The national mood is definitely not in the government’s favour

Dear Editor,

President Donald Ramotar, in a staged interview to NCN and Guyana Chronicle on the Clement Rohee imbroglio, took umbrage with the Speaker for temporarily gagging Rohee, when he reportedly said, “[It is] totally wrong to take Minister Rohee to the Privileges Committee. You have to commit an offence… Rohee did not violate [anything].”

First of all, while certain major decisions for Parliament require a two-thirds majority vote, Parliament has the authority to make its own rules, regulations and decisions to govern itself based on a simple majority vote, and that was what happened when Parliament voted to pass a no-confidence motion against Mr Rohee, and is now trying to prevent him from speaking in the chamber in his capacity as Home Affairs Minister.

Now, since the constitution basically lays out the steps by which the President can be removed from office via a no-confidence vote by two-thirds of Parliament, and being unfit for the job is one reason cited, then who is any cabinet minister to escape being targeted? And Parliament addressed Mr Rohee’s performance as Home Affairs Minister in full detail before concluding, via a no-confidence vote, that he is unfit for the job. When Parliament says it has no confidence in your fitness for the job as a cabinet member and MP, then that pronouncement is just as serious as a violation.

On Mr Rohee’s watch, the out-of-control police shot at peaceful APNU protestors last year December. One senior police officer testified that he was the only one who fired weapons at Linden protestors, so we can readily conclude that the police shot unarmed Lindeners. The police also shot and killed two young men weeks apart. On the other hand, we had case after case of massive corruption involving government officials and their cronies, but the police never once went after these crooks. If all of this, and more, are not enough reason to conclude that Mr Rohee is unfit for the job of Home Affairs Minister, then what else is needed?

Second, when the President described the Speaker’s ruling on Mr Rohee as one of callousness and total disrespect for the rule of law and procedures in the country, does he not remember there were myriad instances when the PPP callously disrespected the rule of law and procedures in Guyana?  What about the Auditor-General’s many reports which continue to highlight blatant theft of public funds by people in and out of government, and NICIL’s failure to present audited accounts for eight years to Parliament, in accordance with the law!

And when he opined that the Speaker displayed political leanings with his “political ruling” on the Rohee matter, was he not aware that former PPP House Speaker, Ralph Ramkarran, also displayed political leanings with his past political rulings that favoured the PPP?

Third, the parliamentary paradigm shift that gave majority control to the combined opposition, means it is no longer business-as-usual for the PPP to run roughshod over Parliament, doing whatever it wanted whenever it wanted and to whomever it wanted.  And so one would think that almost one year into his five-year term, the President would have seized the unique opportunity this paradigm shift provided to show true leadership by working with political opponents via negotiations and compromise. Instead, he appears to have settled for making mundane speeches and giving prepped interviews in controlled environments.

Fourth, to those Guyanese who have been harping on about the lack of compromise between government and Parliament so that Parliament can get on with the people’s business, let the records show that it was the PPP government that sought at every twist and turn to stymie the parliamentary opposition from doing the job 51% of the electorate voted it to do.

All the parliamentary opposition has been trying to do for the past year is restore some semblance of accountability, responsibility and transparency in government, but government appears resistant to moves to hold it accountable for misappropriation of public funds, misuse of state assets and for good governance.

But since the only thing the PPP responds to is pressure, it means the PPP will only change through intense pressure. In closing, President Ramotar also made it clear that he is not concentrating on a snap election but was prepared for one if the combined opposition should make a push for it. Snap elections probably would have worked in the PPP’s favour months after the 2011 elections, but too much negative information has surfaced over the past months to allow the PPP to retain any credibility or political currency with Guyanese, including its traditional support base.

If the President does not understand that the PPP lost its parliamentary majority because of pervasive corruption, which he refuses to address frontally, and still proceeds to call snap elections to help the PPP recapture control of Parliament, then he could end up being Guyana’s shortest serving President.
The national mood today is definitely not in government’s favour as it was in 1992.

Yours faithfully,
Emile Mervin

Latest in Letters

default placeholder

The city council would need revenue to deal with vagrants

Dear Editor, Please refer to a letter which appeared in the Monday, June 27, edition of your newspaper captioned ‘City Hall should forget parking meters and build homes for vagrants and beggars’.

default placeholder

Dangerous demagoguery won in a European country again

Dear Editor, United Kingdom (UK) Prime Minister David Cameron lost his job, after losing the UK referendum to leave or remain (the Brexit vote) in the European Union (EU).

default placeholder

Part of northbound lane of East Bank road deteriorating

Dear Editor, I would like to draw to the public’s attention the rapid deterioration of the northbound lanes of the recently constructed Section 2 on the East Bank Demerara Road.

default placeholder

Ogunseye should get Dr Thomas’s version

Dear Editor Based on a conversation I had had with Dr Clive Thomas after the 1992 elections, I asked Mr Tacuma Ogunseye to check his facts directly with Dr Thomas (‘Mr Ogunseye should get the facts from Dr Thomas,’ SN, June 23).

default placeholder

Guidelines for hiring teaching heads of department are archaic

Dear Editor, I note with worry and also much anger the replies of GTU President Mark Lyte and Mr George Cave in the print media recently regarding my letters in the press which highlighted the actions against dozens of teachers in the High Court, especially as they relate to my own preliminary promotion to Head of the English Department.

default placeholder

West Indies should be allowed to take part in Champions trophy

Dear Editor, Decisions have been overturned by those who made them on much more significant issues than which teams are excluded from a particular international sporting event or series of events.

default placeholder

The party is over

Dear Editor, With reference to the headline, ‘Cases being built against drug kingpins -US embassy official’ (SN, June 26),  this is the second instance in approximately two weeks that the US government, through a very high level representative, has showed its hand. 

default placeholder

‘I have never defended the PPP – only its right to govern’

Dear Editor, In his riposte titled ‘Cheddi Jagan withdrew the offer of a ministerial post to Clive Thomas’ (SN, Jun 22), Tacuma Ogunseye falsely attacked me. 


About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: