above. Attorney-General Ramson’s argument of a huge “construction boom” in Guyana … outside of the erection of many huge empty edifices by Guyana’s nouveau-riche … is best answered by Balwant Persaud’s letter “Where is the progress?” In its unilateral action completely suspending the CET on cement, the government of Guyana displayed a stunning shortage of memory about its own use of diplomatic and negotiation processes in fulfilling the requirements of the rule of law relative to the RTC. But then, we should remember, the previous issue had to do with protecting the ethno-centred rice industry in Guyana. Lincoln Lewis assesses the identical phenomenon for the case of sugar (as against bauxite) on page 4 of this treatment! However interpreted, this latest arrogance relative to the CCJ-ruling takes the issue to another, more compelling level that could yet have repercussions for Guyana’s vital exports if retaliatory action is taken. So how do we therefore live? Of the hundreds of comment-threads on recent developments in Guyana, there is a growing sense … both among obvious Jagdeosupporters and the usually politically reticent … that nothing about the status quo can really be defended any more, and that the hopes and dreams of a young nation have been sacrificed by the best minds in Bharat Jagdeo’s party on the altar of … common and loutish thievery, racism and fascism. UN’s Gay MDougal has summarized that same status quo in the bland syntax of diplomatic communication, and we must now search our hearts as a nation to determine if she is right or wrong. On page 14 of her report, one finds these brutal sentences:

“… Many consider that economic policies have been formulated to benefit the Indian population at the expense of Afro-Guyanese jobs and income. Union representatives noted a trend of State support for Indian-dominated industries such as the sugar industry, while allowing the predominantly Afro-Guyanese bauxite mining industry to decline and be privatized resulting in the loss of thousands of Afro-Guyanese jobs. One union representative described a “policy to economically destroy the African people”. Another commentator stated: “Now all the public entities are being privatized, such as banks. They are going to PPP people and supporters with ‘sweetheart deals’. Previously they were owned by the people. By and large they don’t employ Afro-Guyanese now.”

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37. Afro-Guyanese expressed frustration at being unable to obtain employment in Indian owned or managed firms due to their African names, their colour, or their addresses in Afro-Guyanese villages. Those with Indian surnames might be invited for interview but rejected when they are seen to be African or of mixed heritage. Discrimination is said to be manifested in negative stereotyping of Afro-Guyanese as lazy, dishonest, dirty or criminal. Afro-Guyanese experience difficulty accessing bank loans and credit, due to perceptions that they do not repay loans. Without access to credit they are unable to establish small businesses. 38. The scarcity of employment opportunities for women, particularly from Afro-Guyanese and indigenous communities, is a major concern. Women, both young and older, are being forced by poverty into crime, drug use, trafficking, and prostitution. Afro-Guyanese women spoke of the failure of many men within their community to fulfil family responsibilities. High numbers of single mothers subsequently face an extremely heavy burden of care. Child neglect is a problem within Afro-Guyanese communities. 39. Serious allegations were raised of discrimination and corruption in government procurement of goods, services and public works contracts. There is a widely held belief that government contracts are systematically awarded to companies supporting the Government, Indo-Guyanese companies, and those in which government officials have personal interests.17 In lieu of a functioning and independent public procurement commission, the tender process is the sole responsibility of the Ministry of Finance. Sources indicated to the independent expert that it lacks adequate regulation, accountability and transparency, leaving it open to substantial abuse….”
Such claims would, of course, still seem ridiculous were it not backed up by as weighty a personage in the Trade Union Movement as Lincoln Lewis, who has, it seems, finally decided to put a framework and structure on his concept (articulated since 2004) of “economic genocide” against an entire segment of the Guyanese population. In recent times he has attempted this in two segments, each illustrating that a socio-political edifice in Guyana is now being held up with rotting threads of propaganda tape … both at home and abroad. At home, Lewis has addressed (in commendably neutral, yet politically explosive) terms the ethnic dimension of an economic crisis that Gay McDougal may have struggled to place in language we can all understand. Lewis has no such difficulty in the innocently captioned Kaieteur News article of September 12, 2009: “The Same Principle That is Embraced for Sugar Must Also be Embraced for Bauxite”. The letter above is as instructive an indictment of Bharat Jagdeo, and calculatedly racist politics and economics, as one would find anywhere in the Caribbean and beyond … and yet CARICOM, or its appointed Head-of-State for governance issues, says nothing. The following excerpt from Lewis’ letter sums it all up in chilling matter-of-factness:

“… A couple of things need to be further said. It was the bauxite workers who fought and received from the PNC administration tax free pay for work performed on Saturdays and Sundays. This benefit was given to the sugar workers, in as much as they did not struggle for it. It was a position I embraced in the spirit of brotherhood, solidarity and improving the working conditions for all workers. When the PPP came to power this benefit was taken away from the bauxite workers and left only with the sugar workers. GAWU is aware of this but never once raised its voice in solidarity with the bauxite workers who protested against the violation. My contention has always been the treatment of the bauxite industry vis a vis the sugar industry by the PPP administration. In the Hoyte Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) provisions were made for the privatization of both bauxite and sugar. The PPP on coming to office embraced the privatization of bauxite but refused to put safety net in place to deal with the resulting social and economic consequences, while at the same time it ignored the recommendation of SAP to deal with sugar. The government is on record saying that they will not accept the recommendation to close the Demerara Estates and more so privatizing of GuySuCo. In 1992 the record will show, in the bauxite industry, Linmine and Bermine produced 483,000 tonnes of bauxite and all was sold. When the PPP took office bauxite never had a problem with marketing. It was the PPP who colluded with Minproc to reduce Linmine’s production by half. The bauxite unions and the Guyana Trades Union Congress advised the government that such an act would hamper the industry’s reliability with its existing international market since it will be deemed an unreliable supplier. With the imposed reduction of production the industry could not supply their exiting markets so

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buyers went elsewhere which caused the industry to lose its market shares and performance declined. GAWU should go back and check GuySuCo Annual Statement, come clean and say to the society the year and the amount of extra money GuySuCo injected to save the Sugar Trading Enterprise Pension Fund. The extra money given to the pension fund had to be a political decision since GuySuCo is a state-owned entity. It is important that note be taken of GAWU’s argument that the current sugar modernization is viable and that allows the government to secure funding, but at the same time argue and that “the socioeconomic reality is that the sugar industry is still the nation’s lifeblood. To cut if off, to engender its failure, is to endanger the very economy of Guyana at this time.” The figures will show that in 2008 GuySuCo Annual Report recorded losses of $4.08 billion, the second highest in the last decade, following on 2003, which recorded a loss of $4.3 billion; and a projected loss of $9 billion from October 1. I acknowledge GAWU’s argument that closing the industry will create serious socio-economic consequences but the same argument must be applied by the government to the bauxite industry and communities. The modernization of the sugar industry cost millions of US dollars, with Skeldon costing US$110 million. The largest sum of money that the state bauxite industry has requested for modernization was less than US$20 million and this government rather than work in collaboration with management to realise the set objectives, chose to put workers on the breadline, give away Linmine for US$1.00, which the new owners sold within three years for US $46 million. These are serious issues and everyone ought to be concerned when a proud people, through no fault of theirs, have been made political football and reduced to beggars in as much as they have the technical skills to do better. My argument has never been against modernization that will create jobs. It has always been that the same principle that is embraced for sugar must also be embraced for bauxite. What we have not seen is the acquisition of funds to modernize a state bauxite industry, dominated by an African workforce that would have created and maintained jobs for the communities, and moreso protect a Pension Fund for those workers who have spent their lives in that industry. Similar discriminatory treatment has been executed on other institutions and communities in the African economy by this government. There has been no recognition, respect or concerns for the socio-economic consequences for this section of society, in as much as there continues to be public outcries and proposals made to the government to create jobs, engage in retraining and protect pension plan. This deliberate and continuous policy to destroy the African economy has caused me to say the government is engaged in economic genocide. My concerns find support in the UN Convention which defines Genocide as “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.” According to this Convention and given the preponderance of evidence the government would be guilty of, “deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part” …”
This last sentence above has enormous implications for, say, Kean Gibson’s rather prophetic 2003-treatment of the economic impact of racism whether overtly or covertly applied in Guyana’s peculiar economic circumstances. In “The Case for Scholarship for Kean Gibson’s Book”, we had sought to identify the main thrust of her contentions as being resident in the phrase: “… What is needed … is recognition that racism is itself a political system, a particular power structure of formal and informal rule, socioeconomic privilege, and norms for the differential distribution of material wealth and opportunities, benefits and burdens, rights and duties…” (Kean Gibson, page 2; “The Cycle of Racial Oppression in Guyana”)

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Addressing the Diaspora, Lewis would point to the by-now-blatant ambivalence that some Caribbean commentators are exhibiting to the twin evils of racism and corruption in order to protect the status quo. He styles this argument as “An Open Letter to Ricky Singh”.

