It is time political parties were brought under the ambit of the law

Dear Editor,

Your article ‘Ed Ahmad has made no contribution to PPP/C 2011 campaign – Freedom House,’ SN July 26, refers. The PPP/C must think Guyanese would believe that civilisation has been found on Planet Mars. And that Mr Ed Ahmad came to Guyana, went through the normal channels, entered a commercial contract with Mr Donald Ramotar and other directors of the party’s operating company, New Guyana Company Limited, for the lease of premises; applied for and acquired valuable state-owned lands through open tender at market price; and then set about being a model entrepreneur, contributing to our Foreign Direct Investment and GDP.

They also expect us to accept the word of a party with its back to the wall, facing scandal after scandal. A party which has never admitted receiving, let alone accounted for huge sums of money it received in the past from the USSR and other socialist countries, or for all the donations to the party for its successive elections campaigns from businesspersons and government contractors who happen to be some of the party’s best friends. These same contractors have found some interesting means of directing their generous contributions to the construction of ocean front housing for the political elite in Pradoville 2.

Embarrassed by mounting revelations about Mr Ed Ahmad, the party has rushed to state that he has made no contribution to its 2011 campaign – even though none of the mainstream media, political parties or commentators made any such accusation. (The French have a saying that translates to ‘he who excuses himself accuses himself’). It seems a reasonable inference from the denial that the party wants us to believe that Mr Ahmad did not meet with President Jagdeo and his travel companion Donald Ramotar on their New York trips and that he did not attend any of the PPP fundraising events in the Big Apple.

Unfortunately for the PPP/C, the bungled attempts by Dr Ashni Singh and Shaik Baksh to legalise scandalous computer procurement contracts valued at $300 million coincided with revelations of alleged criminal conduct by one of their favourite entrepreneurs and placed the corruption prone PPP in a real dilemma.

They also created havoc with citizens’ corruption digestive system that allows us to internally process only one exposed scandal per fortnight.

There are two very important lessons the Jagdeo administration’s conduct has taught us. The first is that it is time that political parties are brought under the ambit of the law. Readers may be surprised to know that there are no such laws and the parties can operate however they please.

This means that those with access to money from crooks, convicts, contractors and criminals will have a decided edge over the electoral process.

The second is that a policy of no witch-hunting and no retribution by any subsequent non-PPP government cannot extend to a blanket exemption from prosecution for those who blatantly and shamelessly engage in corruption and malfeasance in public office.

Yours faithfully,
Christopher Ram

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