123 years of holding the system to account for the people of Goa

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Oct 09, 2022 | 07:06 IST

123 years of holding the system to account for the people of Goa

When the new dawn breaks Monday morning, it will be just another day for Herald in service to be a companion, a brother, a fellow crusader, a shoulder to lean on, a post office for the opinions of people, an information highway bringing the world to their doorstep and, above all, bringing truth.

The Herald trip was a trip for all of us in Goa. And on Monday, we will take yet another step on this road. The 39th, each milestone marking a year of the “English” Herald.

But almost all of us see it as a much longer journey, more than a century old, 123 years to be exact when the edifice on which Herald stands and grew was organized – to hold the systems accountable through the power of information and analysis, going beyond the limits of official information, while respecting official information when necessary since information is above all a service of knowledge and information.

But then the news would be clear, without speaking clearly. It would be ordinary without extraordinary journalism, and blunt unless the truth was bluntly stated.

Therefore, the 39 is not a separate journey, it is part of the 123, subsumed by the longevity of the simple exercise of delivering the truth on a daily basis, through fires, pandemics and other attempts to keep us from do our work with the postmen and women who deliver your Messenger daily, so that you are better informed.

For some it’s a battle we fight, for us it’s a quiet daily resolution to celebrate Goa to highlight the Goans, to remember proud moments, to embrace our stories, to toast our future and above all to freely protect our Goa from wrongdoing that will unfairly cripple our dreams.

We are against no one. We are simply a popular newspaper, above specific religions or political beliefs and dogmas.

Our biases lean toward people and their true interests, and in the process often lean against forces that prevent this from happening. We seek common ground to break down the walls of misunderstanding between those who should serve and the people who should be served.

So, can any government say that we are against them? We are pro-people and therefore pro-state. That’s where we are. And pro-state is pro-people because even now a government is said to be chosen by the people

If a government sees and understands this, it will understand that its greatest concern is the true condemnation of the people, if it feels cheated. And its greatest glory is when people are proud of their government.

Herald has, in our view, and we are being told, tried to be that stabilizing force that helps stabilize governance if it drifts away from the people. And it must be understood that the greatest curse that drives people away from governance is when those who govern assume that the treasury of the state is their personal property. It is the root of everything. You fix that, you fix governance, you fix delivery, you fix equality, you fix happiness. Here’s how:

The integrity of our government force is paramount. Monitoring is our job

We need stabilizers, to protect our reserves and save the integrity of our public service. Governments dip into their treasuries and spend it all. Expenses increase, but income does not. This leads to an increase in debts that must be incurred to pay off the spiraling debts before entering the next cycle of indebtedness.

Corruption is one of the main reasons for the increase in public spending across the country and around the world. It subverts the system. The performance of the state depends on the competence and integrity of individuals in key positions in the civil service – those in the four pillars of democracy, those in statutory bodies, the police and civil services, both national and executive of State. Once corrupt people rise to key positions, the cancer of corruption hits the system.

The difference between the actual cost and the bribes is borne by the Treasury. It’s public money that’s looted

If the cost of every project from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 200 crore and even more has an element of bribes, the difference between the actual cost and the bribes is borne by the Treasury. It is public money that is looted. In the absence of a strong anti-corruption mechanism, sufficient control over enough cases of corruption is not carried out.

Anti-corruption institutions like the Lok Ayukta have been dismantled by governments across the country. In Goa too, we had dedicated Lok Ayuktas who searched and recommended serious action against government officials, but until the day they packed up and left, no action had been taken on their recommendations. .

If people start wondering if they should go to the police station or run away if something goes wrong, the system is down

The Indonesian president once used the term judicial mafia; of lamenting how the judiciary in this country had become corrupt and was part of the problem, in parts of India and Goa there are loud voices saying the same thing about integrity of the police force section. And the elders of the force and their political masters must take responsibility for this.

If criminals, murderers and drug dealers begin to believe that there will be elements in the state police that will protect them, the system will be finished and will come back to haunt those who think they can benefit from a corrupt system, including including the mafia who bribes the system.

When Hyderabad elite police felt they were not getting ‘cooperation’ from Goa police to help them get those drug dealers in Goa who were named in the Hyderabad drug investigations , they expressed it.

Even as the Goa Police were quick to defend their position saying that no formal request had been made, the annoyance expressed by another state’s Commissioner of Police over the Goa Force’s reluctance to going after those who have been part of Goa’s nightlife and tourism ecosystem but have been named in serious drug offences; was shocking.

Herald took on the responsibility of continuing this not as a story, but of revisiting its crusade against drugs.

If those responsible for safeguarding state assets attack the bank, or those who voted to be guardians of our lands and what is grown there, steal the harvest for themselves, the street signs and the lighthouses, which we at the Herald think we are, just have to do our job.

Elections have become auctions

Elections have become auctions where promises are made that can only be kept by “robbing the bank” so to speak. While the treasury is already bleeding from corruption, political spending by governments is causing fatal blood loss to our financial systems.

Now this needs to be seen, analyzed, discussed and brought to light. We have very humbly, but very proudly, played a part in keeping the systems looking over their shoulder when they know their actions reduce trust and faith. You can’t always claim success, but where success has been 100% is showing the mirror of power and authority.

Therefore, we need forces that strengthen and stabilize our system of government. For who? For the people and for the governments themselves. A well-run government first benefits those who govern. A well-stocked treasury, funding people-oriented programs and generating wealth at the same time, preserving natural resources, farms, hills and traditional occupations is a possibility.

Where is our future? Have we saved for our future? Have we kept hope and revival in store? Do we have a plan to stop the bloodshed of our finances so that we have the funds to spend on the right causes – to divert losses from corruption and to areas like public health, rural infrastructure, vocational training and primary and secondary education?

On this annual Red Letter Day, let’s go beyond commitments and promises. Let’s all say a little prayer in our own way to enable and bless a community-led institution of truth with the health to continue, with the resolve to do one’s duty and humility to learn from genuine mistakes if there are any, and to make better every day and pass the test of his people.

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