“… If anyone thought elections confer a democracy and give a government the liberty to do as it pleases U.S. Vice President, Joe Biden, reminds us that: “[W]e must also focus on building and encouraging strong democracies, where basic fairness, social equality, and a deep respect for human rights and the rule of law are the guiding principles of everything we do. Democracy is about more than elections; it’s about strong, transparent governance and a thriving civil society. It is also about addressing as effectively as possible the challenges of poverty, inequality and social exclusion.” Presently the conditions under which Guyanese live are far worse than what obtained under the PNC. I can speak of it, because I have lived it and continuously fought against it. Today the Jagdeo administration practices racial and political discrimination, tramples on human and trade union rights, is accused of the murder of hundreds of young men, tortured many, associates with drug lords and phantom squad, and commits crimes against humanity with impunity. These incidents must have engaged your attention since they are covered in the media and you write for the state newspapers, the Guyana Chronicle. I am aware the Rickey Singh column – national and regional - is never used to address the injustices meted out to Guyanese by the Jagdeo regime. I am similarly aware that my attempt to solicit the involvement of Guyanese-born Sir Shirdath Ramphal to speak out against rights violations in Guyana has evoked your response and accusation of me being a political activist. Rickey, this is a devious act, since you are aware that I have never been a political activist, that I am a trade unionist by vocation, and up until recently you telephoned me in Barbados seeking my opinion on matters of regional import. Given this known fact I am forced to conclude the accusation is a deliberate ploy to discredit me in the hope of diverting attention from the serious offences being committed by the PPP administration. As Guyanese we disqualify ourselves from speaking about any issue, in any country in CARICOM, if we fail to address the transgressions that are committed in our birth-land….”
Exactly how close is Guyana to self-inflicted collapse? Was the 2006 Auditor-General’s report, by itself, the most damning indictment yet against political machinery that is now moribund under the weight of zero credibility? In a sense it clearly was not: “… One of the ironies of the 2006 report is that it is far less comprehensive than the report for 2005. Not that size alone matters but some valid reasons should have been offered for the downsizing of the report from 1,822 paragraphs in 2005 to 525 paragraphs in 2006, many of which are devoted to “Prior year matters that have not been fully resolved.” The exposure of President Jagdeo’s stunning ineffectiveness at managing the nation’s affairs to the benefit of all its citizens, it would seem, was not only a product of his alleged and relatively recent association with Shaheed Khan, but our own myopia and laziness in not heeding the size of this ponzi-scheme given years of accusing Audtor-General reports. One latest such indicator was when the independence of the Office of the Auditor-General was compromised when it was made into an “Audit Office” in the Office of the President, and installing as Auditor-General someone who allegedly had no professional accounting qualifications … while the wife of the Minister of Finance was, allegedly, similarly installed as a ranking or principal Director of Audit in the same office. It was in the making for a number of years, and one man was screaming his head off warning us … and we would not listen. He reminds us of the financial perversities involved … again … in January 2010 as an $8 BILLION raid is made on the Consolidated/Contingency Funds, triggering a parliamentary walkout by the joint opposition: “… Occasioned by the walkout of the opposition from the National Assembly as it considered Supplementary Appro-priation (No.3 of 2009) Bill 2010, for $8,245,758,278, some of which had already been spent (Contingencies) and to be spent (Supplementary Appropriations), I began an examination of the whole business of the constitution and the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act 2003 (FMAA) … “… The Consolidated Fund and the Contin-gency Fund are dealt with under Articles 216-219 and 220 respectively. These five articles occur in Title 8 which is intituled simply ‘Finance.’ Together they deal with the establishment, funding and withdrawal of money from the Consolidated Fund or other public funds. For reminders, the Contingency Fund is not a separate fund but only a sub-fund of the Consolidated Fund….”

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“… Article 216 provides that “all revenues or other moneys raised or received by Guyana (not being revenues or other moneys that are payable, by or under an Act of Parliament, into some other fund established for any specific purpose or that may, by or under such an Act, be retained by the authority that received them for the purpose of defraying the expenses of that authority) shall be paid into and form one Consolidated Fund.” This constitutional provision is systematically abused. It is now more than a decade since Auditor General Anand Goolsarran had cited the failure by the government to pay the government’s share of 24% of the proceeds of Guyana Lotteries to the Consolidated Fund, an assertion that has been repeated in every single annual report of the Audit Office. The 2007 report simply reminds Guyanese that no action was taken to pay over the amounts due to the Consolidated Fund but that such proceeds were paid into a special bank account № 3119 and were used to meet public expenditure without parliamentary approval. Watchdogs? But instead of acting decisively on this matter the Audit Office accepts the inane response from the Ministry of Finance “that a policy decision is required on this matter, ” suggesting that the government or cabinet has some discretion on whether or not to comply with the constitution. Unfortunately, it is not only the Audit Office that bears responsibility for this sad state of affairs but so do the Public Accounts Committee and the National Assembly which are supposed to be our financial watchdogs. But so too does civil society, including those religious organisations which have accepted lotto funds for the construction of religious buildings. While the lotto funds may be the most obvious and egregious case of violation when it comes to putting government revenues and receipts into the Consolidated Fund, it is not the only or obvious one. For example, the government with the cooperation of NICIL and the Privatisation Unit have been holding and spending public monies without the approval of the parliament and with no public oversight. That too runs into hundreds (of millions) if not more than a billion dollars. The Fiscal Management and Accountability Act 2003 which gives effect to the provisions of the constitution, provides that all budget agency receipts shall be credited to the Consolidated Fund. The agencies include the ministries, commissions, regions, the Guyana Defence Force and the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GHPC). My understanding is that the money from the lottery company is paid to the Ministry of Finance making the decision not to place the lotto money into the Consolidated Fund both unconstitutional and unlawful. I particularly identify the GHPC because it too is guilty of such a breach which is done with the full knowledge of both the Ministers of Finance and Health. In an environment in which the rule of law prevailed, both these Ministers would be guilty of an indictable offence and liable on conviction to a fine of two million dollars and to imprisonment for three years. But Guyana has no such environment.…” Varying expenditure “… Subject to laid down conditions, section 22 gives the minister the power to reallocate authorised spending among annual appropriations. The main conditions are that these be within the same budget agencies, that no capital allocation can be used for recurrent expenditure, a ten per cent limit and that no new appropriations can be created. Such changes are themselves subject to what is called an Appropriation Amendment Bill to be presented to the National Assembly no later than the end of the eleventh month of the current fiscal year. Any variation other than the reallocation referred to in section 22 must be authorised by a Supplementary Appropriation Act prior to the incurring of any expenditure thereunder. As we noted last week, on the introduction of a Supplementary Appropriation Bill, the minister must present to the National Assembly the reasons for the proposed variations and provide a supplementary document describing the impact that the variations, if approved, will have on the financial plan outlined in the annual budget. Neither the current Minister of Finance nor his predecessor has ever complied with the requirement to publish such a document. Again, one has to ask where is the National Assembly in all of this and whether the clerk and/or the speaker, the parliamentary opposition and the Public Accounts Committee ought not to do something about this persistent abuse. Dr Ashni Singh gives the appearance of not being influenced by any law, professional or public opinion in terms of how, what and when he does anything. It is one of the failings of these types of legislation that they provide no automatic sanction for patent and systematic breaches. Nor do they lend themselves, without the availability of substantial private resources, to being responsive to legal sanctions…”. It gets worse! As recently as November 2009, in the commentary “Financial Lawlessness on the Increase”, it was pointed out that: “…The Office of the Auditor General

