I refer to Ramon Gaskin’s letter of May 21 advocating the removal of the Georgetown City Council (‘City councillors from all the parties should be dismissed’) . This is a self-serving analysis from someone who has re-entered the kingdom of the PPP. The letter is notorious for the facts it leaves out as for the ‘misanalysis’ it contains. First, this is the same Mr Gaskin who freely condemns elected city councillors (they were elected and no one from a minority government can replace them, only Parliament can do that).
Ms Sooba is a PPP supporter and never hid that fact as a student at UG. Mr Gaskin knows this very well and his letter is intended to help a discredited Ms Sooba. Mr Gaskin has finally returned to his natural habitat – the PPP. In his missive he likened the council’s attitude to Ms Sooba to the AFC/APNU boycott of Minister Rohee which he used cynical semantics to describe.
Mr Gaskin claims the city council is illegal. This is an egregious mischief. On Thursday night, I spent two full hours with Michael Carrington at Demico House in which he produced a plethora of documents and Bills to show me how the PPP has frustrated local government elections. Mr Carrington is the AFC’s point man on local government having sat for a full term as a Region 4 councillor. Mr Carrington also showed me how year after year Parliament has postponed the elections. I am grateful to him for the information he provided me on the history of local government legislation. I did not know it was the Hoyte government that removed the authority of the Minister to name the date for local polls and that the PPP government restored that authoritarian mandate. I mean no insult to Mr Gaskin but his knowledge of the city council’s legal travails is infinitesimal in comparison to Mr Carrington’s.
Finally, on the abominable omissions in Mr Gaskin’s letter, nowhere has this man mentioned the virtual strangulation of the city council since 1992 by a government filled with the lust for power that is hell-bent on destroying local power and is inflexible about maintaining centralised control over all locally elected bodies. Everyone knows that the city council has absolutely no authority to raise its own revenue. Everyone knows that the Georgetown City Council is a victim of Guyana’s traditional dinosaur – power lust and race. Can GHK Lall please send Mr Gaskin a complimentary copy of his new book on the race monster in Guyana?
Mr Gaskin wrote that the city council is annoyed that Ms Sooba was chosen by the Minister instead of someone the council wanted. So why not? Why must the Minister choose Ms Sooba? And why must he choose to replace elected NDCs with IMCs that consist of PPP members? Mr Gaskin is silent on that depravity. He went on to refer to the unpopularity of the city council. I live in Guyana and I see an equally unpopular government, the very government that had him study the books of City Hall.
Mr Gaskin laments the demonstrations and pickets against Ms Sooba by the city council. But we should be glad that the protest mentality has reached another section of the Guyanese society. We are too silent and sheepish a nation.
We will see how popular political parties are when city council elections are held. I can assure Mr Gaskin that I will be up against him in the campaign.