It always worries me when the Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon, gets into public space to defend the PPP/C government and members of its cabinet.
Every time the man opens his mouth nothing but sheer disrespect is meted out to the intelligent people of this country. I believe that the time has come for Guyanese to say to Roger Luncheon, we have had enough of your callous disregard for our intelligence and good nature.
My own position is that Luncheon has exhausted his privileges and he must now be brought to understand that the people of this country will no longer tolerate him and his party’s, inexcusable, negative view of us.
I was prompted to comment on this unfortunate reality when Roger Luncheon, planted himself on state television and state radio to jump to Minister Ifraan Ali’s defense regarding his multimillion dollar home, currently under construction.
The government, through Luncheon, reacted in a most dismissive, irresponsive and disrespectful manner when the people asked the legitimate question of how Ali is able to afford such inexplicable luxury.
The government’s reaction to this inquiry suggest to Guyanese that we are out of order to demand that Ifraan Ali, a common servant of the people, disclose where he got the finances to attempt to swim in such luxurious comfort.
To attempt to shut us up and take the matter out of the public’s eyes, Ali jumped to silence Kaieteur News by instituting a lawsuit against that entity for carrying his story of indescribable wealth.
Luncheon, using the people’s media, held a press conference to tell Guyanese that the young Housing Minister came from a rich family and that he started to build his mansion before he became Minister. What foolishness!
This response was supposed to keep us from asking the vexing questions of ‘show me how you financing this multimillion dollars house’.
Just like Ali rushed to find Mortimer Mingo’s bounced check, he has a responsibility to disclose to the people all sources of his income, legacy, and gifts which were bequeathed to him and which he used to drench himself in the wealth he now sports. He must clearly show how those resources are aiding, or facilitating, in the construction of his mansion.
The government behaves as though they have a franchise on making Guyanese fools and so disregarding our intelligence and disrespecting us becomes an ordinary every day thing.
So they send Luncheon to come to us with coarse rationale and simple logic, without any intention to substantiate anything. Evidence they assume is not necessary to furnish to a people who they regard as gullible, docile and too simple to be bothered with.
This is the only message their actions indicate. My question is, in which other country this kind of ‘low class eye pass’ can happen; where a government might be saying to its citizens, your role is not to question actions of government Minister.
The PPP/C must, however, understand that Guyanese are cognizant of the fact that our right to ask such questions is legitimate and should be welcome in any country which touts itself as being democratic. In these days of massive corruption in government, the people must know where Ifraan Ali, a government minister, acquired those millions to construct such multi-million dollar property.
Knowledge of this proven fact is likely to erase any doubt in the minds of the public. Further, any government who professes to its people that it is ‘transparent’, would, as of necessity, encourage this kind of positive action from its functionaries, be it Ali or anyone else. Only, when this happens can suspicions of corruption removed.
The only facts Guyanese have about this young member of the PPP/C cabinet are; that Ifraan Ali is thirty two years old, he became a Minister in the last Jagdeo led Administration and has been retained as Housing Minister in this Ramotar led government, that his salary as minister cannot afford such an exorbitant and lavish home.
We don’t know that he came from a wealthy family, and if so, we don’t know that this is a logical defense to him splurging himself with the kind of luxurious habitat he is preparing himself.
Further than this, we have a right to demand evidence of how this, ‘supposed family wealth’ was handed down to the Minister. It is our right to know these things lest we feel it is our taxpaying dollars that have been used in a scheme.
Luncheon, the PPP/C government and Ifraan Ali must satisfy the Guyanese people that Ali’s lavish multi-million dollar home, under construction is above board and not linked to corrupt activities, which involves pilfering from the state.
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I have been doing columns since 1988. I have been a major columnist with the Catholic Standard, Stabroek News, Kaieteur... more