by Alan Fenty, Stabroek News
The Special (?) Organised Crime Unit, the State Assets Recovery (?) Unit, the Financial Intelligence (?) Unit, The Customs Anti-Narcotic Unit, the Investigative Arms of our National Revenue Authority, the newer “units” and departments under the Police, especially Mr Blanhum’s Criminal Investigation Department CID- all the above, before and after the APNU+AFC installation in the corridors of authority, power and responsibility, were/are meant to secure us, taxpayers and law-abiding citizens, from those who pilfer(ed) our Public Purse.
Those entities mentioned above are also tasked with identifying and prosecuting all those who (allegedly) were successful in stealing our State’s assets and various types of resources. Up front, I’d like to request that the authorities explain in simple layman’s language, just what is the remit, the specific tasks, of each agency. I do not mean every single detail of planned or typical operations because that would compromise the very essence of their existence and role. But we the taxpayers, often the ultimate victims, should be privy to how theses revitalised investigative and collection institutions will punish those executive, political crooks and secure and restore much of what was “mis-appropriated” from our welfare- our communities, our institutions, our future.
SOCU, the crooks’ representatives
My readers would realise that I have decided to hold dear to my breast the recommendations and promises of persons like Dr Clive Thomas, Minister Khemraj Ramjattan and Mr Anand Goolsarran, to mention just three. Why? Well the first two, especially, have promised to find, charge and prosecute all those who stole in one manner or the other our assets.
I am persuaded that building irrefutable cases against the thieves will take time and prosecutorial diligence. I’ll be patient but, Frankly Speaking, to me these gentlemen’s credibility will be on the line!
I remain confident of their success however. Because they are attracting the expertise of overseas experts. One is working solidly with Dr Thomas’ SARU. But it was the revelations of the gentleman who spent time with SOCU which caught my rapt attention. Then troubled me.
Why? It’s not merely because the Irishman Head of the Fraud Company, the Consultant Dr Sam Sittlington who was “embedded” with SOCU for a significant period, chose to lay bare both the potential and problems of that vital unit, but because of current weaknesses which, I suspect, will make current crooks, future crooks, and their representatives smile in anticipation of any legal showdown. The kleptocratic Community will now be busy pre-empting the intricacies and technicalities of potential bearings. If the “good guys”, of detection and prosecution, do not prepare extremely well to succeed with the promises of Messrs Ramjattan and Thomas.
The Irish Financial-Crime Expert enumerated both the promise, challenges and weaknesses of SOCU’s administration and operations- and made some eighteen (18) fundamental and far reaching recommendations SOCU – and CANU and all other related agencies – ignore those proposals at their own peril.
However accurately, I painstakingly identified the consultant’s 18 observations and proposals. My layman’s instinct zeroed in on, as starters, these: “According to AML/CTF legislation tax evasion is a serious offence.” (That is known.) “Only SOCU can conduct money-laundering investigations. Although some tax information is being supplied upon request by SOCU…This again is a very tedious process… as GRA appears reluctant to supply information due to their secrecy provisions” (even though a section of AML/CTF legislation overrides those secrecy obligations.)
It should not be beyond the State’s investigators and legal minds to anticipate and counter successfully the crooks’ crack representatives.
After all, as Ambassador Holloway recently reminded: we now have local legislation which even allows Guyanese investigators to access full info about the (suspicious) financial standing of Guyanese Citizens with bank accounts in the USA, when requested. What a powerful tool of information-sharing!
You see folks all I want, and you should too, is that the crooks get caught for stealing the people’s wealth and/or the crooks return to our poor, that wealth. Okay? Meanwhile, let’s keep reminding Minister Khem and Dr CY about their solemn pledges to us!
Rodney (report), Rupert, WPA, healing
Talk about Walter Rodney’s Death can still resonate with me. I was in Trinidad on the Friday night of the Bomb. I watched our Consular rep in Port-of-Spain frantically haul down the Golden Arrowhead from in front of the Consular Office and his residence. Even many Trinis were offended by the manner of death of one of the Caribbean’s’ Thinkers. (And I was one year into an acting senior position at the then Ministry of Information. The death, the furore, the funeral, the moments – unforgettable.)
Now, we -non-PPP types – know why Mr Ramotar mounted the Rodney C-O-I 21 years after 1992. Frankly Speaking, it gives me no satisfaction to declare, from my very own perspective, that in May 2015 last, PNC loyalists and APNU newcomers would not have been swayed away by what was long held true. PNC-APNU+AFC would have lost no votes! Even if the COI pleased the PPP and its fans.
But the PNC surely cannot retain both those “votes” and its integrity and innocence even as it enjoys governmental authority. I’m re-stating that what was/in people’s conscience was/is even more important than the inconclusive inquiry’s findings. And now my own heart and mind wonder about the WPA’s Roopnaraine, Thomas, Trotman, et al.
Dr David Hinds, please. Do a piece on what Walter would have advised Dr Rupert and Dr Clive now in government. Not about the C-O-I report, but about working with old PNC Comrades for the good of today’s generation. That ought to be a fascinating piece.
For me, South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Soul-Oriented Sessions cannot be replicated here. But perhaps healing could eventually flow even where forgive-and-forget reconciliation stays in the mind’s conscience. Discussion…
.1) Former GPL CEO Welch seems to be the first casualty to feel the reprimand of the Granger Government—in terms of non-PPP loyalists that is.
.2) A kind of footnote to my main serving above is this: a taxi- driver told me of one major (suspected) Drug Baron who is now inviting him to church! I’ll soon remind you-all of Proverbs (Holy Bible) too.
.3) I’m a “Columbus” here – not realising that we now have nine (9) municipalities! Name them…
.4) The best reasons for voting came from, to my mind, friendly American Mr Bryan Hunt!
.5) Come on now you real Trade Unions – you are to get registered, fully, by or before May Day coming.
`Til next week.