Raphael Trotman classified the Access to Information Bill (which is normally titled in other countries Freedom of Information Act)) as “castor oil disguised as honey.” One had to be a fool if one accepted that the legislation would have met democratic standards.
The PPP has been in power for 19 years and has displayed absolute contempt (emphasis on absolute) contempt for the sacred, finer principles of democracy.
Whatever happened to the PPP since it was born remains a mystery but deep inside its collective psyche is a complete rejection of democracy in both the modern and philosophical senses of the word.
Any Guyanese citizen over thirty-five with a little knowledge of the PPP should have (and maybe did) predicted that it would have been psychotic imbalance of the worst kind if the PPP had done what the PNC did – held town hall meetings all over Guyana and invite the population to question their presidential contenders.
This nation knew that it was not in the nature of the PPP to accept a leadership contest. Deep inside the collective psyche of the PPP is the fear that the acceptance and practice of the essence of freedom and humanist thoughts and expressions as spelt out by the great philosophers throughout the ages would destroy the PPP.
We don’t know why they hold this conceptualization but from Cheddi Jagan right down to the little PYO youth, they feel this way. If the PPP wins or loses in the next election, it will never revolutionize the PPP’s structure to allow for a leadership race.
The one and only reason why there was no local government reform is because only the PPP rejected legal autonomy for local authorities. A Canadian diplomat who has since left told me the PPP leaders just didn’t accept democratic devolution of authority and wanted to be in command of local government.
Sadly and most tragically, this was the group of people we fought alongside with to change the Burnham Government. Guyana is indeed a messy tragedy.
The Access to Information Bill has to contain authoritarian elements. This is the ideology the PPP knows and is happy with. Again, I repeat that you had to be a fool to think that a genetic metamorphosis would have taken place. I have never heard about the term “genetic surgery” even though Michael Jackson may have come close to inventing it.
The PPP had to have undergone a complete genetic make-over to allow freedom of information as we know it in other legislations all over the world. The Bill closes off information that relates to the economy. That is, too, general and virtually anything can come under the rubric of the economy.
There is also a clause about restricting information as it relates to the presidency. The situation is similar.
Mr. Trotman refers to the creation of an information czar who will have the final say. Of course he will have the final say and will be a quintessential sycophant of the Government that will pay him a super-salary. How interesting that you will have an information king but not an ombudsman. The answer as to why this is so is simple. An ombudsman reinforces the right to freedom.
An information monarch restricts freedom. It will be the same with broadcast legislation. There will be a licensing tsar and he will come from the womb of Freedom House. He will determine who gets a licence. This has been the stumbling block between the opposition and the PPP. The PPP would never have backed down on the licence king.
We have seen the reason for their thinking.
The Minister of Information will determine in the coming weeks if C.N. Sharma’s channel six will be allowed on the air for the election period. Only he can save Mr. Sharma; only he has the power to. It will be the same with broadcast legislation.
The Minister of Information has to make the final determination on your application. The Minister can sanction you if you break the law according to his interpretation. Of course, it is highly unlikely that we will see these two kinds of legislation before the general elections. It was misleading on the part of anyone who thought that Mr. Jagdeo was this big and bad guy who broke off and become a dictator.
Mr. Jagdeo is no different from all the other PPP leaders. We did criticize him more than them because he had the power. At the genetic level, all PPP leaders have no interest in the sacred freedoms that have kept civilization alive.
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I refer readers to my column titled, “Claudette Singh, Lennox Shuman, GECOM and tragic Guyana” of Saturday, February... more
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