Apr 13, 2016 News
Numerous questions are being raised in the press over the recent “controversial” decisions made Minister of State,
Joseph Harmon as well as his alleged coziness with the contentious Chinese logging company, BaiShanLin Forest Development Inc.
In light of the concerns, Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan believes that his colleague should face the press.
Ramjattan made this, among other comments, during a recent interview with Kaieteur News.
In addition to this, the Leader of the Alliance for Change (AFC) is of the firm view that it would not only be a “massive error in judgment” but also a “reckless move” for a politician to be on a private jet ride with officials who are under investigation by his country.
He made this assertion after being pressed by Kaieteur News to say whether in a “hypothetical” situation if he would have been caught in such a circumstance.
Given his response, he was then pressed to say whether he is comfortable with the actions of his Cabinet colleague, Joseph Harmon, who was over the weekend exposed in a similar situation.
The Public Security Minister said he is aware that in the Sunday edition of the Kaieteur News, a picture was published on the front page which showed Harmon in a photograph posing with officials of BaiShanLin on a private jet. This newspaper understands that Harmon did not inform Cabinet about any meeting or interaction with BaiShanLin officials.
The Chinese logging company has been found to be in breach of a number of Guyana’s laws and has failed to honour a number of its obligations as outlined in agreements with the previous administration.
The company has also been under the watchful eye of the State Assets Recovery Unit (SARU) which
is housed in the Ministry of the Presidency.
In spite of this, the Minister of Public Security declined to divulge how he felt about the revelation.
Ramjattan was then asked if in light of his ethical beliefs, whether he still feels comfortable with his Cabinet colleague. He said, it is such a “sensitive matter”, he prefers not to answer at this time.
The Minister of Public Security made it clear that Ministers should always conduct a life that can hold up to public scrutiny and believes that his colleague should face the press.
As for the protestors who picketed Kaieteur News on Monday to defend Harmon’s innocence, Ramjattan said that he believes that they had a right to do so.
He noted, however, that the press has a responsibility to be critical and hold the Government accountable, regardless of how much it embarrasses its members.
The AFC Leader said, “This is a position I hold. I believe that people have a right to protest peacefully but I will defend to the death the value of the media and the role it plays in holding the Government of the day accountable.”
Ramjattan was reminded of his comments on the campaign trail that the citizenry must not be afraid to “crack the whip and hold the leaders of the day to their word.”
He emphasized that this position remains unchanged.
Also supportive of Ramjattan’s points was Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo.
The First Vice President added that everyone who holds public office should submit themselves to public scrutiny. He said that it requires those in public office to live up to a high standard of conduct.
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