The PPP’s campaign of disinformation and misrepresentation of facts which began after the APNU+AFC coalition government took office is deliberately designed to exploit the insecurity in the Indian communities. This campaign has gained momentum and was recently carried to a new level with concerted efforts by former President, Donald Ramotar and former Attorney General, Anil Nandlall, both of whom made erroneous statements which attempted to cast aspersions on Attorney General (AG) and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams SC, by insinuating that he was engaged in the unwarranted dismissal of a number of employees associated with his ministry.
Their contention is that the APNU+AFC coalition government is carrying out a policy of discrimination and political witch-hunting of persons perceived to be members and supporters, of the PPP. In the past, when similar accusations were made by the APNU and AFC parties, which were in opposition to the PPP regime, that government either ignored the allegations or insinuated that the then opposition was involved in public mischief, lies and deception.
In the most recent attempt by Nandlall and Ramotar to fool the nation and the world that the coalition government is racist and is violating citizens’ fundamental rights, the table was turned against them and they were stripped naked by the timely response of the AG, Basil Williams, whose explanations were buttressed by a letter released to media houses by former Chief Parliamentary Counsel, Mr. Cecil Durjon, which stated that he had actually resigned from service – not dismissed, as alleged by Ramotar – on the grounds of ill health, after the AG had offered to extend his service, by a further three years.
The PPP’s intended propaganda scoop was neutralized and exposed for what it was – blatant lies on the part of Ramotar and Nandlall. I am impressed by the speed in which the AG responded and more importantly, the detailed listing of persons and explanations showing in each case what the true position was relative to the individual situations. This approach exposed in the most dramatic fashion the wickedness of Ramotar and Nandlall, two of the very senior officials of the PPP.
The Minister and his staff must be complimented for a job well done. In political and public relations terms it was an excellent rebuttal of the opposition propaganda. The AG’s actions should inform other government Ministries and agencies on how to combat the PPP’s propaganda machinery. The PPP has to be fought with open and public disclosure whenever its leaders try to spread lies and distortion. Government officials must be forthright and respond in a timely way.
The PPP is apparently emboldened by what they see as a general consensus in the country that it is winning the propaganda war against the government. It is clear that they believe they have the coalition government on the back foot. I do believe that the government needs to examine its public relations apparatus to determine the areas of weakness in its armor. Enough is not being done to counter the PPP’s efforts at destabilizing the government. The coalition’s PR is more reactive than proactive and this has got to change. Whoever is in charge of this department needs to be self-critical and do what is required to address the situation. The AG has shown what could be achieved when a consistent and determined effort is made to unearth the necessary evidence and information and make it known to the public in a timely fashion.
It must be continuously borne in mind that the coalition government is involved in an ongoing battle for the minds and souls of the masses. In this struggle the government and the opposition adopt different approaches to achieve the results that best suit their respective objective. It is expected that the opposition will concentrate its main efforts on criticizing the government and in most cases, those criticisms given our political culture, will not be constructive and very often, seek to exploit the sensitivity in the society.
On the other hand the government is expected to effectively sell its policies and equally important, to counter the opposition’s criticisms and attacks, by using the government machinery at its disposal to provide the nation with the relevant information in a timely way. The government for its part should (1) demonstrate its belief and commitment to the truth as against the opposition’s falsehood; and (2) conduct itself and business in a manner that is likely to win the confidence and trust of the people. It should at all times convey to the people that it is being truthful, honest and transparent in what it says and does. I hope that the recent public relations defeat of the PPP by the Attorney General and his team will see the government assuming the ascendancy in its ongoing propaganda war with the PPP. In this vicious battle truth will prevail against lies and deception.
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