Year of the Crash

January 8, 2013 | By | Filed Under Features / Columnists, Freddie Kissoon 



The last year was characterized by constant confrontations between a Parliament that felt that a combined opposition won a majority in a free election in a world where the dominant philosophy is that legal votes entitles an organization to have legitimate power, and a presidency that refused to concede that Parliament is a source of power.
If the year started with an opposition-controlled parliament that caused a huge wave of optimism to flow, then 2012 can be referred to as the Year of the Crash, meaning that our expectations just crashed down to earth.
One of the beliefs I have about life is that if you choose voluntarily to embrace a life process, then you must do so because you want to do it. Outside of being coerced, there is no excuse for not performing.
It is either insanity or opportunism, or both, that you opted to become a doctor but shied away from the tasks because you hate the sight of blood. There is no way one’s attitude in this context can be excused. It is the same with politicians.
If you are going into politics and Parliament in a country where democracy is barely in existence, then you must know a nation’s eyes are on you and a nation’s hopes are with you. It means then that you must know what are the endeavours involved.
The opposition was disappointing in 2012. APNU has been the least performer of the two (the other being the AFC). In an entire calendar year the opposition didn’t give the Guyanese people much to cheer about. On the contrary, the opposition in Parliament may have practiced their own “don’t give a damn attitude” that they accused the Government of.
A graphic example is the motion approved by the House removing the barricades around Parliament. Not only do the makers of the motion walk/drive into Parliament and see the cordons still standing, but Commander Vyphuis in my presence told the Opposition Leader that the Speaker of the House approved the maintenance of the barricades for security reasons. If true, it is plain opportunism, deception and duplicity.
Critics of the opposition performance have focused their disappointment mostly on David Granger. Little attention has been paid to two parliamentary figures who certainly dashed the hopes of the Guyanese people in 2012. To date only two AFC supporters, Dr. Asquith Rose and Sasenarine Singh have publicly criticized Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine for his ongoing political dialogue with Gail Teixeira. And social activist Jinnah Rahaman has circulated an email showing some annoyance with Dr. Roopnaraine. The other disappointment is the AFC leading stalwart, Speaker Raphael Trotman.
In a small society there are no secrets. The talk among political activists and political watchers and media friends of mine is the ongoing political dialogue between Roopnaraine and Teixeira. The Roopnaraine/Teixeira duo are the main point persons in the University Council with the fantastic break in trade union tradition, where a member of a State board representing the official opposition is now part of the team that negotiates with the unions.
It is unheard of in industrial relations practices, maybe worldwide. The nation will be curious to know how Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine is going to reject the demands of the unions when those demands would find favour with the entire population.
And if he agrees, where is he going to find the resources from, because he does not represent the State but the Opposition in the UG Council. As an analyst I find Dr. Roopnaraine’s choice of this particular PPP leader to cooperate with amazing. I have been around longer than Roopnaraine on the political scene and it is my deep, sincere belief that Ms. Gail Teixeira has an ingrained authoritarian philosophy whose opposition to APNU/ AFC requests will be inflexible.
I support Dr. Roopnaraine trying to engage the PPP, but it must have produced some benefits to the nation in 2012. It has not.
Speaker Trotman is yet to respond to two controversial public statements. One is that he agreed to the maintenance of the barricades and what GINA quotes him as saying; “I think the nation felt the pains…effects of the cuts (2012 Budget) and for me it was quite painful.”
This is an AFC executive speaking about the cuts done by his own party. Finally, in response to a request by me – that I would like the AFC to demand an impartial investigation as to why my contract was terminated at UG – the Speaker responded to me to say he agrees but an inquiry is not necessary because everyone knows what they did to me. Well thanks, Mr. Trotman but….

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