We refer to a letter by Mr. M. Maxwell where he stated “This is laziness by the opposition parties, plain and simple. To take a break from August 10 to October when this country has seen nothing of substance from the opposition in fixing and changing the laws of this country to bring fairness, justice, equality and decency to Guyana is absolutely unacceptable.” Such a point of view can easily resonate with the Guyanese people since there is much evidence to suggest that the deliverables of the10th Parliament resembles a “do-little” National Assembly. The PPP must give itself a tap on the back for creating the condition for such infrequent meeting of the National Assembly which serves their vested interest best. The PPP basically only needs the House to pass the National Budget and all other supplemental spending and they have done a fine job to date in disarming and distracting the majority political opposition from their mandate to the people.
Has the majority political opposition been effective at stopping the wild leadership under Clement Rohee? NO!
Has the majority political opposition have been able to amend one law on the books especially the repealing of the Jagdeo pension package, saving the taxpayers millions in waste? NO!
Has the political opposition been able to drive the establishment of the Procurement Commission so that the nation can stop the PPP greed machine? NO!
And the list can go on and on!
What is wrong with Mr. Greenidge and Mr. Granger; are they asleep at the wheel? What role is the AFC playing in waking up the rest of the opposition?
We want to remind the opposition that the late Michael Manley once said that the role of the opposition is not only to criticize or oppose but must be ready to take over the reigns of power. Manley further stated that the opposition cannot become insensitive, impotent or incapable of defending the interests of the people from a tyrannical government. We call on the opposition parties in Guyana to heed Manley’s words.
For, as it is said, “a chain is as strong as its weakest link”, and a political opposition that has many weak links is considered weak. And speaking of weak links, it now appears that the opposition parties in Guyana might have committed a cardinal political sin by not bargaining with the minority PPP regime before restoring over $11 billion to the budget that they reduced less than four months ago. For the opposition to give back to the Jagdeo/Ramotar regime $11 billion out of the $21 billion they erased from the law books without scoring much in return for the people shows signs of weakness and disorder.
No compensation for the family of the Linden Martyrs. No compensation to those who were injured by the wild men under Clement Rohee. No substantial increases in wages and salaries for the workers. No new massive job creation program. No tax reform to ease the VAT burden on the mothers of Guyana. No cessation of the wholesale plundering of the Treasury under the PPP. Need we go on?
Before giving the PPP $11 billion more to squander, the majority political opposition should have demanded the recognition and executive actioning of their no-confidence motion against Clement Rohee. They should have demanded the publication of the listing of all income flowing through the books of NICIL between 2000 and 2011 to expose the skullduggery in that organization. They should have demanded the publication of the Parmessar report and the bringing of criminal charges against the two PPP boys who banked the people’s money in their personal bank account at NCN. They should have demanded a full forensic audit of the procurement practices at GPL especially that contract with MACORP where GPL is paying US$7 million per year in rental for machines worth US$9 million. They should have demanded the publication of the finding of the state of the Skeldon Sugar Factory and the delivery date of a fully functional factory to ease the burden on the workers in the sugar belt. They should have demanded the publication of the finding into why the two Chinese ferries are now white elephants and by when they will become operation, bringing relief to the people of Essequibo. They should demand a full investigation into the operations of the Regional Executive Officers of Region 1 (North West), Region 7 (Mahdia, where the AFC Government is being frustrated by bad faith from the Freedom House operatives in the REO’s Office) and in Region 9 (Rupununi, where one Freedom House big wig is being paid millions by the state as he rules with threats and domination of the people in this far flung region).
We want to make it clear to the opposition that it is in the DNA of the PPP regime not to yield anything to the opposition. If they are going to make progress for the people then they have no choice but to take what is best for the people from the PPP with firm and steady hands. There are many lessons the senior leaders of the APNU/PNC and AFC can learn from Mr. Sharma Solomon as he stood with the people against the PPP only to render them powerless in the end as they had no choice but to surrender grounds that he demanded in an unyielding manner. He was practicing politics of principle since he was empowered by the people to work for them. In November 2011, the people also empowered the majority opposition but it seems they do not understand the message of the people.
The time for diplomacy and tripartite meetings is over; the opposition must now launch their demand and take their positions of principle to the people in the sugar belt, in the bauxite belt, in the hinterlands and in the urban communities to sensitize them of their plan of action to bring betterment for the people at the bottom of the economic ladder.
Further, we believe and protocol dictates that any talks with the PPP must be held at neutral locations such as in the Parliament building or at the Pegasus Hotel; not in the Office of the President.
Unless the majority parliamentary opposition believes in “jumbie politics”, then they should know that the Jagdeo/Ramotar regime has made it patently clear that negotiations in good faith are out of the question. The opposition ought to know that they are dealing with a political beast that acts and behaves as if they are the majority. At this rate, those who voted for the majority opposition must be really asking where the change is.
Dr. Asquith Rose and Harish S. Singh.
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