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Not only is this office subject to its own act but it is also a constitutional body with serious responsibilities and functions. One of the first but fundamental points to note about the head of this office is that the constitution makes no provision for an acting Auditor General and the job description clearly requires a professionally qualified accountant. In fact the incumbent has no such qualification and it would be a travesty for him to be appointed substantively to the position. It may be convenient for the government to have him there, but surely it is dangerous for the taxpayers of the country and severely compromises the quality of its reports. By retaining him the government is aware that the real authority in the Audit Office is no less a person than the spouse of the Minister of Finance. It is hard to believe that neither of them nor anyone in the government, nor in the international donor community that keeps putting money into the Office, recognises this obvious conflict of interest or simply is not interested even in token accountability….” With the benefit of 10 years of hindsight, therefore, we should now engage in a few more retrospectives with Christopher Ram, Chartered Accountant, in the Business Page of the independent Guyanese daily Stabroek News, exactly one year previously at the time of writing the second update to this script in August 2009: “…QAII has been more than an embarrassment for this government. It has been a revelation of how government business is transacted, public assets are sold, tax concessions given away and the public is misled by, to use the words of Go-Invest “a very small cabal” of political functionaries and professionals who seem willing to compromise their professionalism to meet the objectives set by politicians. All of the key players involved, the President, the Minister of Finance, Cabinet, the Privatisation Board, PU/NICIL, Guyana Revenue Authority and G-Invest have been found terribly wanting …” (“Go-Invest - Investment and Reality” August 17, 2008; Stabroek News) Then these ominous words one week later in the same forum … about the Auditor-General’s Report for 2006: “… One of the ironies of the 2006 report is that it is far less comprehensive than the report for 2005. Not that size alone matters but some valid reasons should have been offered for the downsizing of the report from 1,822 paragraphs in 2005 to 525 paragraphs in 2006, many of which are devoted to “Prior year matters that have not been fully resolved.” The size of the Guyana National Budget has expanded dramatically, state corporations formed under the Public Corporations Act and the Companies Act have increased the volume and value of transactions they carry out each year while legislation in 2003 and 2004 introduced new systems of accountability as well as new responsibilities of the Audit Office as it is now called. Yet, the 2006 report which does little more than repeat the several failures highlighted in earlier reports has generated considerably more public discussion and interest, eliciting responses from the Ministers of Health and Finance, the Head of the Presidential Secretariat and his boss the President himself. In fact the statements from the latter two were in stark conflict with Dr Luncheon suggesting quite inaccurately that the closure of certain bank accounts was proving difficult, “fundamentally because of a lack of information and timely reconciliation.” Perhaps the Minister of Finance who spoke after Dr Luncheon should have advised him that the closure of accounts has nothing to do with whether or not accounts are reconciled as any person who has held a bank account will attest! In fact closure actually helps with reconciliations since it brings an end to all business being conducted on that account. ‘Illiteracy’ But if Dr Luncheon’s statement was uninformed and misleading, it was the President’s contribution that truly caught the imagination and raised some parallel with his contribution to the debate on tax holidays for QA II. Attributing some of the findings in the report to factors ranging from financial ‘illiteracy’ to the previous government for perceived irregularities outlined in the 2006, President Jagdeo described the government’s failure to deal with Lotto funds in accordance with the constitution as a “technical issue,” and incredibly described the billions of dollars held in dormant accounts as “not real cash, it is a book entry…” This is a matter with which the last Auditor General Anand Goolsarran had taken issue for several years and if the President were right – though he clearly is wrong – then each report for the past several years is deficient since dormant bank accounts usually represent cash confirmed as being held by a financial institution. What the President might have said is that there are possible explanations and controls to prevent the fraudulent use of these accounts, but without the benefit of this information one cannot determine whether the Auditor General was referring to confirmed bank balances or balances extracted from the accounting records. Past reports have been highlighting these same issues as far back as the nineties, and the accuracy of similar findings and comments were never questioned by any of the incumbent Finance Ministers, one of whom was the current President. Where the President and his Finance Minister do have a point is in relation to outstanding advances drawn from the contingencies fund. Indeed normally a report would have identified the period for which the advances were outstanding, whether or not they were all proper charges on the contingencies fund, and would have highlighted the fact that many of these advances amounting to hundreds of millions of real dollars were made in the last week of 2006, including separate sums of $300 million each to the Ministry of Housing and the Ministry of Housing and Water, on December 29 and 30, respectively. Why did the Auditor General not tell the nation the amount outstanding on the ten advances made in 2006 to the Ministry of Culture and Sport totalling $450 million dollars, or why in the space of seven days that ministry had to be advanced identical sums of $84.375 million? … “

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Using LCDS and “deforestation” to make a case for … what? And so we can now better appreciate the circumstances at birth of 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! Peter R. Ramsaroop, Guyanese politician, in his article “LCDs: Unemployment or ‘Collateral Damage’?” is wont to make some careful observations: “… Janette Bulkan in her series of ten columns on “Carbon in the forests of Guyana” in Stabroek News during JulyAugust estimated that we have a maximum of 11.4 million tonnes of carbon emissions from our forests annually, based mainly on data from the Guyana Forestry Commission and Tropenbos. The medium-risk price of a CER unit (one tonne of carbon dioxide) on the European Trading Scheme for carbon is about Euros 8, or US$42 per tonne of carbon. So if we were to close down absolutely all the logging and mining and agriculture which are emitting those 11.4 million tonnes, then we could be selling US$479 million worth of forest carbon Unemployment: We already have one of the highest unemployment in the region. With the implementation of LCDS, we would be throwing out of work 27,000 forest workers, log truckers and sawmill operatives, lumber yard suppliers, furniture manufacturers, belna crafters and builders of wooden houses. We would also be displacing 30,000 Brazilian miners and 43,000 Guyanese miners. 271 licensed dredges would be stopped and the 9,000 unlicensed dredges estimated by the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association would no longer be tolerated by the GGMC. It is curious that in all the sound and fury of the President’s promotion of his Low Carbon Development Scheme these sorts of calculation are never mentioned. Does President Jagdeo think that making unemployed one quarter of the entire population of working age is simply “collateral damage”? …” Ramsaroop’s comments are useful from another standpoint … they offer an estimate of the lower end of the amount of Brazilians in Guyana. The total figure could be anywhere between 60,000 and 100,000. Do these people employ Guyanese? Do they vote? Has the government considered that any charges they have vindictively launched against the mining sector can be traced back to their “open-arms, no restriction policy” to the 9,000 unregistered, and probably Brazilian, dredges in Guyana’s interior? Why has censorship of Brazilian mining not accompanied overt attempts to marginalize the local registered, legal component of the sector? But is this projected infusion of US$479 million or (World Bank) $580 million feasible since, given the abundance of evidence in the 2006 Auditor-General’s Report, one can easily detect a massive accounting frenzy designed to leave the country either bankrupt or ungovernable by the time there is a change of government! Which begs the question: Why is the facility to receive carbon funds (Guyana Low Carbon Finance Authority or GLCFA) hid in the Office of the President and not resident in the Bank of Guyana? And so unavailable for parliamentary oversight? The President’s single-handed destruction of the Consolidated Fund outlined above … in full view of “independent audit oversight” of same type mooted for the GLCFA … simply means one thing with Norway/World-Bank funds … more of the same! This brings us logically, and finally, to Janette Bulkan and Patrick Pereira. They have both pronounced on the LCDs and Norway-MOU respectively. Bulkan (http://www.stabroeknews.com/2009/stories/07/27/carbon-in-the-forests-of-guyana/ ) , at the outset, wants the issue to be one of pragmatism rather than self-serving and opportunistic political posturing, so she is very blunt in July 2009: “… This series of articles is intended to look at some of the issues surrounding Guyana’s bid for funds from the World Bank-administered Forest Carbon Partnership Fund (FCPF) and from Norway, and for the President’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS). While most of the government information is on the government’s LCDS website – www.lcds.gov.gy – that site is still under development at the time of writing and it is not possible to read about the feedback from the government’s traditional outreach meetings with some Amerindian communities in the hinterland…” “…In this series I want to draw attention to the high level of uncertainty about the data on which the Government of Guyana is building up high hopes in the population. While the GFC has been cautious in emphasizing gaps in knowledge and the need for using FCPF funds to fill those gaps, the LCDS jumps into the more speculative questions about how we should spend unprecedented amounts of external funds for climate change adaptation. The LCDS glosses over the fact that we have no assurance of such funds being agreed. So far as I can tell, President Jagdeo’s LCDS is not among those schemes which are under

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international discussion in the context of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in advance of the 15th Conference of Parties which is scheduled to agree on a post-Kyoto protocol on climate change mitigation and adaptation, at Copenhagen in December 2009;…” “… I start by quoting a pair of questions raised more than once at the launch of the LCDS in Georgetown on July 08, 2009, using the wording as recorded on the LCDS website – “What are the possible negative effects of the strategy? Is US$ 580 million per year accurate and adequate?” Answer from the government side – “Refer to the annex to the strategy for calculations of the Economic Value to the Nation. Regarding costs of adaptation measures, refer to pages 28/29 of the strategy.” So the government chose not to respond to the question about possible negative effects; referred to the McKinsey consultancy report extracted into Appendix II of the strategy (see http://www.lcds.gov.gy/images/stories/Documents/LCDS.pdf) ; and referred mainly to the adaptation costs for continued occupation of the increasingly floodable coastal lowlands. The government did not respond to the question about accuracy or adequacy….” “… So in Guyana we should take extra care to plan carefully and to actually apply our land laws and regulations and procedures, fully, objectively and equitably. Compared with other rainforest countries, we have only a small potential for adding “extra tins of sardines” (carbon) to our natural stock, so we need to assess that stock, the gains and the losses with extra care. That assessment is addressed partially in the GFC’s proposals to the FCPF, but so far little concern has been given to the uncertainties about the estimates….” So can we conclude that the imperative to “…assess that stock, the gains and the losses with extra care…” and to “…take extra care to plan carefully and to actually apply our land laws and regulations and procedures, fully, objectively and equitably…” was abdicated on the altar of political expediency in favour of an MOU with Norway? Was the Norway-MOU a considered result of a process of systematic institutional planning, or was this one man’s egotistical plunge off the Kaieteur Falls into an eco-imperialist hellhole? That the answer lies somewhere between the two seems without doubt, the challenging factor seeming to be why the government wants to destroy the historical mining sector (while, say, entering into some as-yet-unmentioned deals with big mining businesses) and prevent the mining sector from reaching some magical “baseline” of deforestation that will see its meagre rewards for LCDSfunds dwindle even further. Now the paradox is that, by any measurable standard, deforestation has been NEGLIGIBLE in Guyana, regardless of what the President says, and even the Guyana Forestry Commission is now trying to ‘measure it’! So, at the one end of this scale of gargantuan disregard for the rights, hopes, ambitions and livelihood of 150,000 of its citizens, we have an astonishing admission by the powers that be (on January 28, 2010) that a “six-month waiting period for small-miners” was agreed upon WITHOUT CONSULTATION WITH ANY MINERS IN THE INDUSTRY), and that the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) (the lead agency tasked with lending effect to the marginalization) does not even have any figures to back up its claim of deforestation, or its manifest use of draconian measures against the local mining community; “…The proposal for a six-month notification period before mining can commence came out of a meeting of the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC), the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), the Guyana Lands and Survey Commission (GLSC) and the Environ-mental Protection Agency (EPA), Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud disclosed yesterday. Meantime, by October the “real” rate of deforestation in Guyana will be known. GFC Commissioner, James Singh said that currently they are working with an estimated 0.3% deforestation rate. “We are doing extensive remote sensing analysis. We are doing extensive biomass monitoring of plots and we’ve already set up 135 plots where we are doing the quantification of how much carbon is stored in the trees, their roots, in the soil etc. So come October 2010, we are going to have a pretty good idea of what is the real rate of deforestation in Guyana and then what will happen is that our financial incentives would be linked to that”, he said, responding to a question from Carberry. Earlier, in his presentation, Singh had noted that one of the issues of concern for the GFC was compliance with sustainable forestry management guidelines which he described as satisfactory but which needed to be improved. Another area of concern was recovery rates, which he said were generally around 40% and also needed to be improved upon. The Commissioner had noted too that the GFC needs to undertake capacity building to meet its expanded role in REDD+ and the LCDS. He stated that there is a need to quantify the impact of mining on state forests and a team is currently working on this. A need to maintain or even reduce the current rate of deforestation and reviewing of key documents and possible upgrade are some of the implications of the LCDS and REDD+, he stated….” Readers will note three things at this time, because “by October 2010” many mining families may have been driven destitute:

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1.

That international business analysts knowledgeable of the carbon issue seem to disagree with James Singh, since he deliberately works with the upper end of the projected scale for current deforestation, but seems bent on trying to make a case for the nullification of the second paragraph below: “… Guyana has 15 million hectares of rainforest, almost 80% of its territory and a little larger than England and Wales. But it has an extremely low rate of deforestation compared with most other rainforest nations. According to UN Food and Agriculture Organisation figures, Guyana's deforestation rate was negligible between 1990 and 2000 and non-existent between 2000 and 2005. It estimates the current rate to be 0.1-0.3% a year. The Norway-Guyana agreement sets a baseline figure for deforestation at 0.45%, meaning Guyana can increase deforestation sharply from its current rate and still receive payments. Half the country's carbon dioxide emissions are from forest degradation caused by selective logging and small-scale gold mining. The agreement does not require them to reduce degradation, only to not increase it….”

2.

That the author of Guyana’s LCDS (McKinsey Consultants) have taken the extreme step in equating deforestation in Brazil with that of Guyana … A CONSIDERABLE STRETCH: “… Guyana's draft LCDS claims the country's rainforests are worth dollars 580m a year, based on their exploitation for maximum value.2 In its report, consultants McKinsey assumed a deforestation rate of 4.3%, or 630,000ha a year, which is similar to that in the Brazilian states of Para and Mato Grosso. At this rate, the rainforest would be cleared in 25 years to make space for crops such as palm oil….” One might add, of course, that such a rate of deforestation would still be possible with 100,000 undocumented Brazilians, and 9,000 unregistered dredges (Brazilian?) in the mining sector, which does not seem to worry Mr. Singh et al much! Which leads us, in this continuous update (Feb 14, 2010), to the following clear statement by the Corporate Secretary of the Guyana Forestry Commission as far back as July 14th 2009: “…Reducing deforestation is certainly not the main mechanism through which Guyana intends to peg its performance based payments. Rather maintaining deforestation will allow for the benefits which Guyana’s forest currently provide and will continue to provide, to the national and international community…”

3.

That, with this degree of uncertainty informing the administration’s analysis, and bearing in mind the January 28 2010 position outlined by Singh above, it is shocking to see how the Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Presidential Secretariat (on January 12, 2010, two weeks previously) unambiguously, hypocritically and callously describes a position (6-months notice before felling any tree, handover of rich mining lands etc) that was arrived at WITHOUT CONSULTING OR INVOLVING THE LOCAL MINING COMMUNITY OR ITS REPRESENTATIVES, WHILE AT THE SAME TIME DEFENDING THE RAMPAGING LAWLESSNESS OF 100,000 BRAZILIANS AND THEIR 9,000 DREDGES IN GUYANA: “… Government has deemed miners’ response to the proposed six-month notice before any mining can commence as “regrettable” and “counterproductive as it discourages the development of the necessary new mindset that would bring into existence sustainable mining activity in Guyana”….” “… According to the Cabinet Secretary, the sentiment in the administration is that mining is too big to fail “and the view consequently is that the negative reaction of the sector is counterproductive as it discourages the development of the necessary new mindset that would bring into existence sustainable mining activity in Guyana”. Luncheon said that in the negotiations with Norway, Guyana sought to establish respect for historical levels of activity in exploitation of natural resources, and there was never, during these discourses and in the commitments, any explicit undertaking to restrict activities in either the mining sector or forestry “in pursuit of ill-defined goals and objectives. “What we sought to introduce was concrete interventions that pointed to sustainable mining activities, interventions (that) …ante-dated the LCDS, interventions that were generated by concerns about the impact of mining on the environment” and that is what eventually flowed into the LCDS and became part of the Norwegian agreement, the Cabinet Secretary said. Luncheon said that the contribution of Brazilian entrepreneurs in mining cannot be dismissed lightly. He said government is not unmindful that their arrival might not be controlled, and their activities not administered to the best of the abilities of the GGMC and in accordance with the rules and regulations governing immigration, work permits and such issues but the answer is not to decry the presence and initiate xenophobic reaction to the Brazilians. “We have to spend much more time and provide much more resources in regulating, in implementing, in executing those existing arrangements, policies that govern their presence and their operations,” he said….”

