The acting Chief Justice has since ruled, reiterating the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ)’s position, that it is not within the court’s remit to tell GECOM, a constitutional independent body, when to hold an election. This should not have come as a surprise to anyone who read the original ruling. It should be no surprise to the Opposition.
It is now time to call on the PPP/C to return to parliament and give a fair day’s job for the pay they are earning every month. It is unacceptable for this nation to be continuously held to ransom by misleading statements related to election being held by 18th September, for which Mr. Jagdeo is on record stating if election is not held, the PPP/C will not return to parliament to grant an extension for election, consistent with Article 106(7) of the Guyana Constitution.
Instead of working for a common agreement, the Opposition has worked assiduously from the date of the no-confidence motion (21st December 2018) to bring government operatives and government institutions, including the judiciary and CCJ, into disrepute. Every different opinion and every source other than the Opposition and surrogates was discredited, creating confusion and turmoil in our body politics. We know now that the illegality of government of which they speak is nothing more than a farce for political mileage and exciting the base.
The actions of Mr. Jagdeo: the daily lies and attempts to promote turmoil and disrupt the peace are disappointing at least. This nation should not tolerate such bold statements of distortion. As a public figure, a former president, Leader of the Opposition paid with taxpayers’ money, he should be held accountable for every aspect of his stewardship, in and out of government. Unfortunately, very few are willing to hold him accountable, and many who are believed to be decent people that society look up to, continue to be silent, whereas some repeat the deceitful talking points with vigour and passion.
It is unbelievable that a man who constantly misleads society can walk into communities without shame, telling others to chase out his political rivals when the society, media et al that he once marginalised, are facilitating such expression. It is not only the facilitation, but the fact of failing to do due diligence on what he says – in order that the truth could be told and people can make a more informed decision – enables his behaviour.
The unprecedented level of corruption, narco militarisation and stifling of press freedom in a society whilst feigning democracy, for those who don’t have convenient memory, we recall. Members of the police force, business community and citizens were murdered and disappeared. There was the empowerment of foreign nationals to disrespect our laws, our land, our workers. Workers caught hell under his leadership.
GAWU, which from time immemorial has been seen as the industrial arm of the PPP, didn’t fear well. His administration did not lift a finger to prevent the Russian management of the Bauxite Company of Guyana Incorporated (BCGI) violating our sovereignty and transgressing the workers’ rights. The public service unions were denied the right to Collective Bargaining; a right the David Granger/Moses Nagamootoo Government has not upheld.
Politics of the nature of Jagdeo is proving not to be good for Guyana and the PPP. It has placed the PPP into a position of ill repute. Strong-arm politics has had dire consequences. It has since been taken a step further, as we bear witness to the blatant demonstrating that PPP/C presidential candidate Irfaan Ali has no value.
A clear signal is being sent that Mr. Ali is not his own man and supporters ought to be content to have him as a puppet, while Jagdeo runs the show barefacedly from behind. There is no attention to do it in a way that is not visible, openly showing contempt and expecting people will stand for it. Is this what Guyana deserves? If Irfaan subjects himself to that, that doesn’t mean the people of Guyana must accept this insult to their intelligence. Is this the party of Cheddi and Janet Jagan? Is this the Jagan legacy on this land?
This is an era of selfish politics in Guyana. Regardless of what people talked about Forbes Burnham and Jagan, they had the nation and people’s interest at heart. Desmond Hoyte, too, put nation above self. He did not seek to destroy the institution of GECOM or government even in the face of challenges.
The APNU+AFC Government has made blunders and mistakes. Its arrogance is also causing people to become disinterested in self-government and the right to vote, things the trade union movement was in the vanguard with others to realise. The coalition’s failure to engage, and aloofness, coupled with its inaction in holding an investigation into the atrocities committed during Jagdeo’s time, has emboldened the attempt to whitewash his image.
We need a responsible Government and an equally responsible Opposition. Progressive politics require of them putting the national interest above self and partisan interests. Now that we have an interim Government and an interim Opposition, they must sit down and act responsibly. Together they must work to give meaning to Articles 13 and 106(7) in the Constitution. These are educated men and women who the rank-and-file must expect better from and hold to a higher level of accountability, particularly when they hold public office.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper)
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