The Opposition as “Government”

- Guyanese Remittances: Be Not Ashamed

“The Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) team met with a group from A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance For Change (AFC) in what will be interpreted as a growing recognition in the international community that the Opposition is in charge of the legislature.

Previous visits by the CFATF to push for the amendments did not include meetings with the joint opposition”.

The above is excerpted from a report in this past Sunday Stabroek (June 30, ’13) under the caption “Regional Group Meets Opposition Over Anti-Money Laundering Law”.  It was a story of the meeting between the Regional “Money Laundering” group and Guyana’s Parliamentary Opposition.

Readers – and my editor – must excuse this offering being my most brief for the year even as I “explore” the significance of the quote above, along with my view of recent approaches by Georgetown’s Diplomatic Community.

Two points up front: my caption about Opposition as “Government”  is primarily an attention-getter.  Those who left the 1980 Constitution as it is with respect to how we get (elect) a government, know that the Opposition can’t become government via any backdoor.  The government is (constitutionally) elected to exercise specific responsibilities.

Secondly, I appreciate that the portion in the excerpt quoted above about “…A growing recognition in the International Community that the Opposition is in charge of the legislature” is primarily an editorial opinion rather than a tested, proven fact.  But I spare a thought on the virtually new, welcome activist role of our parliamentary/political opposition these days.

A “Loyal”, patriotic,
constructive Opposition?

I’m sure that long, long ago I read of the concept of a “Loyal Opposition” within the British/Westminster Constitutional arrangement and tradition.  The suggestion is that the parliamentary opposition is almost duty-bound to support good reasonable measures presented by the government.  And that support never precludes the questions on behalf of its constituency and the country.  In many “Third World” countries, of course, the Opposition is solely there to oppose, expose and depose! Not really helpful at all.

Within certain conditions, I welcome today’s Guyanese Opposition’s new status”. I appreciate the new dispensation whereby the Western “powers”, the International Financial Institutions and the local diplomatic community now think it prudent – and strategic (?) – to actively consult with the parliamentary opposition.  That alone should send a message to a proud government.  However legitimate it is.

A passing word on the role of the Diplomatic Community: Our diplomats representing the very developed nations in Georgetown are certainly not being “diplomatic” any longer – in the manner we knew the British to be.  Today’s diplomats are forthright with their analyses and advice.

Frankly Speaking, if you accept the people’s aid, you should listen to their “advice”. I do however, regard one aspect of the reaction of President Ramotar and Minister Ashni to the recent diplomatic reprimands.  It is that the declarations in Georgetown and the Status Reports from the American State Department (for example) can  influence negatively potential investors. Investors from specific countries.  That can mean loss of employment for Guyanese workers. “Sanctions” often hurt the poor, the people; not the governments.

I suppose this government can (willingly) turn to “rogue investors” from “strange countries”.


Lifeline remittances and US

The reality of the Guyanese Diaspora and their remittances have captured my intense interest over the past two decades.

David Jessop, this past Sunday, discussed the “central role in the lives of many families in the Caribbean” played by the remittances gladly sent to them from overseas.  He was analyzing the increase – in some cases – in the amount of money being funnelled to the Caribbean and Guyana.

I myself have written about the IDB’s Multilateral Investment Fund’s role in the distribution, and other uses, of remittances being poured into “poorer” countries. I’ll surely search for more info on this subject but I know that those same remittances produce funding for specific development projects in the recipient countries.

And until I return to this subject just know that whenever money-transfer companies and other sources remit funds from those sending-countries, those sending-countries also benefit from significant incomes.  So don’t ever feel shy that you in Guyana, are receiving your relatives’ goodwill.  All are benefitting!


*1)  The professional bloggers are having “a field day” over the surveillance/electronic tapping issue.

But a credible source has revealed that the UK intelligence agency GCHQ and the American NSA record the content of phone calls, email messages, Facebook posts and browser histories of tens of millions of people.  By tapping into fiber-optic cables – the infrastructure through which all Internet traffic must pass – the two agencies have created a systematic procedure for procuring, filtering and storing private communications.

Other Jagdeo/Government critics were swift to remind President Ramotar that the PPP government was fingered in a Court of Law as facilitating a now convicted person to acquire phone-tapping equipment which was used to triangulate callers’ locations.  For foul purposes.

*2)  I had the privilege of acquiring the transcripts from the Thomas Carroll Visa Court Case.  Many local names are naturally recorded in those transcripts.

*3)  I like Sexy Suzie’s kaiso “Insufficient ties”. But Renita here has just purchased a cheap engagement ring.  She’s wearing it when she goes into the US Embassy Visa Section in Kingston. Why?

‘Til next week!


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