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What the Head of the Presidential Secretariat seems to be saying is that, while time and space is available for the Brazilians to pillage and deforest (is this part of the official LCDS-strategy?), a draconian and immediate requirement of 6-months notice is imperative for registered Guyanese miners (he does not see this as an act to “restrict activities in either the mining sector or forestry”… even though a similar requirement for those pursuing logging/forest-harvesting is not required. WHY not??? The answer becomes clearer in the next section following! Readers could, at February 1, 2010, see and further predict the inevitable consequences as miners react to this duplicity, doublestandards, ambivalence and disregard, in the developing stories: “Breaking News: Bartica Plans Shutdown Over Proposed Mining Notice” (http://www.stabroeknews.com/2010/stories/01/28/breaking-news-bartica-plans-shutdown-over-proposedmining-notice/ ) “Bartica Plans Shutdown Over Mining Notice” http://www.stabroeknews.com/2010/stories/01/29/bartica-plans-shutdown-over-mining-notice/ “Gov’t Scrambles to Quell Bartica Protest” http://www.stabroeknews.com/2010/stories/01/30/gov%e2%80%99t-scrambles-to-quell-bartica-protest/ “AFC Calls for Withdrawal of Mining Notice Proposal” http://www.stabroeknews.com/2010/stories/02/01/afc-calls-for-withdrawal-of-mining-notice-proposal/ “Bartica Goes Gold! Thousands Protest Mining Proposals!” http://www.stabroeknews.com/2010/stories/02/02/bartica-goes-gold/

The signs are that THIS “national conversation” will get worse … because the “killing” of bauxite is still fresh in the minds of many Guyanese. By February 11, 2010, under the threat of full-scale rebellion in the mining communities, the President would retreat and grant small miners a three-hectare limit on immediate operations while saving face through insisting on a ‘notification period’ for miners. The GGDMA will doubtless be responding soon after it reads the full list of new proposals by a committee chaired by Minister Robeson Benn. Is Norway being duped? Is “mining” being used to cover illegalities by the Guyana Forestry Commission and the GoG? What is the significance of the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) being given such broad and sweeping powers to “target” miners by an indulgent administration, particularly in the light of two statements 8 months apart? The following reveals just how tightly-controlled information is in Guyana, and the lengths the administration would go to NOT pass freedom-of-information legislation. In June 2009, the Corporate Secretary of the Guyana Forestry Commission, Jacy Archibald, made the following remark in a voluminous and vehement response to comments by REDD-Monitor: “… Reducing deforestation is certainly not the main mechanism through which Guyana intends to peg its performance based payments. Rather maintaining deforestation will allow for the benefits which Guyana’s forest currently provide and will continue to provide, to the national and international community…” We have to believe that the substance of the reply to REDD-Monitor was vetted by the CEO of the GFC James Singh himself before being released to REDD-Monitor. Pity our local press didn’t capture the moment. Patrick Pereira, in the interim, is demanding more answers from the administration and the GFC on February 10, 2010, and is the immediate target of a squadron of the administration’s letter-writers, despite being the only person so far to offer concrete proposals on the way forward for all parties. “…I am of the firm opinion that almost the entire Guyanese public, cannot believe/comprehend the fact that, our miners are only removing a tiny area of the entire forest, to get this colossal sum of near US 400 /500 Million Dollars, in Gold and Diamonds, yearly. Sometimes, we feel like inviting, all those who write in the newspapers, accusing our miners of destroying the forest, and worst yet saying that we are destroying the Environment, and to take them on an Aircraft trip, from Ogle over the forest, and I am sure many of them would get a heart attack, for when they look down, and see no open spaces between the trees, for hours of flying, they would wish that they could see an open space just temporary left by mining, so that their plane could crash land safely, should it have any problems. I am also appalled when I hear senior members of Government, saying the same thing, that Miners are destroying the environment and could only guess what is their motive for saying so, when these intelligent men, some in important decision making positions must know that in any extractive

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Industries, there must be some disturbance, while they fully know that over 90% of it in Mining, is only temporary. WHAT IS THE DAMAGE TO THE ENVIRONMENT IN MINING THAT PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT?? A) Is it the cutting of mainly the non economic Trees—Trees grow back and cover the Canopy. B) Is it the holes left in the ground— plans are in place to fill most of the holes in Mining — The removal of Bauxite, the removal of SAND, STONE leave bigger Holes, more like craters. Were bauxite, sand & stone quarries ever asked and made to fill in their holes? C)Is it Mercury—-More and more Miners are using Retorts. Hundreds of pounds of Mercury-containing items are dumped on city waste dumps. We are eating fish caught from just Offshore which contains Mercury and Toxic Heavy Metals. The sugar estates spray poisonous Chemicals on cane, which poisons leaches and is consumed by humans and animals, through the Estate trenches Do we hear any complaints about these dangerous health hazards to the main section of the population other than from mining. Please, stop unfairly criticizing Mining. Any Intelligent person would know that you are terribly misinformed or have an ulterior motive. There are very few other extractive Industries, which produce as much as US 300-500 Million Dollars in Foreign Currency earnings, within such a small area…” Is this possible ... that the GFC and the Government of Guyana have an ulterior motive in fabricating a case against mining? Judge for yourself! REDD-Monitor responds to Jacy Archibald, the Corporate-Secretary of the Guyana Forestry Commission on July 21st 2010, and thereafter a deep, dark silence from the Governmwent of Guyana ensues. This issue, more than any other, places Janette Bulkan’s ouster in perspective! The commentary below speaks for itself (the comments by Archibald that are being responded to are in italicized bold, and the REDD-Monitor responses in italicized red; all emphasis/highlights are the author’s): “Readers are given the impression that the forests in Guyana will be disappearing tomorrow”: As REDDMonitor has pointed out in a previous post, “Guyana has large areas of forest and low levels of deforestation.” It was Guyana’s President, Bharrat Jagdeo, who raised the issue of “avoided threatened deforestation” in the hope of qualifying for REDD. “The LCDS is a draft document that presents an idea of building livelihoods and fostering development in Guyana”: The “thorough three month consultation process” that you mention will take place after the launch of the LCDS, thus stretching the meaning of the word “prior” (as in free, prior and informed consent) to breaking point. The comments published by at least some Amerindians show that they have not been given enough information to give informed consent. And some of them have challenged the reports of meetings issued by the government information service. The LCDS document was not drafted from the bottom up by “stakeholders”. Instead, it is a version of the McKinsey consultancy report dated December 2008, which used non-public data to develop a fantastical scenario: Guyana would clear up to 15.8 million hectares of forest over 25 years, using destructive logging, plus mining (which also involves deforestation). The forest would be replaced by commercial agricultural crops. But as there have been almost no attempts to clear and crop the forest land in the last 400 years, it would be reasonable to suppose that the naturally infertile soils of hinterland Guyana would not support commercial or continuous sedentary agriculture. This historical lack of cropping is not even discussed in the McKinsey report, nor in the LCDS. Hence the Economic Value to the Nation, derived from McKinsey’s estimates mainly of potential crop value, is indeed “fantastical”. It is notable that the National Agricultural Research Institute has not offered a public comment on the LCDS; and is not a member of the multistakeholder steering committee. “The establishment of the REDD Secretariat”: The REDD Secretariat is located inside the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC). Yet there is no reference to REDD or to the FCPF R-PLANs on the GFC website. There is no reference to the REDD Secretariat in the LCDS. Access to the Guyana R-PLAN documents is only via the World Bank’s FCPF website. Can this really be described as “transparent”? The Technical Advisory Panel of the FCPF made critical comments in its report of 8 June 2009, noting that “Many sectors of society do not seem to have been included in the process . . . There is the risk of a distinct lack of ‘ownership’ by a larger segment of Guyana’s society”. “A deforestation rate of 4% is assumed in the model”: Page 14 of the December 2008 McKinsey report states that “In Guyana, we chart an ‘economically rational’ deforestation path that involves reducing forest cover by approximately 4.3 percent (~630,000 ha) per annum over the course of 25 years, leaving intact as protected areas the 10 percent of Guyana’s forests with the highest conservation value.” Put another way, if 630,000 hectares are deforested each year, after 25 years a total of 15.8 million hectares (25 x 630,000) will have been deforested. Page 26 of the McKinsey report identifies a total of 3 million hectares of available agricultural land (although the sources for these figures are not in the public domain). On page 29, McKinsey identifies 2.7 million hectares of

