17 years of PPP ineptitude, incompetence, corruption and destruction (Part 1)
We have been forced to reintroduce the weekly column in Kaieteur News. Some of the events and behaviour patterns of the government have not been in the interest of the people.
As 2009 comes to an end it is most appropriate to begin an assessment of our achievements, successes or failures over the past year to determine the most appropriate course of action for the New Year 2010.
A brief review of the situation in Guyana, particularly as it relates to political and economic issues, however, suggests that they constitute part of a related course of conduct by the PPP/C Administration since it came to Office 17 years ago on October 5, 1992, under the well publicised theme of, “Time for Change: Return to Democracy”.
The PNCR believes that the most appropriate point to recommence its weekly column in Kaieteur News is a review of the seventeen years of the PPP. Such a review cannot be completed in one article. Consequently, this represents the first instalment that would be continued in subsequent publications.
LEAN & CLEAN OR BUREAUCRATIC AND CORRUPT?
On October 5, 1992, President Cheddi Jagan promised a, “Lean and Clean Government”. The people of Guyana soon recognised that the lean and clean Government was, in reality, a top-heavy bureaucracy, characterised by the largest Cabinet in the history of Guyana, bolstered by an array of highly paid Presidential consultants and numerous contract employees including those paid by the Office of the President merely to maintain a host of phantom propaganda letters to the media.
The cleanness was never evident; instead, looming large was a lack of transparency, lack of accountability, discrimination, corruption and a plethora of scandals, which this shameless Administration has refused to address.
The continued failure to observe the rule of law; the political interference and manipulation of the Judiciary; harassment and victimisation of all opponents, including the media; assault on the trade union movement and workers generally; lack of tolerance for differing opinions, arrogance, vindictiveness and high-handed behaviour by successive PPPC Presidents; decline in the Guyana economy; and, the political control of the state media, to name a few, have all contributed to the now well accepted assertion that the advent of the PPP signalled the beginning of an “elected dictatorship”.
GOVERNMENT BY DECEPTION:
Seventeen years later, the situation has further deteriorated with the Jagdeo Administration’s heightened arrogance and total disregard for public opinion. Fear stalks the land as crime escalates, the security situation worsens, the economy continues its decline and a dissatisfied, disgruntled and unhappy population is forced to seek its fortunes in different lands.
October 5 is usually the date on which the PPPC Administration would celebrate the so-called return of democracy to Guyana. On this day in the immediate past, the Administration paraded its alleged successes, real or imagined.
However, it is noteworthy that in 2009, on the 17th Anniversary of its election to office, the PPPC Administration was strangely quiet about its achievements, except the attempt to have a media blitz on President Jagdeo’s LCDS.
It is not difficult to ascertain the reason for this muted response. They recognise that they can no longer deceive the people of Guyana. Guyana is beset by a plethora of difficult problems. The entire democratic fabric of the nation is in tatters.
The anti-democratic practices and one-man rule are manifest and, increasingly, commentators in Guyana and beyond the borders of this Republic are now referring to Guyana as an “elected dictatorship”.
THE RULE OF LAW:
The hallmark of any true democracy is the triumph of the rule of law. The opposite is true in contemporary Guyana. It is an inescapable fact that over the last 17 years the rule of law has been so badly eroded that legal scholars now fear that we are on the brink of anarchy.
The PPPC Administration is entirely answerable for this unacceptable situation. The example was set by the Presidency when Mrs. Janet Jagan threw a court order over her shoulder to ensure that she was sworn in as President and since then the PPP has shown nothing but contempt for the rule of law.
Not only has the Administration undermined the independence of the judiciary, it has repeatedly flouted court orders internally and regionally. Guyanese are fully aware of the attempts to manipulate and politicise the functions of the Chief Justice and Chancellor, the prolonged refusal to appoint an acting Chief Justice and the frequent attacks on the judiciary and its decisions.
The Government’s continued contempt for Court decisions made it so comfortable that they moved to demonstrate that contempt externally by disregarding decisions of the newly established Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
Trinidad Cement Limited (TCL) and the subsidiary TCL Guyana Inc. were recently forced to file an application to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) against the Government of Guyana to hold this country in contempt of court for failing to implement the Common External Tariff (CET) on cement from non-Caricom sources as ordered by that Court.
Their most recent attempt to politicise and control the practise of Lawyers is significant, but will be addressed in a later article. It is a truism that democracy can only thrive in a rule-governed environment.
After 17 years of the PPPC, Guyana is far from being a democratic state.
PERSISTENT VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS:
One significant fall out from the decline in the rule of law is the wanton trampling of the human rights of our citizens by the State. In recent years, the unprecedented number of allegations of torture by the security forces has only been surpassed by the state sponsored and supported execution of more than three hundred Guyanese citizens.
What is troubling is that instead of rectifying the situation, the PPP/C Administration takes refuge in propaganda and distortion. When members of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) were clearly guilty of torturing their fellow soldiers and other citizens, the Administration deemed such illegal activity “roughing up”. It was only with the killing of Dweive Kant Ramdass that the GDF and the PPP/C Administration seemed to have awakened to the fact that elements of the security forces were out of control, as the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) argued regularly and persistently over several years.
The torture of a fourteen year-old at Leonora which was well publicised awakened the nation’s conscience and the subsequent publication of the Dossier by the Joint Opposition Political Parties detailing the several human rights violations have hopefully inspired an irreversible chain of events to bring the Jagdeo administration to account.