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OPINION: GHK Lall is tottering on the brink of total and irreversible collapse

Last Updated on Friday, 8 September 2023, 14:49 by Denis Chabrol

By Dr Randolph Persaud, Professor Emeritus

Dr. Randolph Persaud

Every now and again someone emerges in this land who claims to be the new Messiah. They come in big, bad, and with bad-ass bravado. They spout, tout, and shout. They assume the identity of saints, geniuses, pundits, men who will knock senses in the minds of a lost nation. They talk and write like Naipaul’s Elder God. GHK Lall is one such man. He is the latest iteration in that genre.

This GHK Lall, and all the others like him before, eventually succumb, not to mistreatment from anyone, but from the collapse of their own big, oversized, spiraling out control of ego. Lall picked a fight, the end of which will not be his choosing. Only days ago, he vowed to “Urinate” on people he labeled “dogs.” But now, today, his latest column is pregnant with fear, remorse, sadness, and all the accoutrements of ignominy.

The truth is Guyana does have people who are competent, people like Joel Bhagwandin, who are dedicated to careful, deliberate, grounded analyses of the both the macro-structural dynamics of the economy, as well as the micro-physics of organizational performance. Bhagwandin’s review of what transpired at the Gold Board under the Grander administration is a gamechanger. He found a litany of decisions based on structural incompetence at a time when Mr. GHK Lall had a management role at the organization.

Bhagwandin’s findings include the following:

1. “The Board disposed non-current assets totaling $21,180,846 as of December 31, 2017. However, such disposals were not approved by the Board of Directors. There appears to be a breakdown of internal controls and failure to comply with financial procedures as set out by the Ministry of Finance with regards to disposal of non-current assets”

2.  Employment costs which amounted to $82.4 million in 2014 increased to $186.5 million by the end of 2019, representing a cumulative increase of 126%.‌

3. Meal allowances which amounted to $1.153 million in 2014 increased by $3.330 million in 2019, representing a cumulative increase of 189%.‌

4.  Directors’ fees which amounted to $402k in 2014 increased to $2.619 million by the end of 2019, representing a cumulative increase of 551%.

5. Other expenses increased from $7.554 million in 2014 to $63.141 million by the end of 2019, representing a cumulative increase of 740%. Bearing in mind that it is unclear what are the expense items that made up the “other” expense line item in the financial statements (Ibid).‌

What we have here is nothing less than cowardice of the ones enjoying the benefits then, but are now preaching high morality, ethics and other narratives of political titillation used by the likes of GHK Lall to divide this country. Robin Singh put GHK’s failure to investigate fundamental problems at the Gold Board thus – “a sad, self-indulgent wallow in the muddy glory hole of those who quit for fear of defeat (8/1/2023). Fear of defeat! This is a signature feature of GHK Lall. You may have noticed how often he writes about fear.

The same GHK Lall who declared days ago – “Go ahead! Sic the dogs. I urinate on them,” is now begging for understanding and forgiveness. No longer able to sustain the nonsense he writes every day; he now wants to be Vice President Jagdeo and President Ali best friends. Here is the pleading – “I am not the enemy, not even an adversary. I will now table what I intend to breathe life into at every opportunity, so help me, God.”

The wallowing gets worse when he promises – “No noise. No frills. No self-promotion and no self-congratulation.” He continues – “I am a servant.”

Well Sir, if you want your apology accepted, you must conduct yourself with some dignity. You can’t threaten to “urinate” on people because they disagree with you, or when you are exposed for your Gold Board days, you claim to be a victim. You can’t be an anti-development ideologue, and a PPP basher and then make it appear you are such an innocent little lamb. You can’t be a supporter of a coalition that participated in an attempted electoral heist and then expect the Guyanese people to see your misguided ramblings in the papers every day. Stop it!

Dr. Randy Persaud is Adviser, Office of the President, Guyana.

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September 2023