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forested land for mining – which would also involve deforestation. Neither the LCDS, nor the McKinsey report explain why Guyana would deforest 15.8 million hectares if subsequent agriculture could use only 3 million hectares. “Allegations by REDD Monitor that the absence of an independent Board will lead to corruption”: There is considerable debate in the daily newspapers in Guyana about the continued failure to appoint an independent procurement board, given the many criticisms of government procurement procedures and practices by the Auditor General in his annual reports, and the implications of embedded corruption; see Press reports provided without comment on http://www.guyanagovernance.blogspot.com. Incidentally, Transparency International rates Guyana as 126th in its 2008 corruption perceptions index. Only three countries in Latin America are ranked below Guyana (Paraguay, Ecuador and Venezuela). “Forest management in Guyana”: Archibald gives a description of what is supposed to happen in Guyana’s forests. He does not challenge the fact that more than ninety per cent of the country’s logging concessions are held by foreign companies. Or that these are held under secretive, highly concessionary contracts. The best way to counter this argument would be to release the contracts into the public domain. The Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) does not have the strategic allocation plan called for in the National Forest Policy 1997 and repeated in the National Forest Plan 2001. Concession rights are not publicly auctioned nor is due diligence carried out as required by law and GFC procedures. The GFC does not follow its own Code of Conduct for Timber Harvesting, does not allocate annual allowable cuts by species or species groups and does not check in the field to prevent the consequent systemic over-harvesting of the commercially preferred timbers. The GFC acknowledges in the R-PLAN that such over-cutting occurs: “Deforestation is driven by four principal factors, namely: 1) the targeted harvesting of a limited number of prime commercial species, with little emphasis being placed by the loggers on efficiencies or harvesting of a broader range of species. . . .” (page 3). The LCDS notes that 60-70 m3/ha can be obtained by destructive logging of the timbers which occur naturally in clumps; and for which the Code of Practice prescribes a minimum distance rule (distance between trees to be felled) precisely to prevent such over-cutting. As the Code is not binding (another government failure), this rule is not enforced by the GFC. An average outturn of ~12 m3/ha over a 100-hectare logging block can clearly allow for extreme over-cutting in some areas (the clumps) and no logging in other parts of the unsupervised blocks. And this is what happens; confirmed by GFC studies in 1999-2000. “The LCDS is therefore very compatible with the current forest management”: In the sense that the LCDS is based on a notion of forest value derived from deforestation, yes, it is unfortunately compatible with the currently uncontrolled (or at best poorly controlled) logging. “Guyana is one of few counties that has successfully implemented a national log tracking system . . . recognized internationally as effective”: This is simply untrue. The log tracking system as devised in 1999 by SGS was not fully implemented, partly because the GFC lacks sufficient capability in information technology and partly because of the reluctance to operate a transparent and equitable system, fair to all loggers. GFC staff have traded log tags for private gain, and major loggers have used the tags out-of-coupe because the system is meaningless to them. For more details on the problems, see “Timber tags: the currency of illegal logging and forest corruption in Guiana Shield countries“. The GFC is using external funds to improve the system, but the reluctance to be transparent means that the proposed system will not match the expectations of a legality verification systems in the voluntary partnerships under the European Union’s FLEGT Action Plan. The GFC intention can be compared with the more acceptable timber tracking system now being installed in Liberia in West Africa (although there seem to be serious problems in the bid evaluation process for logging concessions in Liberia). “Numerous international assessments that have been done on Sustainable Forest Management”: “Numerous” appears to be something of an exaggeration. SGS Qualifor suspended the FSC certificate for Barama in January 2007. SmartWood has not returned to Barama after a scoping visit in March 2008. Iwokrama is the only current holder in Guyana of a FSC forest management certificate. No other international certification scheme has certificated operations in Guyana. The ITTO global desk-based survey of forest management in 2005 noted the discrepancy between theory and practice in Guyana. “REDD Monitor seems preoccupied on FDI contracts and is challenged to show the proof”: It would perhaps be more accurate to state that the Government of Guyana seems preoccupied with FDI contracts, given the predominance of FDI contracts in the logging sector in the country. The problem is not that FDI is necessarily a bad idea, but that the Government of Guyana has failed to negotiate and re-negotiate such arrangements for the maximum net social benefit. Perhaps the most egregious example is that of Barama. The FDI arrangement for the Malaysian logger Barama was written by Malaysians, not by the Government of Guyana. The tax concessions have been repeatedly abused, in that capital investment has been low and slow, in spite of Ministerial remonstrances since 2006; replacement of foreign staff by Guyanese has not happened, indeed the opposite has occurred, with office staff being Malaysian rather than local; duty-free fuel has been used outside Barama’s own concession, in illegally rented concessions and in Amerindian lands under illegal

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contracts. Barama’s production of utility grade plywood in 2008 was 21,000 m3 in 2008, less than 1/5 of the mill capacity, yet Barama continues to draw maximum tax concessions. And its accounting practices have been sharply criticised. All those points are in the public domain. Further information about logging companies in Guyana is available here. For the record, nowhere does REDD-Monitor state that “foreign investments need to be alienated and efforts need to be put in place to rip livelihoods from poor communities,” as Archibald suggests. “REDD and REDD plus”: Archibald writes that “Reducing deforestation is certainly not the main mechanism through which Guyana intends to peg its performance based payments. Rather maintaining deforestation will allow for the benefits which Guyana’s forest currently provide and will continue to provide, to the national and international community.” So that’s clear then. The government of Guyana has no intention of reducing deforestation. I’m glad we’ve clarified that. “The LCDS is a national strategy”: Agreed. However, Archibald declines to respond to the question REDDMonitor raised. Guyana already has a REDD-type project: the Iwokrama rainforest project. Have the terms of the lease issued by President Jagdeo to Canopy Capital been revealed? “Guyana recommends that you seek clarification on issues before publishing articles”: Archibald does not make clear from whom REDD-Monitor should seek such clarification. When the government itself cannot respond accurately on its own REDD proposals, to whom should REDD-Monitor appeal for clarification? Eco-imperialism and the Amerindian titling issue: Apart from the six-month waiting period we referred to in the Snapshot Summary, and above, the next scariest part of the NorwayMOU is the imperative that Bharat Jagdeo’s government hand over rich gold-bearing lands to Amerindian “communities” … on demand … and the issue is being studiously ignored by everyone. It should NOT be, because it has the potential to pit our indigenous citizens against the rest of the population in a new sequence of divide and rule, marginalization … and inevitable confrontation. We should let Pereira’s words speak for themselves: “… There was collusion between the World Bank people and the Norway people as you may recall that just before the Norway MOU, the World Bank People visited our Interior with a direct mission, and spoke directly to the Amerindian People, which could be interpreted as a domestic interference and an insult to our Sovereignty. The taking away of these Rich Gold bearing lands from the control of Miners will force the Miners to work poor mineral areas which will eventually send them bankrupt. Imagine Norway has no shame being a party to the financial and social destruction of thousands of Guyanese Miners and other people living in the interior by demanding that President Jagdeo give to the Amerindians, hundreds of thousands more acres of lands, which obviously includes Rich Mining Lands. Could we be told how many hundreds of thousands of Amerindians live in these 92+ communities, totalling over 5.5 million Acres of lands, with 11 more areas to add, if they could get away with taking from our Miners, thousands more acres of the rich mineral areas, most of which they are not qualified to legally occupy in these Eleven additional areas applied for… This situation, if it was not very serious, disgraceful and a giant scam, would be laughable, to see how a small total population of Amerindians is getting to occupy, such large acreages, while in many areas, only having a few Amerindians, “Stopping”, passing through not living or having permanent residence in those areas, but purposely sent there to target and take in, the Richest Mineral lands, with many of them already Licensed to Miners.. It must be remembered that any Guyanese, including any Amerindian Person has the right to locate Claims, Prospecting or Mining Permits, Prospecting or Mining Licences, in any of the Mining areas in Guyana, and he or she does not have to rely on living in an Amerindian Community area, before they could mine for Gold or Diamonds. Very many of these areas which the Amerindians have applied for, as Communities and some that they already have, do not qualify them to have as a Community, because one of the conditions is, that they have to have a minimum of 150 Amerindian persons living in each area applied for, and those persons must be living there for a period of no less than 25 years. If they were no conditions to justify a Community, Amerindians could take the whole forest as communities…”. The implications for the marginalization … or further marginalization … of a significant section of the (rest of the) Guyanese population in the logging and mining sectors are enormous, and joins others already fermenting in a steaming cauldron of oppression! In as clever … or as diabolical … a feat of social engineering as has ever been accomplished, it should not escape anyone that four Afro-Guyanese are being used as point men to orchestrate many current efforts at marginalization:

