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----- Original Message ----
From: derryck_sylvester <derryck@...>
Sent: Tuesday, May 23, 2006 7:28:45 PM
Subject: [guyanese_genealogy] Politics In Guyana & Trinidad-2006:
POLITICS IN GUYANA & TRINIDAD-2006:
"Those who cry for Sash Sawh should read
No event in the world right now in politics, in any corner of the
globe, could more vividly be an example of opposites in culture than
Trinidad and Guyana .
In Trinidad , a man who had been Prime Minister just three years ago
will have to do two years' jail with hard labour. What this means is
that Mr. Panday will have to serve on the road gang breaking stones
or doing repair work on public infrastructure.
The hard labour penalty may kill Mr. Panday because he had by-pass
surgery a few years ago and he is in his seventies. Now here is the
part that should shock every Guyanese in whichever part of the world
they live. Mr. Panday was jailed for making a false declaration to
the Integrity Commission. In Guyana , the Opposition Leader has taken
the Government of Guyana to court for failing to consult him on the
composition of the Integrity Commission which is required under the
How frighteningly different is Guyana from Trinidad.
Mr. Panday was jailed for lying to the Integrity Commission. In
Guyana, citizens do not know anything about the Integrity Commission.
Last year the head of that body was Mrs. Gajraj, the wife of a
serving Cabinet Minister. Without making a comment on Mrs. Gajraj,
this was an example of conflict of interest. Mrs. Gajraj at the same
time was also the secretary of a religious organisation headed by
another Cabinet Minister, Mr. Reepu Daman Persaud.
Now it is quite clear that Ministers Gajraj and Persaud cannot be
blamed for having someone they know head the Integrity Commission.
Mrs. Gajraj herself cannot be held in question. But justice must not
only be done but seen to be done. Because of religious and marital
associations, the Government should not have appointed Mrs. Gajraj as
head of the Integrity Commission if only for one
reason - people will
question her appointment given those connections.
Even if the constitution stipulates that the President must consult
the Leader of the Opposition, the President should not be the person
to make the selections. Many observers believe that the present
Commissioners do not represent the totality of the Guyanese society.
I did an article last week on how I feel about the Panday case. I
believe that on the evidence presented he should have been reed.But I
did say in that essay that it strains the imagination to breaking
point to think that, as Prime Minister, Mr. Panday did not know that
Trinidad's richest citizen presented enormous sums of money to his
two daughters. Mr. Panday is facing more charges in relation to
corruption surrounding the new airport.
There is certainly more headaches for him that will test the vitality
of his defective heart. I hope sincerely that his health holds up. My
honest feeling about the verdict is that I accept it. I think the
magistrate was right to jail Basdeo Panday. The imprisonment of
Panday marks the end of an era in Trinidad and the beginning of a
new one for CARICOM. It is highly questionable that his United
National Congress will return to power in the foreseeable future.
The Panday Government was a corrupt institution. But most of all, his
tenure in Government symbolised the failure of East Indian political
leadership in the English-speaking Caribbean . Nowhere is that
failure more pronounced than in Guyana. This raises an important
academic question that Caribbean scholars ought to pursue - is there
a sociological and cultural impediment to successful Indian
leadership in politics in the West Indies ?
For me the answer is yes. It is outside the scope of a newspaper
column to offer a thesis on the subject, but the evolution of the
East Indians in
Guyana and the cultural institutions that served
their existence in Guyana and Trinidad did not prepare them for
political leadership. Caribbean East Indian politics emerged
essentially as a protest movement. In Guyana and Trinidad East Indian
leadership lacked any of the political requirements to run a
government. In Guyana , the situation at the moment is near disaster.
The essential weakness in Caribbean Indian political leadership is
the transfer of the business ethic to the administration of
government. Herein lies the reason for unprecedented corruption. A
comparison with Caribbean Africans is useful here. And one has to go
back to post-slavery sociology of the Caribbean Africans to
understand their approach to nationalism. The quintessential
difference between Caribbean East Indians and Caribbean Africans lies
in their respective approach to nationalism.African-Guyanese
sees the state as an institution
that was left to them by the
colonials for them to inherit.
The way the East Indians emerged on the plantation, they never
developed an emotional attachment to the state. The East Indians came
and were supposed to leave after their contracts were over. This
prevented a psychological attachment to the state. On the other hand,
Africans saw their liberation in the state. Herein lies the reason
for the culture of corruption among East Indian political leadership
in the Caribbean .
These are just brief notes but they will have to suffice, given the
limited space here. Nowhere in the Caribbean is the corruptibility of
the state more manifest than in Guyana today. It is no exaggeration
to say that present day Guyana has seen the most voracious types of
financial corruptibility in the history of the independent Caribbean .
The state is just being fed off by those who are legally in control
of it. The
state in Guyana has been reduced to a pie and it is being
divided up by the ruling political class, their immediate family
members, relatives and party colleagues. It is corruption gone out of
control. We grew up hearing tall stories of corruption under the
Forbes Burnham regime.
Then under divestment during the Hoyte administration, rumours turned
into facts about the selling off of state properties. Under the
present system, corruption has reached prodigious levels that
threaten the image of the CARICOM group of nations. Guyana today has
become an international embarrassment even more so now than a former
corrupt Prime Minister of the leading CARCOM nation has being jailed.
In Guyana , those who see the Sash Sawh assassination as marking a
further decline of our democracy must also understand that what
Basdeo Panday was convicted of in Trinidad is just a drop in the
ocean of what takes place among the
political directors of Guyana .
Most frightening is the knowledge that these people will never be
prosecuted, only if the government changes as in Trinidad .
That day will come soon."
In the end-Justice will be served to all who violate the laws!
The political vultures that administer the state of Guyana will
eventually implode upon themselves. They may escape legal
jurisprudence in our local courts for their crimes. But in time
justice will be done. Either to them while they are still alive, or
the confiscating of all properties that their relatives inherit,
after they are long gone.
Trust me, no corrupt government stays in power for ever. Their own
acolytes eventually remove them, if they feel manipulated and
I sincerely hope that all Guyanese at home and abroad sees this
article, and take note of the legal process and justice that
served in a Caribbean Court, for a corrupt politician and national
No one escapes the iniversal Karmic Laws or Cause & Effect. We all
have to pay for our deeds. Both Good and Bad. If not in this
physical life personally.
Then our offspring or descendents will pay for us!
Derryck S. Griffith.
Educator-Advocate & Blogger.