The private sector and the administration should choose whether they want to be on the side of the people or not

Dear Editor,

The right to freedom of expression comes with the responsibility to be honest, just and fair. Reference is made to recent statements by Mr Clinton Urling of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), the Private Sector Commission (PSC) and the PPP administration (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Trio‘) regarding the parliamentary no-confidence vote in Mr Clement Rohee functioning as Minister of Home Affairs.

At the end of the day it helps the society when the people feel the named institutions are in this not from a selfish standpoint but speaking out on their behalf.

No right-thinking government or civil society will be dismissive of the decision taken by the parliament, the nation’s highest decision-making forum. Neither would they be intolerant of the members of parliament (MPs) who want to ensure the parliamentary decision is carried out.
That the motion addresses the people’s no-confidence in the incumbent performing the duties of guaranteeing their security and the Trio sees such desire as an irritant is disconcerting. The Ministry of Home Affairs has the important responsibility to ensure our safety in the home, on the streets and in business premises. It should make sure an illegal economy does not thrive; drug trafficking is eliminated; the police act professionally; the prison system functions properly; the fire service delivers needed service; the perpetrators of violence, including white and blue collar crimes, child abuse and domestic violence face the full brunt of the law; the properties and wealth of the state are properly managed and accounted for, etc.

Though the Trio may have access to protection or money to pay for what they need the average person does not. The average person wants what the Trio wants but within the confines of the law, delivered by the people who are paid by their tax dollars and to whom these paid officials are ultimately accountable. And lest it be glossed over, Mr Rohee is paid by taxpayers to work for them.

The evidence produced by the opposition proves the Minister has done an abysmal job. The fact that the Trio has not refuted the evidence, yet wants the people to accept and move on from the Rohee matter while he remains as Minister of Home Affairs is telling.

Interestingly, they conveniently forgot or do not care that this Minister had his visa revoked. This fight is a fight for the soul and security of this nation and the people. The Trio should also be mindful of the use of the concept ‘political instability,‘ and keeping away investors. Upstanding corporate businesses, citizens and governments around the world would see the current action as necessary to guarantee political stability based on accountable government and the rule of law.

It is noteworthy that prior to this incident the society was relatively comatose, but investors have not flocked the country in spite of this and other enticements such as a weak dollar, tax haven code system, a ready labour pool, valuable and untapped resources. There are other reasons investors stay away, three of which are being debated now – secure environment, accountable government and the rule of law.  Let us address them once and for all. Investors desirous of the present climate are in the main those who cream the society and exploit the locals. The Trio must now choose which side they want to be on.

The PSC and GCCI’s name calling (immaturity, idiocy, etc) and accusations against MPs across the aisles without being forthright in identifying the culpable, smacks of timidity and refusal to call the situation for what is it. This makes a bad situation worse. Common sense would suggest that both (opposition and government MPs) cannot be right/wrong on the same matter that involves the desire to respect a vote versus the desire to disregard the said vote.

Also, to the professed concerns that there are many issues deserving of MPs‘ urgent attention, nothing prevents them from multi-tasking. This is evident with AFC Khemraj Ramjattan on the same day presenting a motion on the unapproved funding for the Mariott Hotel. Fixing this problem however requires more sittings and the Speaker and MPs must move to have this done.

And as the PPP and President Ramotar rev-up their base, and posture in the society with talk that the constitution and parliamentary procedures are not being respected, they must prove their case with the supporting evidence. Given the PPP’s track record the absence of reference is their gamble that the people would believe the government is under attack by the opposition and the opposition has no regard for the constitution and parliamentary procedures. This is a ruse and for this the PPP must be held accountable.

Yours faithfully,
M A Bacchus

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