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Minister Robeson Benn (apparently tasked with producing the ‘six-month’ requirement report for miners at the end of January 2010 after “consultations”, but who, predictably, will not touch the issue of the handover of prime mining lands to the Amerindian population); Prime Minister Samuel Hinds (apparently tasked with attempting to explain away the vast discrepancy in allocation of funds to the sugar/bauxite sectors); His first and last effort was considered by many as evasive though voluminous, and was rejected by Lewis soon thereafter in the strongly-worded article “Every Single Proposal Made to the Government to Protect Bauxite Workers’ Income and the right to Work was Rejected” ( http://www.stabroeknews.com/2009/letters/10/21/every-single-proposal-made-to-thegov%e2%80%99t-to-protect-bauxite-workers-income-and-the-right-to-work-was-rejected/ ) Lewis points out that Mr. Hinds himself was complicit in this process in the very first month of the PPP’s assumption to office, and identifies two witnesses to this effect. Head of the Presidential Secretariat Roger Luncheon (apparently tasked with getting the public message out … impressing upon the gold/diamond and bauxite miners how ‘regrettable’ and ‘obnoxious’ their reactions are … to being regulated out of business and being racially victimized); and … Police Commissioner Henry Green ( apparently tasked with the unenviable job of declaring in a few months time that ‘no credible evidence’ has been found regarding Shaheed Khan’s operations and colleagues in Guyana, and that over 200 dead was just a figment of our considerable imaginations). What he must surely recognise by this time is that even Guyanese would not fall for a next instalment of “persons being arrested, then ‘escaping’ from heavily-fortified Police Stations before their day in court, only to be ‘confronted and killed’ by Police ranks later” Now Odinga Lumumba, an Afro-Guyanese, is the “Presidential Advisor on Empowerment”, and the latest example of the political intrigue and wholesale usurpation of the letter and spirit of constitutional safeguards that seems necessary for such “empowerment” would seem to reside in Mr. Jagdeo’s involvement in another mining “deal” with Lumumba that came to light in January 2010, the latest instalment appearing below: “… With each passing week, the Jagdeo administration continues to lower the bar as it relates to ethics in government business and standards in public life. Nowhere was this starker than the case of the mining deal which Presidential Advisor on Empowerment, Mr Odinga Lumumba managed to strike …” “… Second, and perhaps most importantly, President Jagdeo has no locus standi in this matter. Approvals of mining permits should be completely within the purview of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) as per the mining and GGMC acts. That Messrs Lumumba and Walrond felt it necessary to appeal directly to the President indicates that they may have experienced difficulty in securing approval from the GGMC via the established procedures. This is all the more reason why President Jagdeo should not have intervened at all. If indeed, the GGMC was balking at making the decision, President Jagdeo by virtue of his intervention has subverted the authority of the GGMC. He has also paved the way for others to try their hand at approaching him. This undermining of the authority of statutory bodies has been a recurring feature of the last decade of PPP/Civic governance and has entrenched the lack of respect for order in doing things and, indeed, respect for law and order. President Jagdeo must explain whence he derived authority to approve a mining permit for his presidential advisor and ultimately this deal must be cancelled and reverted to the GGMC. Third, as a Member of Parliament for the ruling benches, the Integrity Commission Act and the standards it espouses should exclude Mr Lumumba from benefiting from a mining deal which was concluded on the basis of a petition to the President whose actions are not subject to legal or parliamentary review. Fourth, being knowledgeable of the work of the Standing Committee of Parliament on Natural Resources and of deliberations at Cabinet sub-committees by virtue of his presence in the Office of the President, Mr Lumumba should have been precluded from pursuing much less concluding any such deal….” “… The government has however had a twin-track approach to these matters. Its friends get the type of treatment they desire while those who are not favoured feel the full and punctilious measure of crawling bureaucracy, rules and regulations. How else does one reconcile this deal Mr Lumumba has managed to secure with the stringent and draconian rules that have been dangled over the heads of small and medium-scale miners?...” Readers would get an appropriate introduction to this most unseemly state of affairs by reading the previous articles “Lumumba Mining Deals Raises Queries” and “President’s Role in Lumumba mining Deal Questioned”. And so, finally, Lincoln Lewis again to summarize the formidable restrictions being slowly tightened around the necks of a sizeable portion of Guyana’s population …

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“… As a trade unionist I hold dear the principle that each and everyone has his/her unique potential and such potential can best blossom in an environment that respects rights and the rule of law. In fact the foundation of every modern society is built on this principle. Nations are run by governments which are the custodians of the rule of law and rights, and therefore tasked with the primary responsibility to ensure these are respected thereby creating the enabling environment for all to prosper according to his/her respective definition of prosperity. It is no secret that rights and the rule of law are under siege in Guyana. My argument and fight has and will continue to be for the respect of the rights of workers (past, present and potential) consistent with the rule of law, international conventions and time-honoured principles which will allow any worker the opportunity to unleash his/her potential in whatever he/she chooses. It is not my responsibility to tell anyone which field of economic endeavour he/she should gravitate to, or participate in. The constitution guarantees the right to work, prosperity and freedom of choice. Labour views every form of legitimate work as contributing to its goal of full employment. It matters not whether that person is an employer, employee, self-employed, private or public sector worker. The point I am consistently making is that there are many instances of Africans who have chosen their respective field of endeavour and have been met with the deliberate and calculated roadblocks of this government. A revisiting of my writings on the issue of economic empowerment would see cases cited of people seeking opportunities as employer, shareholders, cooperative, self-employed and employees in both the private and public sector. I have cited the case of bauxite workers who wanted their pension fund of more than $2.5 billion to be used for the creation of an investment fund where they could borrow at competitive interest rates; bauxite workers wanting to buy out the state-owned Bermine; and some businessmen wanting to lease Everton Plant from the Government of Guyana. In Everton’s case the plant is lying idle with both the calcine and dryer rotting! The government prefers to have them rot than give the African businessmen an opportunity to create work for themselves and others. On being employees, bauxite workers have their pension and thrift plans destroyed by the government and taxfree overtime stopped by the government. The traditional public servants continue to be disrespected as a group and the government continues to disregard their rights to freedom of association, and collective bargaining. Turning attention to the more than two-month old strike at Aroaima one would see the hands of the government giving tacit and overt support for the disregard of the rule of law and the transgression of bauxite workers’ rights. On self-employment I cited a case of an African businessman who wanted to own a prime property in Georgetown, and had the state-run Privatization Unit adhered to its established rules, as the second highest bidder that African businessman should have been given first preference after the highest bidder withdrew. On property ownership a motion taken to parliament to regularize African properties bought in the immediate post-slavery era was rejected by the governing parliamentarians who used their majority to throw out the motion. Opportunities for a second chance at a secondary school education and advanced learning are being limited to those desirous of same with the government’s refusal to obey the law and disburse the subvention that was passed into law via the national budget. Similar treatment has been meted out to the Guyana Trades Union Congress in an attempt to limit the potential of a section of organised labour to their constitutional rights in national decision-making and protection of workers’ rights. Since then the government continues to deny taxpayers their money to invest in their development. Careful study or understanding of societal power structure would reveal that the realization of the stated projects/proposals/operations/opportunities have to pass through the government bureaucracy which would have to give the green light. In all instances these were rejected. I am not in the business of making excuses for Africans. The facts are there for all to see! Having been around the PNC and PPP administrations I can say with conviction this is the first time in Guyana’s history there has been such a complete effort to marginalize a people economically...” And now, below, a synopsis of the Auditor-General’s Report for 2006 … illustrating why the LCDS as a truly “national” response may be doomed before it began... because of the very real possibility that while government functionaries and supporters will end up with even more $60,000,000 houses (carbon credits or not), the vast majority of the people will probably get ... nothing! 1. Please remember this plea in November 2009 regarding the Auditor-General’s Office: “… Not only is this office subject to its own act but it is also a constitutional body with serious responsibilities and functions. One of the first but fundamental points to note about the head of this office is that the constitution makes no provision for an acting Auditor General and the job description clearly requires a professionally qualified accountant. In fact the incumbent has no such qualification and it would be a travesty for him to be appointed substantively to the position. It may be convenient for the government to have him there, but surely it is dangerous for the taxpayers of the country and severely compromises the quality of its reports. By retaining him the government is aware that the real authority in the Audit Office is no less a person than the spouse of the Minister of Finance. It is hard to believe that neither of them nor anyone in the government, nor in the international donor community that

