– It seems like they are asleep – Ram
By Abena Rockcliffe
It is worrying that the opposition is made of 33 members and it seems like only one or two are working. The other 31 are almost like passengers, “I am really disappointed with the Opposition, too few of them are working.”
Those were the sentiments expressed by financial Analyst/Columnist, Christopher Ram as he responded to a question of whether he sees the Opposition—A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and Alliance for Change (AFC)—as being proactive or reactive.
The question was posed in the context of the Opposition doing, or not doing enough to investigate major issues in Guyana. It was also asked of Ram whether he feels the Opposition waits for the media and civil society to uncover wrong.
Ram’s initial response was “an obvious yes.”
He then went on to say that he sometimes thinks the Opposition is almost asleep, “and that is a very disappointing feeling.”
According to Ram, the Opposition is sometimes not even reactive as “they seem to have single issues they want to pursue.”
Ram said that the political Opposition needs to be very cognizant of the fact that they were voted to represent the people of Guyana in parliament and the amount of work that has been done by the Opposition, in the last two years, leaves much to be desired.
The analyst admitted that a “couple” Opposition members did well in terms of budget and financial issues.
He said, however, that much more is needed to be done. One such reference was to the constitution. Ram said there are many articles in the constitution that are being ignored.
Ram also noted that the Legislature is an important part of the state that needs to function at its maximum. He added that Opposition members need to ask more questions.
In that vein, Ram asserted that it seems as if the media and civil society have been playing a greater role than the Opposition…”Sometimes I wonder if they, (Opposition) are on another recess.
The columnist said that he is not sure if members of the Opposition understand how important it is to be Parliamentarians. “If they do understand, they are not doing anything with the understanding they have; but if they don’t understand, they are just not fit to be there.”
He pointed out that the leaders of the AFC are seasoned politicians and that they ought to know their purpose.
According to Ram, a fundamental issue that is not being adequately followed by the Opposition is the lack of appointments to constitutional positions.
“One can only judge from what one sees and knows and from what I know the Opposition needs to do much more” said Ram.
He posited that AFC leader, Khemraj Ramjattan and APNU’s shadow Minister of Finance Carl Greenidge, are standouts. He also sought to make it clear that he was by no means suggesting that it is an easy task to be a politician but stressed that more effort is needed.
Ram told Kaieteur News that he had hoped that the Opposition would have used the parliamentary recess period to access progress and strategize on how to make sure that they deliver on promises both inside and outside of Parliament.
The financial analyst said that neither was he suggesting that the government has done much better than the Opposition but posited that the government has realized that the Opposition is easy to frustrate.
Ram said that, just like the Opposition, had the government listened to civil society, the country would have been “better off.”
But when asked if he feels that the Opposition is investigating enough, Ramjattan’s response was “of course.”
“We did that when we brought out the National Industrial and Commercial Investment Limited’s (NICIL) wickedness.”
The politician admitted that the Opposition does have some limitations. He said the government has a monopoly on information and executive Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) on many projects like “the 30M plant.”
He said however, that even with the limitation, the Opposition has been trying. According to Ramjattan, under this dispensation, the electorate has been more informed about corruption than ever before. “We exposed what NDIA and all the nastiness that was going on there and we brought out what happened with NCN; we just need to get a couple brave people and we can do more work.”
Ramjattan said that GRA has lots of corruption. “People are not paying taxes and all those things but workers there are tight lipped…We are in a bad state and we don’t know what can be done… we have high suspicion and a government that indicates reasons for us to have suspicions. The corruption is at a level where only a few are being enriched.”
Ramjattan noted that the AFC can’t get a programme on the state media, which is funded by tax dollars.
“If we had gotten on we could have done more to have people know that we would not breach their confidence when provided with info… but government just wants to dominate airwaves, TV and radio, that is the plan…But just like Russia, the system will collapse because the truth is self emerging even when it is being suppressed by state.
Ramjattan said that the government’s own moves will help the Guyanese people to see the truth. “The longest rope has an end.”
APNU leader, David Granger’s response was, “We have advisors, we meet, we investigate…and we are concerned. When reports are made to us, we have to look for the evidence and take it to the house…it is not a case where we are guessing, we do the best we can.”
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