…but PPP now controlled by Jagdeoites – Nagamootoo
By Gary Eleazar
Had it been up to the late founder of the People’s Progressive Party, Dr Cheddi Jagan, then the likes of Attorney
General, Anil Nandlall, would have been reined in over the recent revelations made public in the now infamous audio recording between himself and a Kaieteur News journalist.
This is according to former executive member of the party, Moses Nagamootoo, who reportedly shared a very close relationship with Dr. Jagan, and who yesterday expressed surprise that Nandlall was not as yet dragged before the party’s disciplinary committee.
JAGDEOITES VS JAGANITES
He did point out nonetheless, that at present the party is no longer controlled by those loyal to Dr Jagan’s teachings but individuals who now hold to the policies and tactics of the Former President Bharrat Jagdeo. Nagamootoo labeled them Jagdeoites as against Jaganites.
“If he had been faced with the rogue elements of his party who hold office and are accused of committing violations in their official capacity, I would have expected Cheddi Jagan to bring them up before the disciplinary committee of the PPP.”
Nagamootoo reminded that it was this very committee that had expelled AFC Leader Khemraj Ramjattan when he openly criticized Jagdeo’s infantile conduct.
“I don’t know why Nandlall has not been brought before the committee, and I don’t know why Ashni Singh has not been taken before the committee.”
It was at this point in time Nagamootoo observed that many would say Dr Singh (Finance Minister) is not a member of the
PPP, “but that is where the problem lies, the PPP now is controlled by the non-PPP…the PPP is no longer controlled by what we used to call the Jaganite elements, it is controlled by the Jagdeoite elements.”
Nagamootoo surmised that what is now ingrained in the political culture of the PPP is that when an official is under fire, his/her colleagues tend to “circle the wagon.”
He said that this is again evident with the case of the Attorney General, Anil Nandlall.
Nagamootoo was adamant however that a Minister is simply an assistant of the President, “and so the buck stops with a President….Ramotar has a constitutional responsibility to discharge when one of his assistants would step out of line.”
According to Nagamootoo, the action which needs to be taken in reaction to Nandlall is an Executive one and “I believe very sincerely that faced with this situation, Cheddi Jagan would have used that discretion to rein in a Minister who runs around like a duck without a head.”
Describing Nandlall as a runaway juggernaut, Nagamootoo reminded that certain types of behaviour by a public official is totally unacceptable and cannot be tolerated.
Nagamootoo said that he is of the firm belief that had the President not come out publicly and sought to validate the integrity of his wayward Attorney General, Nandlall would have felt compelled to tender his resignation, “but he felt he had support and that is why he remains there.”
OBSCENE AND VULGAR
According to Nagamootoo, an attempt is currently being made, using taxpayers’ money, to rebrand Nandlall, by being
a part of the Education Ministry’s drive to hand out cash grants to poor people.
“There can be nothing more obscene and vulgar than that… to use taxpayers’ money as a fig leaf, it is an obscenity,” said Nandlall.
Asked about government intentions to seek to authenticate the now infamous recording, Nagamootoo completely rejected this, saying that its authenticity is not in question, by virtue of the fact that Nandlall admitted that he did say what was broadcast, but it was a private conversation.
He reminded media operatives that when the Watergate scandal erupted in relation to US President Richard Nixon, the question was not a matter of what was said and recorded, but rather the legality of the action in bugging the offices of political opponents.
“The issue here is not the tape, or the length of the tape or the authenticity of the tape, it is really what the Attorney General himself has said by implication…I said those things, but I said those things to my buddy, to my Queen’s College friend,” said Nagamootoo.
The AFC Vice Chairman reminded that to date the Minister has not said anything to distance himself from the contents of the recording, “he is saying that it was in private.”
Nagamootoo said that Nandlall is not a part time Attorney General or Minister of Legal Affairs, but is rather employed in that capacity full time.
“You have to own up to what you have said, whether you are saying it to your friend or whether you are saying it in the
capacity that you hold.”
He said that while the authenticity of the recording may be a legal issue to grapple with, but by Nandlall admitting to what was said, “then where are you going with the forensics.”
According to Nagamootoo, he is not in any way against the authentication of the recording, but the authorities must also deal with what it also presently has before it.
INTEGRITY AND CHARACTER
Meanwhile, executive member of the AFC, Cathy Hughes, who was also at the press engagement weighed in on the Nandlall debacle.
According to Hughes, it must be brought to bear that an important element of the discussion to be had, lies with the integrity and character of the individual involved.
“What we want to say is that in situations like this, once there is material that has been voiced that questions the integrity of the person that you uphold; that you have put up there as a leader and representative of this country, what we are saying is that it is not the type of leadership that we feel that this country should have to face.”
Hughes was adamant that enough Guyanese and various organisations have registered their view that “this is totally unacceptable…so it is not a question of how it was recorded.”
Hughes, herself a journalist, expressed the view that if she wanted to record an incoming conversation to her, “that
certainly is not an interception.”
She was adamant that the poignant question at hand is not how the recording was obtained but rather what the information revealed about the character of the person, namely Nandlall.
“Is that the best that we have to hold the most important position of Attorney General?”
The sentiments by both politicians came on the heels of a call for the resignation of Nandlall, by the ‘Women for Change’ organisation, the female arm of the party.
Latchmin Punalall, representing the group, dealt more specifically with the utterances by Nandlall regarding a young female journalist at Kaieteur News.
In the audio recording, Nandlall could be heard asking repeatedly about the identity of the young lady and further he intimated that his relative was interested in a sexual encounter with her.
According to Punalall, the attack on women by the Attorney General is being condemned in the strongest possible terms.
She termed it offensive and disrespectful language used by Nandlall to “drag this young lady into an illicit sexual relationship…We view this as inappropriate sexual advancement and harassment meted out to this young lady and we call upon all Guyanese to publicly demand the immediate resignation of Mr Anil Nandlall”.
Punalall used the opportunity to draw reference to the nation’s statutes, namely the Prevention of Discrimination Act, which she said defines sexual harassment as unwanted sexual conduct.
She said that this Act is also used to protect women from a hostile working environment.
Punalall said that Nandlall, in his capacity as Legal Affairs Minister and Attorney General, should be more concerned with the protection of women’s rights rather than violating them.
She also used the opportunity to lament the support voiced on the part of the administration for Nandlall in the face of the damning evidence that has been made public and asked “where is the consciousness of the PPP/C and their supporters in all of this, especially the womenfolk?”
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