Kaieteur News – On Saturday evening, I was part of a three-hour panel discussion organised by NCN on the contents of the one-year reign of the new PPP government. It was not your normal four-person forum but it had 11 discussants.
In asking the guests to analyse the performance of the PPP administration, NCN composed a number of topics and we had to expand on the themes. I was unhappy because the subject area that concerns me as a Guyanese living in this land with a wife and daughter was not on the agenda.
Each discussant had a representative background. I thought the moderator saw my presence as part of civil society because of a passing remark she made. I told the forum I was representing two sectors in the Guyanese social landscape – the human rights society and the working people of Guyana. I know by strict class criteria, I am not purely working class but I am not purely middle class; not by a long way.
So what did NCN left off the agenda? How does the poor, powerless, ordinary, working class human feel about how life treats them in Guyana one year after a new government? I made it clear in the room that Dr. Ali was not violating people’s rights. I was pellucid that I believe his intentions are good. I briefly trace his Jaganite/working class background and told the forum I am willingly available to assist the President in my own little way.
When it came to Nandlall, I informed the discussion that I believe he could emerge as the only Attorney General in Guyana – pre and post-colonial history- that will pioneer legislation that will promulgate more liberation and a better quality of justice for working class people. Mr. Nandlall is essentially a working class politician though I admit, like me, his class category will not be strictly working class.
I would like to thank three panelists who supported the introduction of my topic, the part of Guyana that is closer to my heart. Those persons were Mr. Marcel Gaskin, structural engineer; Mr. Kian Jaboor, the organising secretary for the political party, ANUG; and thirdly, Nicholas Boyer, former head of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce, the son of famous Guyanese businessman, Eddie Boyer.
I dwelled on the denials that poor people face in this country that were not caused by any president or government but caused by the nature of Guyana. I mentioned the neglect poor patients endure at the Georgetown Hospital. I cited the case of my brother-in-law who died there last week through doctors’ neglect. When he became restless the night, if there was a doctor present his life could have been saved. The nurse paged the doctor who did not come to the ward.
I mentioned the time it takes just to pick up a form from the GRA. I asked what happens to that employee when her boss gives her a 10-minute break to fly down to the GRA or NIS to collect a form and because of no delay on her part she returns 40 minutes after.
Now here is a very important intervention by Marcel Gaskin that should interest all Guyanese. Mr. Gaskin said he makes sure he would not find himself in those situations but he thinks there has to be an organisation in this country that poor, ordinary folks could turn to for redress.
I then intervened as a matter of exigency and told the room there is such a body. It is named the Guyana Human Rights Commission. It is a formidable institution with judicial power. But it is also not a living organism. For 15 years it has been lying on the shelves of parliament.
I will now include some words that I did not have the time-latitude at that panel to mention. If 50 billionaires and their families vote for the re-election of Dr. Ali, it will not bring in three seats. You need the votes of thousands of ordinary people who will be annoyed with government because they cannot get an ID card replacement.
I end with a shocking, unbelievable disclosure. After we exited the building, a very important person, close to both the President and Vice President, Bharrat Jagdeo, told me as we walked alone on the lawns of the Arthur Chung Conference Centre that the Bank of Nova Scotia is arrogant and do not intend to observe the laws of Guyana. Then with a smile he said to me “they create their own laws.” If a small foreign bank can do that to Guyana, then the bosses of ExxonMobil are now the official kings and queens of this country. Guyana now has a monarchial system.
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