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|Resignation or suspension not enough, jail them|
|Tuesday, 17 July 2012 21:46|
The number of reports on high-level corruption that are being made public today was unthinkable a year ago. During the last election campaign, presidential candidate, Donald Ramotar pledged to root out this cancer wherever it raises its ugly head. Today, President Ramotar is not being given the credit he deserves.
We have seen corruption exposed at GT&T; the National Communications Network; and more recently, The Guyana Police Force.
But in all these, I am yet to see hard evidence that any high-ranking official gets the punishment he/she deserves. Resignations or suspensions are simply not good enough, and should not be an option. These culprits must be fired and prosecuted for violating the public trust. And if found guilty, jail them and confiscate all assets bought with monies from corrupt practices. There could be no half measures for discouraging the scourge of corruption in our society. It must be dealt with decisively and fairly, regardless of one’s position, association or affiliation. You do the crime, you pay the time. It’s as simple as that.
In a recent article, “Hotel, furniture business busted for electricity theft” (Kaieteur News, July 17), I was pleased to read the names of businesses that were caught by the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) stealing electricity, and the disclosure that GPL has “arrested 122 persons for the year as its campaign against electricity theft, countrywide, intensifies.”
Publishing the names of persons and businesses caught stealing electricity should be considered on a weekly basis to embarrass and discourage the culprits. But this continuing campaign by GPL, although it needs to be applauded, is the equivalent to putting a band-aid on a bullet wound while the bullet remains embedded in the victim.
Earlier this year I wrote an article, “Corruption runs deep within the GPL, and Dindyal seems to be totally oblivious” (Kaieteur News, Feb. 10). In it, I disclosed a phone conversation I had with Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GPL, Bharat Dindyal, who appeared very defensive, very naive and sometimes totally oblivious of what actually goes on in a company he’s responsible for.
During a visit to Guyana last January, I discovered rampant corruption by a senior manager in the Loss Reduction Unit at GPL, who ‘cuts deals’ with persons caught stealing electricity, and allows them to pay significantly less than the ‘calculated rate’ without prosecution.
This corrupt GPL official gets a sizeable part of that money, and a smaller amount is paid in to GPL. As part of the deal, the thief is cleared to receive a new meter account, and upon installation, the new meter is “tampered” to read low consumption, which records less than the amount of electricity actually consumed.
To date, I have not heard of any ‘shake-up’ in the Loss Reduction Unit or anywhere else at GPL to convince me that this rogue official and others like him are not carrying on business as usual. And the more disconnections GPL makes, the more prosperous these corrupt officials become. It is a thriving business for them, as their salaries alone cannot support the cars they drive and homes they live in. GPL’s commercial losses are estimated at $2 billion annually, with approximately 30 per cent of the population illegally connected.
In his address on June 28 at the 2012 Annual General Meeting of the Private Sector Commission (PSC), His Excellency Donald Ramotar urged the private sector to play their part in stopping the scourge of corruption. “It is not the responsibility of the government alone, but that of the private sector. I look forward to the private sector taking a proactive stance in isolating the corrupt within our midst.. I am committed to addressing these issues.” The President asked the PSC not to be lured into bribing public officials as, “We will try to get to both the corrupted and the corrupter. Both are criminally culpable.”
President Ramotar has made it very clear where he stands on corruption. But he has to make an example of those who blatantly and selfishly disrespect his authority, undermining his ability to fulfil his campaign commitment to the nation. As he said recently: “There should be no sacred cows. If by chance there is alleged corruption, then the law should take its course.” Mr. President, are they hearing you?
- Clearing up some obvious serious misconceptions as to the purpose, use and functions of the Lighthouse
- ‘Gay’ Guyanese speaks out
- Opposition antics are about gaining power by all means
- The leopard does not change its spots
- “Dis time na lang time”
- When will they ever learn?
- Another Chinese investment is being called into question
- Fair grading of paddy is of paramount importance
- Lest we forget, ‘every dog has his day’
- International experts on Guyana’s EU FLEGT process should apply caution
- Apology demanded from Kaieteur News for Kissoon’s vilifying article on Mahatma Gandhi
- The common thread is a lack of respect for people and life
- Carl Parker is hiding from the truth
- Such lawlessness must stop in Guyana
- Janette Bulkan is engaged in axe-grinding
- Another grizzly tale in the chapter of fear, intimidation
- Georgetown has been in a poor state a long time
- Women Miners Association lauded for dedication, human services
- Correcting Peeping Tom’s inaccuracies
- The harassment of Ms. Sooba should cease