From the outset, let me say first as a Guyanese citizen, second as a former Minister of Foreign and Home Affairs and third, as an elected member of the Eleventh parliament of Guyana, I totally and unequivocally disassociate myself from the motion moved and passed in the National Assembly glorifying a former PNCR member of parliament, who was jailed by the US authorities for planning and plotting the destruction of the JFK international airport through which millions traverse either to destinations within America or to other parts of the world.
In the circumstances, there is no denying that there is a longstanding tradition, custom and practice to honour former parliamentarians during sittings of the National Assembly of Guyana.
That is not what provoked the present controversy following passage of the motion honouring Kadir.
What provoked the ire of all those who deemed the act unconscionable was the horrendous and despicable nature of the activities in which Kadir was the engaged.
The APNU+ AFC seems totally oblivious to the well-known adage that in life, as it is with everything, there are exceptions to the rule.
How else can anyone describe the passing of a motion in the highest forum in the land, paying tribute to an international terrorist other than an affront and, a slap in the face of all those engaged in the fight against international terrorism?
It is anathema at these times when terrorism continues to wreak havoc around the world, as its perpetrators did recently in New Zealand and Sri Lanka, to call on a country’s highest law making forum to pay tribute to one of their nationals found guilty of plotting and planning to execute a terrorist attack on a foreign government.
Any governing political party that uses unashamedly its parliamentary majority, to perpetuate such a terrible parliamentary misadventure, must be roundly condemned for committing a great disservice to humanity.
What is done cannot be undone. And no amount of skin-saving double talk as was attempted by the PNCR in its statement pleading ‘misinterpretation’ can correct the irreparable damage that was done as a result of what Stabroek News described as ‘another ignorant’ and ‘senseless decision by the PNCR…’
When a government is blinded by promethean ambitions characterized by arrogance and narcissism, bad judgement is bound to step in as occurred in Guyana when the PNCR called on the National Assembly to pander to its whims and fancies by approving the motion to honour Kadir.
With all its starry-eyed experience in foreign affairs, was the government so oblivious to the fact that it would be hazardous to international comity and, therefore foolhardy to honour a person found guilty of and jailed for planning acts of terrorism against a country with which Guyana has enjoyed years of cordial and mutually beneficial relationships?
Had Kadir’s plot succeeded, the deaths and human suffering the world would have experienced would have been of unimaginable proportions looked at through the prism of September 11, 2001.
Had Kadir been ‘the victim of an entrapment put in place by foreign agencies…’ those who recognized that he was, should have advised him accordingly and helped extricate their brother from the trap, real or imagined.
As for Mr. Lincoln Lewis’ letter, the veteran trade unionist, known for his contradictory political impulses and his fissiparous ways, should hang his head in shame to have placed Kadir on a pedestal honouring him as a ‘distinguished’ Guyanese.
To claim as he wrote, that ‘society functions better where truth and accountability applies to all’ is nothing but an attempt to cut through the thicket of fantasy and hubris in a febrile effort to defend the indefensible.
Clement J. Rohee
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Home Affairs