At the time of his resignation from the BBC, George Entwistle, its former Director General said: “In the light of the fact that the director-general is also the editor in chief and ultimately responsible for all content and in the light of the unacceptable journalistic standards in the Newsnight film, I have decided the honourable thing to do is to step down as director general of the BBC.” It is from this basis that we reflect on the ministerial responsibility of Mr Rohee.
Individual ministerial responsibility is a constitutional convention in governments using the Westminster system, where a cabinet Minister bears the ultimate responsibility for the actions of their ministry. Ministerial responsibility demands the Home Affairs Minister take the blame and ultimately resign when his ministry fails to serve and protect the population. However, the government, of which the minister is part, is not held to be answerable for the minister’s failure. Thus, no one is calling for the head of the government for the countless lapses in law and order; the majority of Guyana is demanding ministerial accountability exclusively.
But unfortunately Guyana is not a normal democracy that values the Westminster traditions. Thus Mr Rohee‘s statement that he did not give instructions to shoot clearly is an attempt at evasion of the tried, tested and honourable tradition of accountability, and taking ultimate responsibility for the action of your troops. Such ignorance of one’s duty and accountability to the people just goes against the grain of basic common sense, maturity and decency.
Nobody is disputing that only President Ramotar can appoint his ministers, and thus no one will have a problem if Mr Rohee is appointed to a vacant ministerial portfolio; that is the privilege of the presidency. But the President has been sent a clear position by the majority in Parliament on Mr Rohee vis-à-vis the security sector and he should let good sense prevail. He should not let the Rohee issue take precedence over the people business. The PPP regime was elected by the people to work on their behalf and not to protect a minister who has failed the people of Guyana in terms of their security.
There is enough empirical evidence to illustrate that Mr Rohee has failed to set a proper vision for the security sector. He has failed to promote the values on which the Guyana Police Force was founded. He has failed to implement national security policies with any measure of success. He has failed in his anaemic efforts to reduce crime, the illegal trafficking of drugs and police brutality and killings. In a few words, Mr Rohee is an absolute failure as the Minister of Home Affairs.
The Guyana Police Force will never mature and grow as an organization if their subject Minister is Mr Rohee. He has failed to evaluate and unleash their present and future opportunities, and has failed to assess and mitigate the threats and risks to the organisation. He has failed to implement the strategic options available to the security sector. Simply put, He has failed the men and women under his command.
It is time the President use common sense, maturity and acknowledge the political reality where Mr Rohee is concerned. He has failed in his duty to the people, he will continue to fail in the security sector which has serious implications for law and order in Guyana.
Harish S Singh