Stealing From The Poor 

Gregory Lewin   

April 13-2004-On March 25, 2004, a Tipitapa judge ordered the regional government in the South Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAS) to pay 11.5 million Cordobas for a breech of contract to Italian Amadeo de Nice construction firm. The original contract to build the government offices across from King’s Park in Bluefields was awarded by Rayfield Hodgson, governor of the RAAS (1994 - 1998). So far, only the frame of the building has been build. According to the national newspapers, Rayfield Hodgson recently traveled to Managua to arrange a payment plan.

Governor Guy Cox has repeatedly said that he will not honor the ruling rendered by the court because his administration is not responsible for paying the money. He stated that Rayfield Hodgson is a thief who has made deals with the housing department to steal from the regional government and the poor.

What happened?

In my opinion, situations such as these have never ceased to dishearten the people of the region, especially the poor. The housing department have stated that they will abide by the judge’s ruling and agreed to pay the 11.5 million Cordobas out of the RAAS’ budget. Also, the attorney general’s office issued a statement that it will not intervene because it too late in the process; the RAAS did not seek their consultation during this debacle. This move will definitely cripple once and for all the activities of the government’s programs. It’s a shame that one administration has to pay for mistakes committed by another; unfortunately, this is how politics work. I am in total shock. I cannot comprehend how the responsible individuals continue to make a mockery of the system and the people. It is totally amazing how they can continue committing offenses, with personal gains, and go unpunished by the law.

It appears that ex-president Arnoldo Aleman is the only one being targeted by the government for fraud against the state and the poor people of Nicaragua. It appears that he is the only one paying for all the others who have stolen. There are officials from past administrations who have been named on numerous occasions for fraud against the state and the people. Calculatedly, some of them continue to hide behind the immunity afforded to them as members of the regional council. Ex-president Aleman’s immunity eventually was revoked. I believe that we should move forward in having the immunity of those who enjoyed it revoked as well, so they can be investigated. I wonder how is it possible that they can take away the immunity from a powerful such as Aleman while others steal from the people and nothing is done about it. It causes me to believe that the campaign against corruption declared by president Enrique Bolaños is a personal agenda against Arnoldo Aleman.

Where is the president when all this mockery is going on in the RAAS? Does he pay attention to the issues of the Caribbean coast? It certainly does not appear to be so. The only time you hear the president address issues on the Caribbean coast is when our brothers in the North show their solidarity and unity for each other. I ask myself what is wrong with us in the South? We are never together; we are always fighting against each other. No wonder, the people of the Pacific have no respect for us. Why can’t we be unified like our brothers in the North? You don’t hear them fighting each other. Mostly, what you will hear is that they are united in fighting for what is rightfully theirs. In the RAAS, it’s the contrary. We constantly have to be hearing about corruption over and over again involving the same individuals.

I call on president Enrique Bolaños to order an investigation to determine the entire regional government activities with a reward of jail time for any found guilty, so we can weed out the seeds that are causing our people to suffer. Only when this is done, I will say that president Bolaños is really serious in the fight against corruption. And if no one is found guilty of any wrong doings after the investigations, then he might want the alleged corrupted of the RAAS government to run the government in Managua because they would be free of corruption, and they would be the only government body, which have not yet committed any offense against the state.

Unfortunately, election is not until 2006, but when that time comes, I hope every eligible voter exercise his or her right to vote. Voting is the only way to show our abhorrence with corrupt politicians. Something has to be wrong with the individuals who serve as our representatives for not reasoning or playing blind to the fact that every time they do something despicable they hurt not themselves, but the poor needy people.   

Governor Cox should never have to pay for any wrong doing committed by past administrations. What the court should be doing is looking into why the building was not completed. What happened to the money allotted for the construction of the building? Only then can we put closure to this haunting nightmare caused by selfish uncaring human beings.   



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