As a Member of Parliament, representing Region 10 on A Partnership for National Unity’s slate, there was cause to make reference to Dr Cheddi Jagan’s philosophy as Leader of the PPP during my Budget presentation, in an effort to jolt the memory of members on the government side in the National Assembly as how far they have strayed from their revered leader, and how much they have betrayed his legacy.
Though it came as no surprise, Mr Clement Rohee, in his role as the party’s General Secretary sought to examine what was said in the House in order to find something to say in his Monday press conference. May I suggest that both his own and the public’s time would have been best served had he made known his specific disagreement with the reference to Dr Jagan during the debate. The Member’s regurgitation of stories told a hundred times about rigged elections and the 1948 sugar workers’ struggle are poor attempts at camouflaging the references made to Dr Jagan.
I am in my thirties, and a large percentage of this population is under 35 years old. The allegations and counter-allegations of rigged elections from a time when we were not born or were children, serve only as history, and have no direct impact on our day-to-day lives and what we aspire to be, which is what a National Budget should factor in.
Our generation is not interested in settling old scores or living with the hate and distrust of some of our seniors. We desire a society where persons are free to campaign and vote for a party of their choice, and when the elections are over we want our elected leaders to get down to the business of good governance. This is the debate which, as a member of the opposition, I participated in. Region 10 voted for all the parliamentary parties. Now that the elections are over the executive has to deliver and will be held to this expectation.
The Member is advised that my generation wants opportunities to unleash our potential and pursue our dreams, to judge and form friendships based on character, not race or political association; we want to pursue our dreams in the land of our birth regardless of who we are, which party we voted for, or where we live. In short, the Member is advised that my generation has had enough of the old hate and wars. We want an unpolluted environment and clean air to go about our business. We want all to be held to the same standard and play by the same rules.
We want an environment where the Guyana Constitution works for all and not for some.
Below is the excerpt from my reference to Dr Jagan that has so angered Mr Rohee:-
“Note is taken that the Honourable Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh, in his presentation addressed government’s desire to expand bauxite output. It was the late president Dr Cheddi Jagan who reminded this nation that development must carry a human face and as stated in the New Global Order: ‘Human rights must embrace the civil and political rights as well as economic, social and cultural rights.’ As we are now witnessing, the party of Dr Jagan is drifting further and further away from the principles he espoused.
“Mr Speaker, bauxite expansion, or rather the exploitation of our non-renewable resource, to the enrichment of foreign oligarchs and their few local counterparts, creaming the wealth of this nation and violating the rights of workers by disregarding the laws of the land would be condemned by Dr Jagan, as much these are condemned by our regional government. Where companies like RUSAL/ BCGI continue to transgress the rights of workers to a trade union of choice, our citizens are forced to work in unsafe and unhealthy environment; Bai Shan Ling continues to engage in bad corporate practices and destroy our roads, posing threat to lives, limbs and economic wellbeing of those living in the community, Dr Jagan would have put his foot down on these.
“Where BOSAI continues its poor environmental management resulting in public health hazards/pollution of the Kara Kara creek, the clogging of the Hymara Creek, and dust in Linden would not have been tolerated by Dr Jagan. Expansion in our Amerindian communities such as Huru Huru without regard to human rights is not development, Mr Speaker; it’s encroachment, and Dr Jagan would not have tolerated it based on this belief and I quote ‘the necessity for new global human order in which the needs, hopes and aspirations of each citizen will assume primary importance’ unquote. As such the region insists these expansions be built on respect and mutual benefits.”
Member of Parliament
APNU, Region 10