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OPINION: The reinstatement of Sherrod Duncan; if this is clean governance, then keep it!

by GHK Lall

I read that the General Manager of the state-run Guyana Chronicle, has been empowered to return to the job. I think that Mr. Duncan should do the decent thing, the honorable thing, and resign. I learn, also, that this surprising development was cleared by the Hon. Prime Minister. I suggest that Mr. Nagamootoo proceed voluntarily on a permanent leave of absence. That would be to save some face by not forcing the hands of the government (president or cabinet or whomever) to dismiss him.

From my perspective, and based on the public record, there was enough evidence that confirms some irregularities took place, and that they were traceable to the GM. Irregularities is my painkiller of choice on this occasion. For clearly, try as the powers may to dance on pinheads, matters were amiss, poor actions taken, and the follow-up probe pointed to an evidentiary chain that was revealing, if not condemning. The situation in the sum of its related parts speaks to more than procedural slippages and technical murkiness. I know that today is my day for euphemisms; yet even those fail to obscure the shenanigans that did occur, and with established footprints leading all the way to the quarry. The scent was so strong that it would have been picked up by those with blindfolds on and chronic sinusitis.

It is a little unnerving to me that something as open and shut, as well as simple and straightforward, as this affair not worth chronicling, should provoke so much dispute, focus on vote count (or whether a vote did happen and was recorded), and the last ‘jumbie lash’ of high-level intervention. That was the ‘jumbie lash’ that broke the jackass’s back. I can’t help but suppose that many well-placed people in the corridors of power in this country take the people in this society for complete jackasses. It is even more scornful, and more unfathomable also more unacceptable, when due process was followed.

If ever there was a case that did not require painstaking dissembling, nor unsustainable hedging, nor rickety defending, this was it. The only parties who did the right thing—and unhesitatingly and unequivocally—were the three directors that resigned. I believe in anger, dismay, and disgust. There is delight that there are such folks still around in this cesspit. Although, I do not avail myself of its journalistic wisdom, I must wonder how the Guyana Chronicle will present this rather shabby story involving one of its own.

I must wonder further how does this government believe that it could continue to maintain any modicum of credibility when it engages in these, shall I say (honeydew again), strange interventions and decisions. This government came into being on the back of addressing and attacking forthrightly the corruption that clobbered the other government all the way into the ranks of the opposition. Corruption in the business of the state mostly signified a bottomless bag of dirty tricks involving the people’s money. Add to that abuse of power through misuse of office, and a Prime Minister unthinkingly (and uncaringly) stepping forward, waving his wand, and pardoning administrative malfeasance. Just like that! I must ask this question: How many high political officials in this land possess such authority to grant pardons?

I am aware (somewhat disinterestedly and vaguely) of some leadership conflict and struggle, and some kind of positioning, with backing by others, for the number two position, at least on paper, in the country. And that this matter that ensnared the General Manager and who is supporting whom, has some bearing. That may be so, but if this is the way that this government insists on performing its duties and delivering on promises, then the only people who will persevere and remain in its corner are fanatics, fools, and flimflam artists. All certifiable frauds. They are so many of them around, that the withdrawal of the truly conscientious and those desirous of genuine change may neither be missed nor concerning.

Now if I recall accurately, there was somebody or a few more, who felt the lash when this troubling soap opera first unfolded. I understand that they were recognized as dedicated and quality people, a rarity. Who cares? Now there are resignations at the director level, with more promised in the employee ranks and again, with the same baleful response: who cares?

To close this out, if this is clean governance, then I shudder to think what an unclean one is like. I, for one, have grave reservations about the principles underpinning more than a few decisions issuing from judicial chambers. By the same token, I must register my total disparagement of what goes on in the government’s high command. The thing speaks for itself.

Mr. GHK Lall is a Guyanese author, columnist and former financial analyst on Wall Street.