Sunday, June 10, 2007

Diamond life

Life is very often more ironic than fiction. Such is the case of the non-corrupt nation of Great Britain seeking to punish errant Sierra Leone often described as 'The Jewel in Blair's foreign policy crown' [I thought that was supposed to be Iraq]. In fact it is such a shining example of progress, at least on the reconstruction front, that Blair could not bring himself to visit the wonderful slum capital of Freetown and instead chose to wander around the vicinity of the airport during his six hour visit. Shoppers will probably understand the attraction of browsing those duty-free diamonds in the air-conditioned airport building. He probably wanted something for Cherie as a 'leaving number 10' present. Blair non-corrupt government is to freeze £15 million of aid because of endemic corruption. Come on now...stop rolling about on the floor..It isn't that funny! Allegedly, Blair said things were a 'darn sight better now than five years ago', showing how George Bush has rubbed off on him in more ways than one. Of course the withholding of the money will have a devastating effect on the locally based community of international reconstruction consultants. According to Val Collier, former commissioner of the country's Anti-Corruption Commission:
'When money is given, checks and balances should be imposed. A large share of the money is spent on sending foreign consultants here to write reports; they come with their laptops in their slingbags, like intellectual mercenaries. Such spending does not put food in the bellies of the people of Sierra Leone.'
According to the anti-corruption commission of Sierra Leone, 95% of people believe that corruption is endemic in government. If you feel the need, you can report any corruption in confidence online secure in the knowledge that bugger all will be done about it, unless the person reported is an official enemy of the government. Not unlike the UK police, so they are learning something after all.


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