Rohee plays down Jeffrey switch

PPP/C Executive member Clement Rohee today played down Dr Henry Jeffrey’s endorsement of opposition coalition APNU saying that he was just returning home.

Jeffrey, who served in several ministerial capacities in the PPP/C administration from 1992 to 2008, in his column published in today’s newspaper, endorsed APNU saying that this is the grouping that comes closest to his demand for radical constitutional change that would lead to shared governance.

Speaking at a press conference at Freedom House, Rohee opined that Jeffrey‘s endorsement in his column was not necessary.  “I don’t Mr. Henry Jeffrey had to write an article in the newspaper justifying his support for the APNU. Everybody knows Mr. Henry Jeffrey came from the PNC and all he is doing is returning home to the PNC,” he said.  “He had a little sojourn with the PPP/C. He enjoyed the largesse while it was there or while he was there and now he’s returning to his PNC…,” he said.

Rohee said that while Jeffrey thinks that APNU can deprive the PPP/C of 50 percent this will not happen. “Well this is not the first time the opposition has set out to accomplish this goal. They sought to do that quite sometime ago and we defeated every intention of theirs,” Rohee said, stressing that the opposition will “fail again”.

Jeffrey, in his column, said that APNU came closest to his demand “for radical constitutional change to introduce a more equitable and participative governance arrangement”. He said that the APNU has a good chance of preventing the PPP/C from gaining fifty percent of the votes cast if it is able to: “turn out every single traditional voter of its constituent parties; win significant quantities of Amerindian votes and strategically monitor every single polling place from the beginning to the very end of the election day process”.

According to Jeffrey, the Westminster form of governance is “insufficient” for ruling Guyana. “It is not that our parliament is useless; it simply was not designed to deliver the kind of outcomes our society requires,” he contends.  “The coming elections must be seen as an opportunity for political transformation: the constitution, the parliamentary and the electoral and general governance systems require revolutionary reforms,” he adds.

Jeffrey had previously been affiliated with the People’s National Congress but later became a civic member of the PPP/C government in 1992.  Under the PPP/C government, Jeffrey held the portfolio of Minister of Labour, Housing,  Human Services and Social Security  from 1992 to 1997.  From 1997-2001, he served as Minister of Health then Labour and subsequently became Minister of Education in 2001. In 2006, he became the Foreign Trade Minister before stepping down in 2008 after a public dispute with President Bharrat Jagdeo over the position Guyana should take regarding the implementation of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union.

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