by Stella Ramsaroop
(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 17 August 2006)
How ironic that the PPP, Guyana's ruling government that has been plagued with incessant accusations of corruption and crime ties, has now introduced Bernard Kerik, who just pleaded guilty to charges of corruption in the U.S. in June and reportedly has his own share of crime ties, as the man to clean up the Guyana Police Force, an institution that has struggled to maintain clean cops.
If birds of a feather do indeed flock together, then perhaps this flock of birds is ethically challenged. It cannot escape anyone's attention that all three separate entities represented in this newest attempt to overhaul the GPF have some serious ethical flaws.
The PPP has sidestepped accusations of all sorts of shifty dealings, including close ties with certain drug lords. It sure makes one wonder about the extravagant houses that continue to pop up in Pradoville while the infrastructure of the nation continue to crumble.
The GPF struggles to maintain a force that is untouchable by the constant onslaught of corruption that plagues public servants as a whole in the nation. As such, it is a rather good idea to bring someone from outside of the situation to find possible remedies.
However, I have serious doubts as to what Mr. Kerik could positively contribute to Guyana's law enforcement system. We are talking about a former law enforcement official who himself was susceptible to corruption.
Kerik just pleaded guilty on two charges of corruption in June of this year. He was so disgraced in the eyes of those in his field that a Manhattan jail named in his honour was renamed the Manhattan Detention Complex so there would be no ties to Kerik.
This is one response in The New York Times article from July 3 on the renaming of the jail, "No jail needs to be named after a crook," said Monique N. Randolph, 30, of Brownsville, Brooklyn, who was visiting a relative at the jail yesterday. She said that she had followed the Kerik case closely and was disappointed that he would only have to pay $221,000 in fines and penalties. "I think he should do time in jail just like the other criminals," Ms. Randolph said.
In fact, they ripped Kerik's name off of the front of the jail almost instantaneously after he pleaded guilty to the corruption charges. If a jail does not think this man's name is fit to be on the front of their building, then why on earth is the President of Guyana bringing him in to help the GPF?
Instead, it seems to me that someone should be teaching Kerik how to clean up his act. Introducing corruption to corruption by corruption is not a way to clean up corruption. It is simply inviting more problems to an already shaky situation.
The President's newest election ploy is not something that should be waved off as if it was not important. What could a criminal possibly teach a police force?
If this is a clue as to what the Jagdeo administration plans to offer Guyana for the next five years if they do manage to get the majority again, then we are in for another very dramatic term.