Nov 22, 2012 Letters
We quote from George Entwistle, the former Director General of the BBC who said, “In the light of the fact that the director general is also the editor-in-chief and ultimately responsible for all content, and in the light of the unacceptable journalistic standards in the Newsnight film broadcast on Friday 2
November, I have decided the honourable thing to do is to step down from the post of director general.”
We want to use this quote to reflect on the ministerial responsibility of Mr. Clement Rohee as Guyana’s Minister of Home Affairs for the past six years.
Individual ministerial responsibility is a constitutional convention in governments using the Westminster System, where a cabinet Minister bears the ultimate responsibility for the actions of his staff in their ministry. Ministerial responsibility demands the Home Affairs Minister take the blame and ultimately resign when his Ministry fails to serve and protect the population.
However, the Government of which the minister is part is not held to be answerable for that minister’s failure. Thus, no one is calling for the head of the Ramotar Government for the countless lapses in law and order; the majority of Guyanese are demanding exclusively ministerial accountability.
But unfortunately Guyana is not a normal democracy that values the Westminster model or its traditions. In Guyana, the Security Tsar, in the form of Clement Rohee, can lord over a team accused of so much wrongdoing, and still claim he is not ultimately responsible.
Thus the foolish statement that he “did not give instructions to shoot” clearly is an unintelligent attempt at evasion of the tried, tested and honourable tradition of accountability and taking ultimate responsibility for the action of his troops.
Such ignorance of one’s duty to his troops and accountability to the people just goes against the grain of basic commonsense, maturity and decency. It is time for the head of state to stop procrastinating and demand Rohee’s resignation.
Nobody is disputing that only President Ramotar can appoint his Ministers, and thus no one will have a problem if Mr. Rohee is appointed into a vacant Ministerial portfolio; that is the privilege of the Presidency.
But the President has been sent a clear message by the majority in Parliament on Mr. Rohee, vis-à-vis the Security Sector, and he should let good sense prevail.
For over three months he has allowed the Rohee issue to take precedence over the people’s business. This is wrong, and the populace should not suffer because of the actions of one individual. Since when in Guyana has one person become more important than the entire population? We remind the PPP regime that they were elected by the people to work on their behalf and not to protect a minister who has failed the people of Guyana in terms of their security.
There is enough empirical evidence to illustrate that Mr. Rohee has failed to set a proper vision for the security sector. He has failed to promote the values on which the Guyana Police Force was founded.
He has failed to implement national security policies or strategies with any measure of success. He has failed in his anemic efforts to reduce crime, illegal trafficking of drugs and police brutality and murders. In short, Mr. Rohee is an absolute failure as the Minister of Home Affairs and no one in the Jagdeo/Ramotar regime can redeem his poor image. It is time for him to go.
The Guyana Police Force will never mature and grow as an organization if their subject Minister is allowed to hold that portfolio.
Mr. Rohee has failed to evaluate and unleash their present and future opportunities. He has failed to assess and mitigate the threats and risks to the organization.
He has failed to implement the strategic options available to the security sector. Simply put, Mr. Rohee has failed the men and women under his command and should be removed from office
It is time for the President to use commonsense, maturity and acknowledge the political liability of Mr. Rohee.
The Minister has failed in his duty to the people, he will continue to fail in the security sector and that will only result in a total breakdown of law and order in Guyana.
Once Mr. Rohee remains in office, we advise all Guyanese families, that it is time to double up on grills for their doors and windows!
Dr. Asquith Rose and Harish S. Singh
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