by GHK Lall
Some sharp thoughts were provoked by the article titled, “Harmon on 1.76b judgment to TPL…PPP left some deep dark holes” (KN April 24). I usually do not find much with which to agree on with the Hon. Minister, but on this point of “some deep dark holes” I am with him and even think that he has understated considerably the situation.
“Some deep dark holes” should be more accurately recharacterized as many (perhaps countless) of such abominations. For whenever one hole is discovered and finalized through the steep price paid, there are others waiting to be stumbled upon and bring crashing forward on the face; for whenever it is believed that all apparent holes have been plugged, others rear their monstrous heads. In my view, there are many TPL holes out there ticking away relentlessly and dangerously. Some are tangible and very well known, but there are multiple others secreted away like concealed booby traps, waiting to blow up and maim at the most unexpected time, and in the most expensive fashion.
As things go in a poor country, 1.76b is not chump change. Still, that sum fades into insignificance when compared to the cancerous ravages of the now widespread money laundering legacy bequeathed to this nation by an acutely venal PPP. Without a doubt that is the deepest darkest hole of all. Most will concur that the insatiable demand side of the narcotics equation in advanced societies provide the overflowing criminal cash context that flows into hapless vulnerable places, such as Guyana. Yet, there is amazement that law-abiding citizens in this country view its insidious shadow as something not worthy of national attention and effort. At best, the reactions are either casual or dismissive. But, however looked at, the near universal local scourge of money laundering is the deepest darkest hole of all and can be directly traceable to the reign of the PPP.
I look around, and invite anyone with some reasoning and grounding, to discern the questionable legitimacy of some popular household names, some longstanding places, and even some blue-blood ones. Local money laundering is not just about regional or urban affairs alone; or commercial monuments or mom-and-pop undertakings alone; or institutional or individual pursuits alone, but accumulatively a national pursuit and a national culture. From all the evidence accumulating, and mainly irrefutable, money laundering is not only the deepest darkest hole, but a vast immeasurable moonscape of the unreal and the unimaginable. To emphasize: it is limited by neither depth nor width but is national in degree and reach.
Citizens should think of this: the everyday products of life (food, clothing, medicine, banking, and transportation to name a few), in some form or fashion could very well have both origins and lifeblood intermingled with dirty money pretending to be clean. Drill down far enough, connect seemingly scattered unrelated dots, and attach players, lifestyles, and attitudes and an indefensible set of circumstances emerge. Unsurprisingly, the robust presences in this deepest darkest hole of them all labor powerfully to keep matters that way.
Aside from the saturation of physical goods with this irremovable taint, there is this embedded cultural addiction with the fast, the easy, and the illicit. Through this mindset, there are also the distortions that impregnate corporate, political, and institutional practices and motives. As a by-product of this reality, there is this quandary: speak to a Guyanese (including apparently aboveboard ones) and two questions come: what is his or her real objective? And what is the number of such objectives? The few untouched uncontaminated cells in the body that is Guyanese existence are under attack and fighting a trial of survival against forces arrayed against from all directions and with significant strengths.
To repeat something I pointed to in 2015, on every occasion the government clambers out of what is believed to be the last of those deep dark holes, it steps (or falls) right into more of the same. It is going from a hole to a hole, and as created by its predecessor. The more I search history for a perversity equivalent to the PPP, the more I come up short. This is a retreating group of losers that left so many ticking devices, so many poisoned pools, and so many Fifth Columns that it has no peer. I must acknowledge that they do teach them well at Patrice Lumumba.
I do not know which band of people, or which government, would desire such a treacherous inheritance. All along, those who wish for the country to continue to be one deep dark hole look at the clean high ground and insist that below sea level (and under a rock) is a better way, and a better place. This is how vermin flourish and where night crawlers nourish. It is, also, immensely profitable to the interrelated circles, but destructively impoverishing to the country as an entity. But who cares?