PARTY TIME – GUYANA PNCR CHAIRMANSHIP

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It would be merciful if when elections came around there were a moratorium on dirty politics.

But respites from what- ifs and false equivalence and straight up manufacturing of alleged evidence to serve political opportunism are impossible because a misshapen form of  politics has subverted its original intent.

There is this school of thought –amongst politicians whose ambitions have them only at its nucleus– that voter frame of mind is a product of their delivery of clever political one – liners and a saturation of doubt about the deeds of their opponents.

Opposition research is certainly not illegal but when done without requisite finesse and opponents appear more to be maligned than confronted, voters take a dim view of the castigators and are liable to punish the attackers, rather than the intended target.

This transactional reporting makes its home on the journalism of black market of sorts, where news that’s not new but perceivably deleterious is harbored and makes its way through news organs competing to carry the ‘breaking news’…albeit old.

The regurgitation of the contract scandal involving HDM Labs and its $336 million contract to a Dr. Hardat Singh which has been making the rounds…again…is not about information.

It’s a timely resurrection of a pharmaceutical deal that was the inheritance of Volda Lawrence who was reassigned to Ministry Health at a time when her predecessor, Dr. George Norton, was scandal –ridden. Of note is that this resurrection, which failed to ascend on the third day previously, has been quite successful now that operatives of the PNCR are vying for its Chairmanship.

But before we go there, let’s talk Pharmaceutical Contracts for a minute…just to see why Hardat, a friend that is closer than most to men of political influence, is enjoying rebirth in news media, at this strangely coincidental time.

Some of us may remember the battle between the Opposition (now the Coalition) back in 2013 and the Ramotar government’s favoring of the ‘No Objection’ rule…

….which gave the government the right to say “no objection” to any procurement contract which, as you would imagine, gave rise to, at least, the perception of massive corruption as certain names benefitted, comparatively exponentially, when the Parliament had no objection to their contracts.

It should be noted that the evaluation criteria set out in the prequalification documents to win contracts demanded suppliers have 30,000 square feet of storage with three separate temperature zones – like Dr. RanjiSingh ‘Bobby’ Ramroop, owner of Guyana Pharmaceuticals Corporation and several other businesses and reputed best friend of Bharat Jagdeo, had. So Bobby’s contracts generally met the “no objection” criteria.

The discovery that a Dr. Hardat Singh got a fast tracked contract for 600 million USD, beating out a reputable and regular supplier, Ansa McAl, who bid only USD 366 million has left many unanswered questions – the easy one being why was HDM authorized to get that specific contract…when its registered facilities are in residential zoning districts. The same was noted when the grifting Parking Meter game came to town. That business, too, was registered in residential districts and like HDM Labs, the property taxes paid were not for the conduct of business but residential occupation.

If Guyana is doing business as a Republic- and not of the pejorative kind- it would behove them to, at least, ensure that the address to which they entrust the country’s records is not in violation of occupancy regulations. Nassau County has zoned this building as residential and not business. It would be quite embarrassing if Nassau County officials were to raid this home for doing business out of a building that pays only residential taxes and find that Guyana is amongst its clients.

One would have thought that the reappearance of this pharmaceutical deal, which was filleted to the bone a year ago, was to explain why Hardat, the highest bidder, got the contract … along with the friendships that he and his extended circle have with several key government officials …which should not be viewed as tangential.

So, now that this story has curiously made its way back into the news cycle, having been in repose for the better part of a year, it would be prudent to evaluate its intended purpose…particularly since its re-appearance sheds no new light but shades Volda Lawrence in the color of corruption…in spite of her already being found to be blameless.

The re-entry of the ‘Pharmaceutical Scandal’ into public discourse is a perverted dynamic that satisfies the cravings of political battles…as they have come to be known in Guyana. Buze Out and Cuss Out are standard fare and the less pugilistic attacks are framed in smear. Smoke screens and fallacious suggestions are deployed to infect logical thinking and to make narratives appear organic traditional journalism – when they’re often the screams of sycophants on social media co opting a candidate’s name or cause to appear as though they are part of a formal campaign, or those bandying for reward through the brazen political indecency of displacing facts with conjecture.

Candidates or Parties seldom renounce these runaway trains because in their constricted view of campaigning, the stench of exposure is exposure, nevertheless.

Support has become an ill-defined phenomenon.

A quote from a famous politician says is: “The intellectual cannot operate at room temperature.”  

Translation for context?

Politicians cannot be laid back, resting in the comfort of black market journalism where zingers and inaccuracies by those claiming support weave the fabric of the political contender.

We have a civic duty to demand that politicians reflect what we think our country means.  It’s up to us to derail the practice of politicians to pursue victory, above all else, for themselves and a constituency of their friends, those who treat politics as war – which runs counter to basic democratic values but gives them that sense of demagogic importance.

With testosterone on blast, Basil Williams, with an an air of dynasty, having never been challenged, proclaimed  “Who wants to challenge me must show their track record of achievements for the PNC… while Joe Harmon, with a tone of assertion, described the PNCR as an extremely democratic Party.

Volda Lawrence, the less heard of contender,  has decided to run for PNCR Party Chair and has been greeted with a rerun of an unfounded accusation to cast her as untrustworthy.
It’s a besmirching tactic…intended to scare her back to her ‘position’ where women get involved in politics only to the extent that they support men.

So we’re off to the sexism game where men, by ‘virtue’ of boldness, prevail by status quo and women, too ‘fair’ to be bold,  are considered too benevolent to be politically astute.

Williams will patrol the moat and Harmon will add superlatives to the ‘Democracy’ he plans to exercise…extremely.

With the two ‘over dogs’ already on course for a clamorous battle, we’re sensing that this victory will not be the result of the survival of the shrillest.

We’ll be listening to the quiet contender.

 

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