When Dr Rupert Roopnaraine was removed from his post as senior minister and Minister of Education he was essentially being sacked. He was sacked on the death anniversary of WPA Co- Leader Dr Walter Rodney, which was quite humiliating for a senior member of the coalition to endure. Dr Roopnaraine was later reassigned to a minuscule ministerial post in the Ministry of the Presidency.
At this point everyone was dumbfounded at this move by the President and unsure about what his real intentions were. Was he ill-advised or was he just high-handed? Everyone awaited the WPA’s next move in relation to a junior coalition partner. Dr Roopnaraine and the WPA were embarrassed.
Now, when the real motive behind the demotion sank in, ie that this was a deliberate move to belittle him, Dr Roopnaraine reacted in kind by resigning from his post. In turn this placed the coalition in serious jeopardy. President Granger was in a serious political bind, hence the quick damage control move of refusing to accept Dr Roopnaraine’s resignation letter, as well as cajoling him back into the coalition fold. Dr Roopnaraine did accept the offer and is now still a member of cabinet. Some are of the opinion that he should be reinstated in his former position as Education Minister (that was the real ground for his resignation) while the diehards of the PNC/APNU believe that would be sending the wrong message to the populace that the PNC is weak.
Be that as it may, the real scenario is that President Granger had no choice but to accede to Dr Roopnaraine’s demands because of the problem it would cause the coalition should he act otherwise. Mr Granger made a very unwise decision to interfere with the fragile coalition structure, failing to realize that such a move had serious repercussions. He acted unwisely in flexing his muscle and Dr Roopnaraine reacted by flexing his, in essence showing the President who is really in charge. Dr Roopnaraine was telling President Granger in clear-cut language that he could not strong-arm his way around, even when it comes to a single junior member of the coalition.
The situation is further compounded with the massive fire and the subsequent prison breakout at Camp Street. The Granger led coalition is in that worrisome position of what to do next, with a failing economy and an equally embarrassing failure of a Public Security Minister he cannot touch. President Granger would not risk removing Mr Khemraj Ramjattan for fear of an outcome similar to that of the Roopnaraine case.
Therefore, Mr Granger is in dire straits, and Guyana is in an untenable political situation.