The silence of the media on the countless allegations of corruption levelled against Regional Executive Officer (REO) for Region 9, Carl Parker, is appalling. I ask, is the media protecting Parker? While Parker’s close ties with one media house might explain that entity’s silence, it is puzzling as to why others refrain from investigating the crimes for which he is being accused.
Since the coalition took over, reports suggest that Parker openly discriminates against Amerindians, including patients, school children and their leaders. He is accused of discriminating against Amerindians based on perceived political persuasion. He overtly rejects the authority of the Regional Chairman, Bryan Allicock, as well as Vice Chairman Karl Singh, both Amerindians. He has gutted the allocation of resources to the office of the Regional Chairman in such a way as to limit the outreaches to Amerindian villages. His excuse is that the Regional Chairman is conducting political work.
Other allegations concern Parker’s presumably corrupt practices in the distribution of regional contracts, without tendering.
But the latest accusations emanate from a District Education Officer – an educated Amerindian woman – Shaharazade Atkinson, that Parker has sexually harassed her and violated or withheld her rights and entitlements as a public servant. The woman has produced documents to show her many attempts to obtain help from the Education Ministry, to no avail. Does she have to sue the Government so as to finally be heard? Can Amerindians no longer rely on the Government for protection? Are our legislations and Constitution no longer effective?
Regional Chairman Bryan Allicock has written extensively about this anomaly but despite the complaints pouring in from people who are fed-up of Parker, the Government remains blind and deaf and the media is following suit. We have entered a new era of political bullyism in Guyana, reminiscent of similar times when the Opposition was helpless in the face of tyrants.
Similar patterns have been observed in other Regions. Regional Chairman for Region 5 Vickchand Ramphal, is challenged by the same obscene behaviour from the APNU councillors who in less than three months have disrupted three RDC meetings. Their refusal to cooperate only serves to show that this coalition’s “national unity” and “social cohesion” slogan is a farce and that the Communities Minister condones the terror unleashed against our leaders.
Such forms of abuse have never been practiced by the former administration, even though it had to put up with men like Hamilton Green who refused to do in 23 years under the PPP, what he enthusiastically did in 9 months under the PNC-led coalition. It is a shame that the country must now revert to anarchic behaviour from regional leaders at the detriment of the people’s wellbeing.
Non-cooperation in our regions is not just a matter of social cohesion, it is a threat to our economic development as it hinders progress. These are not isolated cases and even if they were, it would still require urgent intervention from relevant powers to rectify.
Until Minister Bulkan and this Government puts a stop to this injustice, development and by extent the people, will continue to suffer. Perhaps the civil sector should take up the responsibility to protect this country’s interests where the Government and its allies in the media are failing.