The following is the full text of a statement from the Executive Committee of the Guyana Human Rights Association.
“The tirade of threats, coarse language, suggestions of misuse of public funds and anti-women comments by Attorney-General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, during a recent telephone call to a Kaieteur News reporter, has generated public astonishment and calls for his resignation.
Almost as shocking as the incident itself, however, is the hapless defense of Nandlall by President Ramotar on the flimsy grounds that the taping of the conversation was illegal.
The failure of the President to distance the Cabinet and himself from the content of the call has effectively elevated Nandlall’s action from a personal rant to being the latest step in the increasingly desperate official response to the campaign by Kaieteur News for greater official transparency on public funds involved in a range of controversial projects.
These include the secretive government agency NICIL, ownership of the Marriott Hotel, the privileges enjoyed by the companies which benefitted from the Sanata Complex give-away; telecommunications deals and the Bai Shan Lin contract.
Efforts by Government to resist providing Parliament and the public with this information have spiralled downwards over the years. Along the way, secrecy and lack of transparency has taken its toll on a number of Government mechanisms.
These include the politically-poisoned implementation of broadcast license distribution; years of foot-dragging over establishing the Procurement Commission; appointing a Commissioner of Information who views his role more as guard-dog than gatekeeper, together with comprehensive and continuous abuse of the State-owned media.
This obsessive control of information has provoked more confrontational demands from a frustrated media, which in turn generated Government responses targetting media workers in the form of libel suits and the intervention of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA).
It was Kaieteur News’s retaliation to the GRA action, in questioning whether one of the relatives of the Attorney-General should not also be the focus of a similar investigation that appears to have prompted the ill-tempered telephone call.
Whether Mr. Nandlall is forced to resign or not – and the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) believes that resignation is in order – this alone will not resolve the underlying issue. At bottom this latest incident, with all its demeaning characteristics, is rooted in systematic abuse of a core element of democratic practice, namely, not accounting for the use of public funds in a transparent manner. The more fundamental question, therefore, is whether, regardless of the cost to governance and to the quality of public life, the Government intends continued resistance to provision of timely and accurate information on its stewardship of public funds.”
Oct 15, 2018Eagles Basketball Club and Pacesetters played both matches contested on Saturday at the Burnham hard court in the Second and First Division of the Rainforest Water/Malta Supreme/Georgetown Amateur...
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