Undoubtedly, the opposition is winning the media war against the government. Supporters are using social media to such good effect that anything posted suddenly becomes fact. Supposedly, intelligent people are falling for the contents of the post.
Just Friday, I got a call from a woman who was so disgruntled that she found fault with just about everything that the government has done or has not done. The roads in the new Diamond Housing Scheme are deplorable. The condition is being blamed on the government.
But that is small potatoes to the reason she called. The conversation began with a criticism of Kaieteur News for not publishing something that “is all over the media.” This “something” is that the sons of two government Ministers were arrested for shooting Brian O’Toole.
I had not heard that report. I said to the woman that Mr. O’Toole had claimed that there was only one shooter, whom he identified. The woman told me that there was a car nearby waiting for the shooter and that the Ministers’ sons were in that car to aid the escape.
This was never reported; no one had CCTV footage of the shooting, but this lady came up with this bit of information that had remained hidden ever since the shooting.
What was worse was the fact that the police were covering up the entire episode. For what it was worth, I turned to my reporter investigating the shooting to demand that he get the information on the two sons arrested.
Not surprisingly, he said that there were no such arrests. I was still skeptical. I scoured the established media and the various radio stations for this bit of information. There was no such information. But such was this woman’s dislike for the government that the entire structure, once it remained in office, would scrape so many things under the carpet.
I was at pains to remind her that there were people in the opposition in every corner of the government, and that nothing would remain a secret. She agreed, yet there was a ‘but’.
Another frightening bit of information from the woman was that the military was under the control of the government and therefore would not stage a coup. There has never been one in the history of the country. Not even in the worst days of the previous administration did the army ever contemplate taking control of the government.
Of interest was the fact that this woman saw the arrest of the young woman for causing public terror as a case in point to discredit the opposition, especially when there was no charge against the sons of the two Ministers.
Comments by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo about a constitutional crisis have also taken root. It is as though everything that has happened is new. I read a letter by Sherod Duncan in yesterday’s issue of Kaieteur News.
Not remarkably, he happened to capture so many things that happened during the tenure of the previous government.
As one commentator of the period noted in one of the daily newspapers, “After the elections of 1997 and as a result of the non-declaration of official results, the arbitrary behaviour of Mr. Doodnauth Singh, the secret and illegal swearing in of Mrs. Jagan as President, and the resultant acts of protestations, there was a void of constitutional rule in Guyana.
It therefore means that at January 16, 1998 there was no legitimate government. The Constitution, the people’s contract for governance, the fundamental law of the land, having being violated and observed in the breach caused the people to take extra constitutional measures to reinstate constitutional rule and respect for the supremacy of the constitution.
The reinstatement finally came about through the Herdmanston Accord. The Herdmanston Accord was signed by the two parties, which manifestly represented the vast majority of the people. The Accord reinstated the Constitution with one proviso: that new elections must be held by January 17, 2001.” THIS NEVER HAPPENED. The PPP/C government chose instead to put “voluntary limits” on its governance. Elections were held in March 2001.
Indeed, nothing untoward ever happened until now, according to the opposition.
Duncan continued, “THE SECOND major constitutional crisis, the mother of all constitutional crises locally, as said before; also of 2001, was the decision of Justice Claudette Singh in the Elections Petition Case of 1997. Justice Singh vitiated those Elections, stating among other things that the Voter ID Card legislation at that time was unconstitutional.
In spite of this, the PPP/C declared its government to be legal and vowed to remain in office even though then President Bharrat Jagdeo himself described the period between January 15, 2001 when Justice Singh announced her decision – and when she announced her final order, January 26, 2001, as “difficult and disturbing for our country and unprecedented in its history.”
One major newspaper front-page headline, read, “Business as usual – Jagdeo”.
Ralph Ramkarran, who is now vocal about an illegal government, made some interesting comments in the wake of the crises.
“(1) All acts and things done by the National Assembly, the Court and all state agencies, bodies and institutions from December 15, 1997 are valid, lawful and binding.
(2) The National Assembly, the Government, and all state agencies, bodies and institutions shall remain in existence and shall continue functioning until the president is sworn in and are valid, lawful and binding.
(3) And all acts and things done by the above until the president is sworn in are valid, lawful and binding.”
And Justice Claudette Singh concurred. “”I have no jurisdiction to order the President or the government to demit office.”
The people who were at the centre of the issues dating back to 1997 are suddenly seeking to ramp up discontent. And this is frightening; so frightening that a man said to me yesterday, “I lived through the 50s and the 60s. I don’t want those days to come back. I want to live the few years I have left in peace. This threat to the peace of the country is not doing anybody any good”.
I concur. Sadly, people who were not here when those episodes happened are the most gullible, because they refuse to research recent history. And for its part, the absence of comments from the government is not helping the situation. It is indeed true. The one who screams the loudest grabs the attention. But he who keeps screaming would get hoarse and eventually silent.
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