first_imgExxonMobil signing bonus…should have come clean, instead of lying to the publicIn attempting to make sense out of the situation that involved Government trying to keep secret a signing bonus received from United States (U.S.) oil giant ExxonMobil, columnist and political analyst Ralph Ramkarran strongly feels that the Government has foolishly tarnished its credentials.In his weekly column, the Conversation Tree, the former Speaker of the NationalFormer House SpeakerRalph RamkarranAssembly said he also feels that the APNU/AFC Government should have come clean on this bonus, in order to save itself from the humiliation of having to explain the reason why it kept this matter a secret.“I have wracked my brain to figure out why so many intelligent people decided to maintain the secrecy since June, when it was clear that the revelation by Christopher Ram suggested that the information was out. Then was the time to come clean and avoid a scandal,” Ramkarran posited.Ministers of the Government have lied about this issue until the leaked information was reported in the local media, and Ramkarran believes consequences should attend those ministers’ actions. But he recognises that unless there is a mass upsurge, which is unlikely, this action will continue to be defended.“There is no excuse for the secrecy, and any attempt to defend it is an insult to the Guyanese people,” Ramkarran added, while explaining that politics in Guyana is what he describes is a zero-sum game in which the rules of transparency and accountability are weak, and are not enforced where they exist.And according to him, no conventions have been established or are entrenched.“The prevailing wisdom, therefore, is to give the Opposition and the Guyanese people as little as possible; and where possible, nothing. This is the national political culture derived from its core defect — the politics of ethno-political domination…,” he asserted.The former House Speaker also explained that in a situation the people are the pawns, and that is the reason why the APNU-AFC coalition, when in Opposition, could have been so strident in defence of transparency and accountability, and can now so “blithely dismiss” such concepts with contempt.“The Government has foolishly tarnished its credentials. Those were already under strain by its refusal to reveal the contract it had signed with ExxonMobil. It has been recovering somewhat by its promise to reveal the contents of the contract, albeit under intense public pressure,” Ramkarran stated.He is of the opinion that if Government were to admit it had made an error of judgment in this instance, that admission would go a far way in putting the matter to rest; but he noted that this does not happen in Guyana’s politics.“We have to expect more bluster, cross accusations against the Opposition that ‘you were worse,’ and amidst it all, efforts at dismissals or explanations,” the political analyst added.According to him, none of that would work among “thinking Guyanese.” He said that even when it fades from the news, this episode would remain a stain on the integrity of the Government’s promises about transparency and accountability, and increase cynicism with politics, even among Government supporters.Ramkarran emphasised that Guyanese are the collective owners of the country’s resources, and the Government merely holds a temporary management responsibility over them. Therefore, all Guyanese are entitled to know all the relevant details of how it is managing these resources.“To keep these details a secret constitutes a breach of a sacred trust. Just imagine, we were being deliberately kept in the dark about our own money! How can this be excused?” he questioned. Ramkarran said this matter is therefore not merely a matter between Government and the Opposition.While the Government has already tried to justify why it hid the signing bonus received from ExxonMobil, the prominent attorney has said that what the PPP/C Government did in relation to the Guyana-Suriname boundary dispute is totally irrelevant, and the issue is the secrecy over income received by the Government.“No allegation has been made against the PPP/C Government that moneys were received by it from CGX and hidden. In this case, moneys were legitimately paid by ExxonMobil to the Government of Guyana as a signing bonus,” Ramkarran added, noting that whether or not ExxonMobil was aware that the moneys were to be utilised for a specific purpose is not an issue.However, it was the Government that decided that the money would be used to pay the legal expenses to be incurred in relation to a potential case at the ICJ concerning the Guyana-Venezuela Border controversy. “It hid both the payment and its purpose,” he asserted.Ramkarran said the Government had two choices, one of which was to hide the money and keep it a secret in violation of all financial practices and perhaps laws (which it did); and two, call in the Leader of the Opposition, deal with the funds in a lawful way, but seek his support in maintaining confidentiality. Ramkarran feels that Government would never have secured opposition support and confidentiality.The attorney said Government also had the option of paying this signing bonus into the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), and find a lawful way to save it to utilise later in the manner in which it had intended.“I immediately concede that the purpose for which the Government designated the use of the funds ought to have been kept confidential. Guyana’s discussions with Venezuela and the United Nations are ongoing, and the release of such information could potentially be unhelpful. But the best way to ensure that (news of receipt of this bonus) enters the public domain was not to hide it,” he added.The former House Speaker continued, “I have wracked my brain to figure out what led to the belief among highly intelligent people — many of whom understand their responsibilities as elected officials; understand that these are modern times with independent journalists and commentators; understand that the days when these secrecies were possible no longer exist; understand that secrets among so many people cannot be maintained — to decide on such a foolhardy course of misapplying the funds to a secret account at the Bank of Guyana. It boggles the mind…. The wracking of my brain has produced no hint of potential reasons these intelligent people could advance.”last_img read more

