With Clement Rohee’s election as the new PPP General Secretary, AFC leader Khemraj Ramjattan says he should let the reins of the Home Ministry go.
Rohee has come under intense scrutiny during his tenure as Home Affairs Minister and the criticism culminated in the opposition’s passage of a motion of no confidence against him in the National Assembly last year.
“I hope that in view of the troubles he has always faced in the parliament that he opts out as minister and be a full time General Secretary. He is not going to get any work done and it will only be a charade—he as General Secre-tary and minister,” Ramjattan told Stabroek News in an invited comment.
At the announcement of his election to General Secretary, Rohee noted that his role as Minister of Home Affairs would need to be reviewed. He said that in the immediate future, he would maintain both positions but that it is “obviously something we will have to look at down the road.” President Donald Ramotar said that no timeframe was set for this review.
Ramjattan, a former member of the PPP, said that it would be an ease for both the government and Rohee if he gives up his ministerial position and becomes a full time General Secretary.
Ramjattan also suggested that the PPP had selected Rohee to be General Secretary “from a narrower circle within the cabal” and he charged that the process was not democratic.” He said that had the vote been taken to the floor of the congress, Rohee would not have gotten the position in light of his poor performance in the security sector.
He noted that Rohee did very badly at this year’s PPP congress when compared with his performance in previous years. Rohee received the 10th highest number of votes for the party’s Central Committee.
Ramjattan recalled that, prior to his expulsion from the PPP, he had been pushing for the post of General Secretary to be vied for at the party’s congress. This was at the Port Mourant Congress in 2002. Ramjattan’s position was that there be a democratic process on the floor of the congress to delegate an elected leader, a General Secretary and other key positions—a process which he said is done in the AFC.
He stressed that had the vote been taken to the floor of the congress, Rohee never would have won the General Secretary position. “This is how the communist operate,” he said, adding that one party leader must be doing all sorts of things. “They are control freaks …They don’t want to democratise the process,” he added.
Ramjattan also suggested that under the current arrangement, young members of the party who have potential are not getting any opportunities. He said that hardly anything is being handed down to them.
Meanwhile, APNU Sha-dow Home Affairs Minister Winston Felix told Stabroek News that the government is stifling the security sector by allowing an incompetent minister to continue performing.
Felix said that Rohee, after six to seven years in the Ministry of Home Affairs, is useless and cannot function. “This minister had opportunities for years and he failed miserably,” he said, while pointing out that Rohee has been unable to deal with a present conflict between the ministry-employed Strategic Management Department and senior police officers. The department had been set up to oversee the implementation of the Guyana Police Force’s strategic plan.
While noting that Rohee should have been removed a long time ago, Felix opined that the PPP should see it fit to have a cabinet reshuffle done.
Rohee was elected after Ramotar declined his re-nomination as the General Secretary, stating that the combined responsibilities of leading the party and the country had been overwhelming since his inauguration in 2011. He had held the General Secretary’s post since 1997, following the death of former president and party leader Dr. Cheddi Jagan.