It is being reiterated, with no fear of contradiction, some of the Coalition’s supporters will be to its undoing, because they are more dangerous than some they consider opponent or enemy. In observing their conduct, one can only surmise that they are doing the Opposition’s work and all their challengers have to do is sit tight and watch APNU and the AFC implode.
In a social media post by a well-known coalition supporter, titled “Social Coup D’état and the Attempted Gaslighting of a Nation” (9th January 2019), the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) is being accused of “urg[ing] Guyanese to prepare for early elections” as part of some members of civil society, Stabroek News, the PPP, founders of a new political party and some foreign actors in, “the effort of gaslighting the nation.”
The post continued to accuse, that in response to increasing calls for the government to resign, “[e]ven the GTUC, whose General Secretary claimed that they called for article 106(7) to be respected, was strangely quiet.” It further said, “[w]as the GTUC gaslighted or are they counted among the ‘gaslighters?’”
The public mischief and clear attempt to malign the GTUC, and yours truly as its General Secretary, create the environment to instigate attacks against us and possible violence, while the society is going through a challenging and tense period. The membership of the GTUC cross political parties, and are from every divide in society, but some want this organisation to follow in the footsteps of those who chose partisanship. The GTUC is an independent organisation, and will remain so, having permanent interests as it relates to the workers’ well-being.
These attacks have no basis in fact, and continue, which suggests they may be organised to get at those in society who are more rational. It was only a few days prior, Terrence Campbell, popular businessman and declared supporter of the Coalition, was visited with similar attacks for daring to seek to exercise his democratic right of association in the formation of a new political party. The radicals hit social media and called for his business to be boycotted, which is exactly what the GTUC was concerned about when it issued its press statements (21st and 29th December) calling for political maturity, toning down of the rhetoric and letting this issue not further divide us.
The confidence vote was passed the evening of 21st December 2018. Leader of the Government Business in the House, Prime Minister (PM) Moses Nagamootoo, on the said evening accepted the vote. In his column, “My Turn,” in Sunday Chronicle, 23rdDecember titled, “HISTORIC NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE,’ he reminded readers that just after the vote he noted, “Guyanese must understand that the democratic process is sometimes unpredictable. You may have results that are not planned for and, like cricket, democracy could be a game of great uncertainty. But the outcome has to be accepted. It may be a surprise to some, it may be a shock to others; it may be welcomed by some, and others may rejoice over the results. But that is how democracy works.”
Said evening after Parliament’s acceptance of the vote, the GTUC in a press release titled, ‘The decision of Parliament must not further divide our nation’ said, “Parliament has concluded, and the No-Confidence motion brought against the APNU+AFC Government by the Opposition PPP/C was passed. In the 65-seat National Assembly the motion was passed by 32 PPP/C Parliamentarians and one Coalition Parliamentarian. Our democracy is at work and while the decision would not be favourable to all it is lawful and binding.”
The next morning, 22nd December, President David Granger reportedly accepted the vote. A Department of Public Information release of the same date, titled ‘Gov’t will abide by constitutional requirement following no confidence motion – President Granger,’ noted that, “President David Granger, this morning, said the Government of Guyana, following the passing of the no-confidence motion last night in the National Assembly, will abide by the stipulations which have been imposed on it.”
Calls for the resignation of government began on 22nd December, a charge led by the Leader of the Opposition, followed by others, based on their interpretation of Article 106(6) and (7) in the Guyana Constitution. On 29th December, the GTUC in a press statement titled, ‘GTUC calls for national leaders to tone down the rhetoric – put Guyana first,’ shared its interpretation of the extant Article. That statement, among other things, said-
“Article 106 (6) and (7) though allowing for a confidence motion against a sitting government does not dictate for society to function without a government in the interim. To demand otherwise is to court anarchy and to operate not in our best national interest. Both Government and Opposition have a responsibility to maintain order and safeguard our nation’s stability and peace. It is not a period of showmanship and ‘digging down,’ for the political forces still have to meet, talk and work together.
The elected Executive is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the State. Implicit in the extant clauses is that Government and Parliament will continue to operate because both are tasked activities to ensure the smooth functioning of society.”
President Granger has never rejected the confidence vote. As a matter of fact, he has committed the Coalition to engage GECOM, with Amna Ally identified as its collaborator on the matter and Gail Teixeira, the Opposition’s representative. This commitment was made against the backdrop of government making known its legitimate option to recourse through the court on the confidence vote.
According to Guyana Chronicle’s breaking story, 9th January 2019, pertaining to information about the Coalition and Opposition meeting, “The President noted too that the two sides agreed that GECOM will continue to be engaged to ensure elections are held when that body is able to undertake same.”
If it is to be agreed, based on the evidence – date and timeline – presented here that the GTUC and yours truly is part of the group supporting, aiding (willingly or not) or engaging in a “social coup d’état” through alleged acts of “gaslighting the nation,” then President Granger and PM Nagamootoo are equally culpable. In a synopsis, these men are on record accepting the vote, the process and result the PM summed up as “that is how democracy works,” and the President said his administration “will abide by the stipulations which have been imposed on it.” The act of looking to scapegoat some to justify any position is reckless, dangerous and divisive. They who are accusing others must first check whether they aren’t part of “the effort of gaslighting the nation.”
I’m not a man known to easily fear, but I’m beginning to fear some of them. But I fear them not for myself, I fear for my country and the potential of reckless, destructive words, since there is no exercise of control, no limit, no effort. Some prove to be no better than those they condemn and blame for the social, cultural, economic and political problems in society.
They demonstrate the same pride in labelling and demonising others they perceive as enemy or not toeing the line they draw. It matters not to them if that line violates human decency, truth and universally acceptable tenets. They are engaging in reckless posting, not for want of higher learning, but driven by an agenda devoid of reason – something sinister. If some of them were to handle the reins of power, you’ll have to fear them the same way.
Though advised by many, whose views I respect, not to elevate these people by responding to them, remaining silent, thinking some of them will go away with rational engagement or if they are ignored, or demonstrate a higher degree of integrity with time, appears not to be in their line of interest. They have to be publicly called out, for they persist in distorting events, even where evidence to the contrary is readily available. They are operating like witch hunters, seeing witches in every nook and cranny, and enjoying their witch-hunt.
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