first_imgIs Luis Manzano planning to propose to Jessy Mendiola? MOST READ TS Kammuri to enter PAR possibly a day after SEA Games opening SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Golden State found its rhythm in the second half playing the second night of a back-to-back. The Warriors won 142-111 at Denver on Tuesday night and this was their lone day at home during a grueling 17-day stretch, with seven of eight games away from the Bay Area. Golden State won’t play at Oracle Arena again until Jan. 31.“I’m more like the director at the YMCA than I am coach. ‘You guys are shirts and you guys are skins, now go play,’” Kerr said.On Friday at the Clippers, All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins is scheduled to start and make his Warriors debut for his first game in nearly a year since tearing his left Achilles tendon and undergoing surgery.The Warriors were hardly as sharp initially as they were a night earlier, but it would have been tough to match that 51-point opening period at Denver.They hit 10 of their 21 in the first quarter alone Tuesday. This time, Golden State had to chip away at a 17-point first-half deficit.After also losing on Golden State’s home floor 131-121 on Oct. 31, the Pelicans have lost 10 of the last 11 and 21 of 23 to the Warriors. New Orleans also lost a 4-1 Western Conference semifinals to Golden State.“We wouldn’t have won this game a month ago. We’re at a different place now, I can feel it as a coach,” Kerr said. “We’re more connected now.”COUSINS CONNECTIONGentry, Kerr’s top assistant during the 2015 championship season, offered some helpful insight on Cousins before the Warriors signed him to a one-year contract last summer.“We had a couple good conversations and it was very helpful in terms of my approach when we did sign DeMarcus,” Kerr said. Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry shoots against New Orleans Pelicans’ Jrue Holiday during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)OAKLAND, Calif. — Stephen Curry stepped back time and again and released the ball from way back. Most of the time with at least one defender in his face, too.“It’s insane what he does,” coach Steve Kerr said.ADVERTISEMENT PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Is Gentry curious how Cousins might fit in on a star-studded roster?“Nope, not really,” he said. “He’s a great player. He’s the best player at his position in the league.”TIP-INSPelicans: Mirotic played 29 minutes after he had been limited to 17 on Monday, five days after he returned from a right ankle injury. … New Orleans has just two road wins vs. the Western Conference — Monday at the Clippers and in its season opener Oct. 17 at Houston.Warriors: Golden State is 4-0 when making 20 or more 3s. … Alfonzo McKinnie and Kevon Looney had back-to-back blocks on consecutive New Orleans shots on one possession midway through the fourth. … G Shaun Livingston had a driving baseline one-handed slam over Holiday late in the first half and scored 11 points in an 8-minute stretch. … The Warriors are 6-1 in the second game of a back-to-back this season.UP NEXTPelicans: At Portland on Friday night. New Orleans swept the Trail Blazers in the first round of last season’s playoffs.Warriors: At Clippers on Friday night. Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Nextcenter_img LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño Kevin Durant hit a key 3-pointer with 5:53 to play and finished with 30 points and 15 rebounds, while Klay Thompson scored 19 points with four 3s. Draymond Green had twoCurry has 28 3-pointers in his past three games while the Warriors made 18 or more from deep in a franchise-record fourth straight game. The 24 made 3s matched a franchise best.“The shots that Steph made were not wide-open shots,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. “They’re challenged shots, and he made them.”The two-time MVP scored 23 of his points in the third quarter, hitting four 3s over the final 2:37, as the two-time defending champions rallied, taking a 110-109 lead into the fourth after Andre Iguodala’s driving finger roll and ensuing free throw.“It’s once-in-a-generation, once-in-a-lifetime talent,” said Durant, who could only shake his head in joy.ADVERTISEMENT LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño Kyrie Irving calls LeBron James to apologize, ask for advice on leadership View comments Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Curry scored 41 points with nine 3-pointers to become the first player in NBA history to make eight or more 3s in three straight games, and the Golden State Warriors held off the New Orleans Pelicans 147-140 on Wednesday night for their sixth straight win.“When you get hot like that, you really don’t see anything but the rim,” Curry said. “You just try to stay on balance and get to your spot, wherever that is. Again, these are shots I work on, I have confidence in them, I know my teammates do.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsPelicans star Anthony Davis went down hard beneath the Warriors basket with 2:22 left but was able to walk off after a few minutes and quickly returned. Davis had 30 points, 18 rebounds, seven assists and three blocks in nearly 41 minutes for New Orleans, coming off a 46-point and 16-rebound gem Monday night despite starting 0 for 5 with just four points in the first quarter. Nikola Mirotic scored 29 points, Jrue Holiday added 25 points and seven assists while Elfrid Payton dished out 12 assists.The Pelicans and Warriors combined for an NBA-record 43 3s, breaking the mark by two that Sacramento and Golden State accomplished Jan. 5 at Golden 1 Center. LATEST STORIES SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionlast_img read more