Kaieteur News – Once again, I lament the horrible levels of mediocrity in Guyanese journalism. I do not believe you have to go to journalism school to know the basics. The fundamentals of any profession lie in a commonsensical mode. One of the sacred foundations of journalism is to provide a nation with news that is factual, verifiable and that allows the nation to be more informed about things that matter to it.
Just one example – if the leader of the purple race says that the turquoise race is inferior, then when you are interviewing him, you have to ask that question so the citizens can know where the leader stands on race issues.
I read an interview in the Stabroek News with Jimmy James, a Region Eight councillor of Lenox Shuman’s party, who is yet to take his seat because the councillors have not been sworn in. In the interview, Mr. James said silly words that did not reflect as damaging on him as it did on the journalist that allowed James to get away with fictions.
James said he has to be seated as a councillor because the Region Eight people voted for him and they will skin him alive if he is not on the council. That is completely false. In Guyana, we do not vote for individuals except in certain areas of local government elections. At the national and regional elections held every five years, citizens vote for a list.
James was on a list for the Liberty and Justice Party (LJP). It was his party’s leadership that chose him for a seat at the Region Eight table. The journalist had to know that and correct James’ misinformation. Secondly, James should have been asked what purpose his party serves if he, James, has not been sworn in but the party’s leadership has no scope for changing its mind.
Thirdly, James in his understanding of politics is more powerful than his entire party since the party has no choice but to allow James to do whatever he wants. In the current scenario, James is instructed that when the Region Eight council meets, he must vote for the PPP to have the chairmanship. James said he cannot do that; he wants to vote for the APNU+AFC to head Region Eight. Now James is contending that he must be allowed to go into the meeting and vote the way he wants and LJP cannot stop him. Such a circumstance is not replicated anywhere in the entire world.
It would have been a different ball-game if James was already seated as Charrandass Persaud was in parliament and he voted against his own party. That would have been a conscience vote. James, like Charrandass, would have known that his party would part company with him. The difference with the Charrandass situation is that James, not a councillor as yet, telegraphed his thought as to how he would vote and is telling his party it has to choose him.
Not only is James a funny man but he makes Guyana looks pathetic and funny too. But there is nothing funny when Roxanne Myers, the Deputy Chief Elections Officer, who has rightly been charged for criminal misconduct during the March 2020 election, comes into the picture. According to leader of the JLP, he has written Ms. Myers requesting the change of names of LJP councillors for Region Eight since November but to date, she has not acted on the party’s request.
Is Myers above the law? Is there no one in GECOM or in Guyana who has jurisdiction over Myers? The answer is yes. GECOM’s chairperson, Claudette Singh, could insist that Myers facilitate the request of Mr. Shuman. Alternatively, Shuman could ask the three PPP commissioners to write Ms. Singh requesting a meeting of GECOM where they can have a vote on Shuman’s request. Why that route has to be taken is nonsensical.
Myers has no jurisdiction to deny a political party the names it wants before a Region has a statutory meeting to decide on its composition. What happens if before the Region Eight council is legally in place, a designated councillor dies, migrate or is incapacitated? Maybe as “dues ex machina”, the JLP could urgently seek a court order compelling Myers to do her job.
What an absurd country this is. Myers did not appear before the Ethnic Relations Commission in the Vishnu Persaud case. Myers was a superwoman during the five months of election rigging. Now Myers appears to be a law unto herself in the Region Eight drama. On her Facebook page, a Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana, defends Myers stubbornly. Can she advise Myers to do her job?
(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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