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keeps putting money into the Office, recognizes this obvious conflict of interest or simply is not interested even in token accountability. Even with that major weakness the Audit Office is operating at half its required manpower and this helps to explain why it keeps falling back and down on many of its public commitments. Like the Minister of Finance’s mid-year report, the Audit Office’s report on the Government accounts for 2008 is also late. By law this must be submitted to the National Assembly within nine months of the end of the accounting year. We are now in the eleventh month without any word about when this report will be available...” 2. And now (February 1, 2010) this development: Guyana hopes to conclude discussions with the World Bank and Norway in February to receive an initial US$30M through the forest preservation agreement with Oslo. “We have complied with all of the conditions for last year. The only outstanding thing now is the settlement of the trust fund mechanism through which the money will flow to Guyana,” President Bharrat Jagdeo told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday. He noted that Guyana is already eligible for the US$30M and hopes to conclude ongoing discussions in February. This will be reflected in this year’s budget, said Jagdeo. Leading one commentator to offer “… This shouldn’t be a far trip from Norway to Switzerland …” After reading the piece below, extrapolate for 17 years … and then dare to believe that it was meant to be better than this! Roger Williams Georgetown Guyana July 27, 2009 Updated February 14, 2010 PS: So, now, the challenge for citizens who love Guyana: 4th February, 2010 Executive Secretary, The Inspection Panel 1818 H Street, NW, Washington, DC 20433, USA Gentlemen, This letter should be considered as an open and formal letter to the President of the World Bank, and it’s Inspection Panel, by a private citizen of a member country. It is founded in part on the following comment by a local accounting luminary: "...It is hard to believe that neither of them nor anyone in the government, nor in the international donor community that keeps putting money into the Office, recognises this obvious conflict of interest or simply is not interested even in token accountability…" (See "Financial Lawlessnes on the Increase"; http://www.stabroeknews.com/2009/business/11/08/financial-lawlessness-on-the-increase/ ) It is being copied to the CARICOM and Commonwealth Secretariats, the Norwegian Agency for Decelopment Cooperation, Norway’s media, the Carter Center and CARICOM's Attorneys-General. 1. I, the undersigned, am a citizen of the Republic of Guyana, and would express my concern over the fact that the World Bank may be about to further contribute to a state of affairs in Guyana that may be irreconcilably opposed to its stated position on corruption, racism and good governance. 2. I am very concerned that your staff in Guyana may not be reporting the disturbing episodes of financial misconduct and social disenfranchisement (some have called it 'corruption that is ruinous to the state', while others have referred to 'economic genocide’) that have been a feature of economic and political life in Guyana these past 10-15 years. The attached document further illustrates my initial concerns and gives a short summary of the available evidence. I have referred to this brief "snapshot" as "Greed, Genocide ... and now 'Green': Corruption and UnderDevelopment in Guyana" ( http://www.scribd.com/doc/17958657/Greed-Genocide-and-now-GreenCorruption-and-Underdevelopment-in-Guyana ) 3. It is clear to me, given the initial evidence in the brief attached summary, that the hopes and dreams of a maturing nation are being (have been) sacrificed on the altar of common and loutish thievery, racism and fascism!

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It is inevitable that many Guyanese are being, and will continue to be affected negatively by same if corrective action within constitutional boundaries is not encouraged/facilitated immediately. 4. To the extent that the above continues to this day, why is your local and institutional staff not recommending that the many examples of legal/institutional injustices in Guyana be fixed before you commit to Guyana's latest bid for World-Bank funds? 5. An investigation and review (of your resident staff in Guyana, and of Bank-policy relative to Guyana) seems necessary to allay my considerable fears that the imminent disbursement of US$30 million in World Bank Forest Carbon Partnership Fund (FCPF) and climate-change-mitigation funds to Guyana will meet with the same fate as that of billions of dollars in the Auditor-General's report for 2006 (and 10 previous years). Please also advise me, and other citizens of Guyana, on what the World Bank is doing to address corruption and racism issues in its member states, specifically Guyana. 6. You should also feel free to direct these inquiries to that section/department of the World Bank that can best deal with them. I would appreciate your communication of the e-mail address of any responsible officer/department in that regard. 7. I formally request the Inspection Panel recommend to the World Bank's Executive Directors that an investigation of the matters in the attached report, and specified at (5) above, be carried out. I should not have to mention that it would accrue to the benefit of ALL Guyanese if these investigations were carried out, and fixes implemented, before any FCPF funds were disbursed! Best regards Roger Williams Guyana "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen."

2006 Auditor General’s report states Govt. abuses public funds… Billions unaccounted for ….
AUGUST 8, 2008 | BY KNEWS | FILED UNDER NEWS:
HTTP://WWW.KAIETEURNEWSONLINE.COM/2008/08/08/2006-AUDITOR-GENERAL%E2%80%99S-REPORT-STATES-GOVT-ABUSES-PUBLIC-FUNDS/

Despite the fact that the Auditor General Report for Guyana came in one year late, it has proved to be very revealing. The report on the audited public accounts of Guyana and on the accounts of ministries, departments and regions for the year ending December 31, 2006 has verified a complaint by the Parliamentary Opposition parties regarding the Contingencies Fund. According to the report presented to the National Assembly by the Auditor General, the Contingencies Fund continued to be abused, with amounts drawn from the Fund being utilised to satisfy expenditure that did not meet the eligibility criteria as defined in the Act. “According to the statement, amounts totalling $3.945 billion were drawn from the Fund by way of 138 advances….As at 31 December 2006, fortynine of these advances, totalling $1.721 billion, remained outstanding.” The report, which was made public yesterday, after it was presented to the Speaker the previous week, also noted that amounts totalling $579.438M were shown as contingent liabilities for entities that were no longer in existence, yet the Ministry of Finance and the Accountant General’s Department have still not taken steps to have these liabilities transferred to the public debt. As regards the affairs at Transport and Harbours Department (T&HD), the Department continued to request, and was granted, blanket waivers to award contract selectively. This selective tendering was done without the requisite pre-qualification of contactors and the invitation of at least three contractors to bid for these contracts. The Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation was also cited on the executive summary, and caused raised eyebrows. According to the Auditor General, GPHC, which is now a separate entity from the Ministry of Health, continued to use the Ministry’s Cabinet approval (funds) to purchase drugs and medical supplies from specialised agencies both local and overseas. $608.4 M SPENT ON MEDICAL SUPPLIES. HOSPITAL CANNOT ACCOUNT FOR PURCHASES

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“It did not re-tender or obtain a new no-objection from Cabinet for the purchases of drugs and medical supplies…Further, during 2006, amounts totalling $608.406M were expended on drugs and medical supplies…However, the corporation could not totally account for drugs and medical supplies purchased, since there was no central point of accountability.” In relation to Customs and Trade Administration, the Auditor General noted 17 Permits for Immediate Delivery (PID), with a total value of $2.832 billion, had not yet been perfected at the time of the audit in January 2007. Incoming vessels at ports in Guyana totalled 1,089. However, completed ship’s files in respect of 243 ships were not submitted to the Quality Review Section, and as such, were not made available for audit examination. $11M PAID FOR ARMS, AMMO IN 2003, YET TO BE DELIVERED In relation to the Ministry of Home Affairs, it was noted that a quantity of arms and ammunition, to the value of $11.160M, which were paid for in 2003, had not yet been delivered, nor has the Ministry been able to recover the amount paid. It was also noted in the report that several ministries and departments also recorded overstatements on their appropriation accounts, and the unspent amounts have not been refunded, “…Subvention agencies not returning the unspent portions of amounts paid over to them for specific expenditure.” The Auditor General also cited in his report what he called the overpayment of contracts. “Several Ministries and Regions have not recovered amounts overpaid on various contracts in prior periods….In addition, some of these Ministries and Regions, such as, Education, Amerindian Affairs, Regions Two, Three, Six, Seven and Ten continued to have overpayments on various contracts during 2006…One such example was recorded under the Ministry of Education, where $10.982M was overpaid on eleven projects which were mainly for the rehabilitation and extension to schools.” $13.6M SPENT ON HIRING VEHICLES FROM A PERSON HIRED AS A MAID In relation to the Guyana Defence Force, it was noted that the Force continued to hire vehicles from a civilian and members of the Force. During 2006, one hundred and one payments, totalling $13.697M, were expended on hiring of vehicles owned by one civilian, who is employed as a maid, and nine members of the Guyana Defence Force. This was a serious breach of the regulations, which strictly prohibit sponsoring of tenders for Government contracts by Government Officers. Gifts also raised eyebrows, with the Auditor General noting that the continued lack of reporting and accounting for all gifts to Ministries, Departments and Regions resulted in the miscellaneous receipts of $2.053B at December 31, 2006 being understated by an undetermined amount. As it relates to bank accounts, several transfers from other accounts to the Consolidated Fund were not effected, and several accounts had overdrafts. This was documented as follows: Transfers not effected (i) The amount of approximately $7.190 billion, representing balances held in 13 special accounts; (ii) The balance of $34.336M held in the General Account (iii) The balance of $527.139M held in Non-Sub Accounting Ministries and Departments’ Bank Account (iv) The balances of 66 inactive bank accounts, of which eight had balances in excess of $100M. (b)Accounts with overdrafts were identified in two categories:

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the old Consolidated Fund bank account was overdrawn by $46.906 billion at 31 December 2006; and Forty-two inactive accounts had overdrafts totalling $685.991M. Of these accounts, 24 were overdrawn by amounts in excess of $1M.

The Fiscal Management and Accountability Act 2003 (FMA Act) provides for the regulation of the preparation and execution of the annual budget, the receipt, control and disbursement of public monies, and the accounting for public monies, and is the most vital legislation governing the transparent and efficient management of the finances of Guyana. According to this Act, a number of Public Accounts Statements are required to be prepared and submitted.

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