I went on record last Sunday as telling my host, Mr. Yesu Persaud, on the television interview programme, “Eye on the Issue,” that I want to be on record as being the first Guyanese to say that the tripartite talks are going to break down and there will be an ensuing period of national uneasiness. I submitted as my reason the unchanging nature of the PPP. I am making that assertion the second time here.
Since November 28, where is the consultation from the Executive office which we refer to here as the Presidency? Where is the check on authoritarianism in these post-Jagdeo times? Let us leave out my dismissal from UG; there is the cricket impasse. What has been hidden in the confrontation between the Government and the Guyana Cricket Board
is the emblazoned fact that CARICOM brokered an agreement that would have seen the Clive Lloyd IMC and the Cricket Board working together.
The Government rejected that blueprint on the basis that the IMC will take over the jurisdiction of cricket. In other words, the Government has derecognized the Cricket Board. Important to note was that the negotiator was CARICOM. But even CARICOM the Government would not seek compromise with. Where is President Ramotar in all of this? He said his Government had nothing to do with my dismissal from UG, yet there are seven Government appointed members on the UG Council, six of which hold membership of the PPP. Of that seven, four are PPP members of Parliament. They are Indra Chandarpal, Gail Teixeira, Dharamkumar Seeraj and Bibi Shadick. Of those seven persons, only one does not hold membership in the PPP. But he is the son of a PPP Minister, Dr. Nanda Gopaul.
Well, has the Government of Guyana got anything to do with the rejection of the CARICOM cricket framework? I guess President Ramotar will say no, because it is the Ministry of Sports that was involved and not the Government of Guyana. Let’s not dignify this bizarre approach to governance with further discussion and look at tax reform. Shortly after he was sworn in as the Republic’s President, Mr. Ramotar appointed a three man panel to examine tax reform. The opposition cried foul. They said they should have been consulted.
After this first three-man thing came another three man operation arrived. Enter the goat ain-t bite me Minister, Clement Rohee. I normally refer to him in my columns as the visa Minister. Rohee was denied an American visa for six months while he was Minister of International Trade. That was seven years ago and to date the only explanation he has given is a vague one that the American Government may have been looking at his behaviour in 1970 when he picketed the US Embassy here in protest against the Vietnam War. Forty years after a picket exercise, the Americans got vexed with Rohee and suspended his visa. Funny! Very funny!
Mr. Rohee has moved his Ministerial office into the police compound at Eve Leary. Right now, he occupies a police building. He has now removed the issue of gun license from the Police Commissioner to himself. To obfuscate his control, he whitewashed the process by putting in place a three-man panel. After their recommendation, he, Rohee will make the final decision. The three-man team consists of a businessman, Peter De Groot and a public sector employee at the Georgetown Hospital, Dr. Bhiro Harry. So which businessman is going to confront Rohee when he denies a legitimate request? Which state employee is going to quarrel with Rohee if a valid request is rejected by the visa Minister?
In the midst of the post-Jagdeo authoritarian train journeying on its way, there is the historic Parliament that we are told will right wrongs and create a new Guyana. Parallel to this is the tripartite engagement which is supposed to restructure GECOM, the UG Council, lower VAT, among other priceless dreams of the Guyanese people and all in all bring hope. But should hope be kept alive. My contract had a mere few months more and it was abruptly terminated. The cricket fiasco goes on. The appointments without consultations go on. In other words, the post-Jagdeo authoritarian train goes on in its merry way. I repeat what I said on “Eye on the Issue,” I want to be the first person on record of predicting that the post- Jagdeo train will ignore the opposition. So should we keep hope alive? Don’t forget that ancient saying “keep hoping and you may die in despair.
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