Rohee’s threats to two Guyanese
I feel compelled to piggyback on Ms. Lurlene Nestor’s letter in Kaieteur News on July 3, “Minister Rohee’s comments are very revealing”.Her letter is a powerful indictment, and Ms. Nestor is correct: there was a grave threat made openly against her and Dr. Hinds by a senior government official who controls the state security apparatus.
I would not take such a threat lightly, and neither should the people of Guyana in whose name the Minister wrote.
What does Minister Rohee mean when he says that these two Guyanese – who have no criminal record, who have done no wrong, who are not a threat to our society, whose only ‘crime’ is that they are exercising their right to free speech, a right guaranteed under our constitution, a document which Rohee swore to uphold and defend – are in possession of their ‘get out of jail’ cards?
Why did he make mention of the “blacklist” in response to a letter that had nothing to do with immigration?
I am usually untroubled by irresponsible utterances by some Government officials. Minister Rohee’s comments were dark and sinister, however,and should be cause for grave concern.
In my opinion, this Government Minister was publicly threatening Ms. Nestor and Dr. Hinds. That is how I interpreted his reference to the blacklist, and his categorizing their opinions as inflammatory. Ms. Nestor hit it when she stated that dictators don’t like dissent.
Anyone who understands the immigration system in Guyana knows that it is not difficult for someone to be placed on the so called ‘blacklist’, and the Minister’s casual mention of the blacklist demands confrontation. He must be asked in Parliament to explain what he meant, and the President should immediately demand an explanation from Minister Rohee.
When Mr. Rohee says to Dr. Hinds and Ms. Nestor – both of whom are known supporters of the current parliamentary majority – that the Guyanese constitution does not prevent people from leaving the country unless they are blacklisted, thus preventing one from doing so by the competent legal authority… what Minister Rohee is not saying is that as the Minister responsible for state security he holds that authority.
It is sinister, ominous, and vile. It is tantamount to Minister Rohee saying be careful, or worse, be afraid.
This Minister has been a colossal public and private failure, and continues to manifest an acute but perhaps deliberate crime fighting incompetence.
I would like to suggest that he stay away from writing anything publicly. Instead, many others and I would recommend that he spend far more time paying attention to arresting the accelerating deterioration of the crime situation in our country. Of course, that is if he is intellectually and morally able so to do.
Buying a water cannon for millions of dollars in a country not known for street demonstrations further corrodes public confidence, and is inconsistent with the needs stressed by competent authorities who actually understand the crime fighting needs of our nation.
The top to bottom review of policing in Guyana that is necessary is a fulltime job that should be taking up most of this Minister’s time. He should be more concerned about corruption at all levels of the Police Force, and the men and women who are forced to steal in the name of the law.
Minister Rohee should be up at night worrying about our unprotected land and maritime borders; he should be busy consulting with civil society about the rise in domestic violence, child prostitution and human trafficking, he should be worried that our men and women in uniform are so poorly paid that they are easily bought by criminal elements.
Minister Rohee’s sort of attack on people who criticize the government seems to be the new norm in Guyana, and we must act swiftly to ensure that people are not harmed by powerful people who use their offices to silence or stifle dissent, and murder the messengers.
Dissent is the highest form of patriotism, and these patriots should be engaged constructively, rather than be threatened in such a characteristically clumsy way.
It is now clear to all that the Ramotar regime is but an extension of the Jagdeo regime, and therefore little can be expected from the executive branch of government.
The legislative and judicial branches must stand as keen monitors of the actions and statements of high government officials, and are duty bound to do the due diligence necessary to reign in any actions that are an overreach of authority.
Minister Rohee cannot, and must not, be allowed to threaten Guyanese citizens and get away with it. On November 28, 2011 the majority of Guyanese voted for change, and we will not be denied.