On the stage on which the politics of Guyana is being performed, one would expect at any moment to see the appearance of Habeeb Khan or Jerry Lewis to participate in the pantomime.
On the one hand we have the minority government of Mr Ramotar which steadfastly refuses to accept that they are holding on to power by the skin of their teeth, due to a constitution which allows a government which does not hold a plurality in parliament to rule the country. Actually in the Westminster system this is a unique situation owing to the 1980 constitution, but the government is not accepting this as an abnormality and is not cooperating fully with the opposition because of a fear of losing power with the inevitable consequences that must follow.
On the other hand we have an opposition which after nearly two years with the support of 52% of the population, has not discharged their responsibility to the majority who voted for them. Because they will not stand together, they have been largely inefficient. And time and again it has proved to be the AFC which has let us down, begging the question, why don’t they see that those who voted for them in our badly divided society said no to the PPP, and that Dr Cheddi Jagan notwithstanding, the PPP’s popularity has declined to a stage from which it may never recover the power it once had due to the corruption which it has visited on Guyana. And recently we see that Mr Ramotar calling for support of the Amaila deal was not well received by the public on any side of the fragmented political divide. The public reaction to Mr Ramjattan’s support of this matter in Parliament gives us a glimpse of the mood of the public. They did not like it at all!
Despite the fact that the opposition benches in parliament are filled with lawyers, not one case has trickled through to the CCJ to rule on the very unique political position we find ourselves in today. But many feel that a constitution which leaves a country in this fragmented situation should not be allowed to stand; it is a flaw which was not foreseen by its crafters and it is time that we explored ways to make sure that this cannot happen again. If it is allowed to stand then a different interpretation of how it must work in our unique situation must be given clearly and unequivocally, since this cannot be allowed to continue.
Several motions, bills, etc, have been submitted to parliament and assented to by a majority of the House and Mr Ramotar has refused to either assent to them or have them implemented. So Mr Ramotar and his government are violating our laws; he must do as the parliament wishes or stand the consequences. It is common sense, but even common sense seems to have escaped the PPP. Now Mr Ramotar is begging the opposition to rubberstamp his Amaila project when it seems from all legitimate nongovernmental sources that this project is riddled with problems, and still he does not understand why the opposition is not cooperating with him. He is overlooking the fact that he and his minority government have blocked the legitimate wishes of the opposition on numerous issues and he now condemns them for not supporting him and his Amaila project. In the Stabroek News of August 13, we see Mr Ramotar appealing to the public to help him get the Sithe Global investors to stay. There were 45 comments by the public living in Guyana and abroad and having read them all, not one is sympathetic to Mr Ramotar’s call; they believe Messrs Ram, Gaskin, Greenidge and Professor Clive Thomas who say that this is a bad deal.
We are not a nation which is overly addicted to polls as are other countries which is a measure of our backwardness, but this response from the public in those comments about Mr Ramotar’s appeal, tells us that the public has rejected the Amaila project and GPL and the PPP. It is a matter which has not come up seriously before, but it should. Desmond Hoyte wanted to privatise GPL just as he privatised GT&T, but he was stopped from completing the deal after losing the 1992 elections.
The option to privatise GPL is still before us on the table, and that is what I think that we should do. Instead of supporting these shenanigans the Private Sector Commission should be supporting the privatisation of GPL and not supporting Amaila which is riddled with problems that have plagued the project from day one, starting with Fip Motilall.
I will not dwell on the lack of accountability with which the PPP has conspired to cloud all the deals it is making with the Chinese for Marriott hotels, airports and sugar factories.