Floodgate of corruption

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Dear Editor,

Has the floodgate to corruption been opened? Is it much different from the previous regime? Have a new set of scamps replaced the old set? Nothing changes. The more things seem to change, they more they remain the same or get worse.

In fact, it seems worse now than before. Under the previous regime, more people shared in the loot. Now, the loot is concentrated in the hands of a few greedy ones. The government work is not shared.

Everywhere there is a cry of corruption. Has volume of corruption been so high? Every Ministry, except Social Security, Labour, and Public Administration, is implicated in graft. People talk. Workers or staff also talk. They are not blind. Ministers and high officials live the good life just like under the coalition. The word is almost every official in the higher ups seems to be on the take. Names are called and amounts received given. A political party is also given funds for its political campaign. An opposition politician is getting a big cut to stay quiet. Percentages demanded are boldly stated averaging 20 but in some cases 25%. Lower layers of bureaucrats also ask for their ‘lil thing’. They see the people above them getting big drawbacks; they too want a share. They boldly ask for their cut. Who can blame them!

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In one Ministry, engineers are openly and boldly asking contractors for their share. They too want a fancy house and a nice car. They ask for big money like their bosses. They cite how much money has gone to Ministers and senior officials. The engineers are asked to fix documents to benefit preferred companies and those at senior functionaries. So why can’t they also get their cut!

I drive around and take notice of the newly paved roads and other infrastructure projects. Under the previous regime, the roads held up for a period of time. Over the last sixteen months, newly paved roads have collapsed within weeks if not days. Road work has been substandard. As I drive around, a casual inspection would show how sub-standard the road works and culverts are. That is not surprising with inexperienced contractors being given contracts for which they lack the skills and capacity.

The Eccles By Pass road has been given to preferred contractors. Roads are not completed on schedule. Most of the other contracts have been given to contractors of a particular religious background, most of who are new in that field. At least under the previous regime, contracts were given to contractors of all religious backgrounds. Billions of dollars have been paid for pump stations and other projects but in many cases hardly any work was done.

This government is behaving like its predecessor that it is not coming back. Has the power behind the throne been told by the international forces that government must be changed in 2025? Is this why officials are making their heights. They are doing the same thing officials in the coalition did – engrossed in getting drawbacks and fixing their sons, other relatives, friends to get contracts. Citizens need to wake up and think of how to close the floodgate of corruption.

Yours truly,
Mukesh Narine



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