No lessons are learned

Last Updated on Monday, 20 February 2017, 8:42 by Denis Chabrol

Even a cursory look at ongoing developments makes it clear that no lessons are learned from prior mistakes, prior times, and prior regimes.  It is not one place or group where this becomes apparent, but in a more than a few sensitive places and involving unreconstructed people positioned to perpetuate the absurdities and gross derelictions that once and still prevail.

These absurdities and derelictions of duty are expected from City Hall; despite the bluster its limited people just do not know better, and efforts at forcing correction of the record reek of buffoonery and the old heavy-handedness.  What else can be said about the entire handling of the whole parking meter ugliness from the beginning to today?  What good, if any, can be said of the way in which this project, this present and future reality, was hurled at the public, and the now head-on collision still disentangling?

But it is not just City Hall where failures unfold; there are other pivotal places where these medieval mentalities and practices show up; they have no place in a modern ethical Guyanese world, one that furnishes some hope of progress, even if by the speck.  As examples, there are the matters revolving around the recruitment of a CEO for the Public Procurement Commission (PPC), and that GPL contract award taken hackled before the courts.  In view of the results and rising rancor, not altogether misplaced, loud, probably incriminating questions have to be raised about integrity of process; and by extension, this first interrogates, and then scourges, the integrity of related personnel, too.  It just should not be; not in this day and age; and not when there is all this talk of new ways, new standards, and new visions.  Where is the corresponding action?

In terms of the PPC movements (perhaps attitudes), I think Mr. Goolsarran was right to be dismayed over how he was treated, along with all the dark suspicions of how he was viewed.  It might be reflexive in this sensitive environment, but sometimes there are those whose very actions go far to provide corroboration as to the obvious nature of things.  Nevertheless, I felt that the former Auditor General lost some luster when he followed up with public personal marketing.  It would have been better if he had stepped aside and bowed out with honor intact, and with palpable, but nuanced, contempt for the crude maneuvers of the new political highbrows and guardians.

Looking at this from another angle, it could be that the former Auditor General retained some bad blood that is linkable to his post 1992 audit work.  The tattered and battered Public Accounts revelations should come to mind.  If he had been chosen by the PPC powers, he would have ended up as the right man in the wrong place in a wrong crowd that had wrong ideas, while overseeing wrong approaches.  Now there is a rich overflowing Pandora’s Box; the beast of contracts prowls with monstrous appetite; it knows the territory well.  It is not easily managed or sated; it has little regard for ethics.  In fact, such is spat upon, albeit a little more carefully these days.

For its part, the government, its agencies, and its handpicked agents must all be aware of the brave, new, sensitive, and skeptical world in which operations and deliverables occur.  It is a knife’s edge.  There does not have to be present either the sharply disputatious or the mildly controversial; what is not there will be interpreted or imagined or manufactured to suit those who see themselves as jilted and victims.  The courts wait; and so do the streets and social media for the unleashing of objections, and the tabling of the sinister.  Grounds have been provided for some of these positions.

Arguably, the parking meter disgrace has offered the opening and the accelerant to probe, criticize, and slow down, if not thwart, anything that does not smell right; or is deodorized with old familiar scents.  After all, some of those objecting are no saints themselves, but closer to serial practitioners of dirty tricks.  They can identify underhandedness without seeing it; it comes from long association with the lowdown.

In all of this, I arrive at several hard incontestable conclusions.  They are: a) political bureaucrats are mired in warped ancient mindsets; b) these same sentinels need eyeglasses, hearing aids, and flashlight –put otherwise, they are lacking; c) processes and associated parties crumble with each disclosure and degradation; and d) nothing is confidential, as restrictions limiting to need-to-know only prove to be momentary and illusionary.  This is the open book of the jostling cacophonous Guyanese market.  It is for the better.

The foregoing is best summed up with that, once again, very timely and immortal reminder: “Dis time nah lang time….”  It should be recalled that, outside of the original lyricist and popularizing vocalist, that rhyme was made into a repeat hit by none other than a now pastured political leader.  Clearly, he failed to share that sentiment with family.