Beyond the Words

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first_imgDear Editor,On Sunday, September 16, 2018, I heard Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan saying that the Leader of the Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo had publicly stated his non-support for David Ramnarine’s candidacy as Police Commissioner.Ramjattan went on to say that Clement Rohee, who he claimed is the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) spokesperson on the security sector, had expressed his opposition to the appointment of David Ramnarine as Police Commissioner. When asked why his recommendation for Ramnarine to be appointed as Commissioner was not accepted by President David Granger, Ramjattan said his was only a recommendation and that the President’s decision is final.He asserted that the President had the benefit of insights from the Police Service Commission, the Slowe Commission of Inquiry (CoI), and an interview panel to assess the capability and professionalism of the eight Assistant Police Commissioners, including Ramnarine. The President chose Leslie James as Commissioner and four others as Deputy Commissioners and did not even consider Ramnarine for one of the Deputy Commissioner positions. Granger said: “I think this is the best outcome and they are all fit and proper persons to lead the Police Force.”Notwithstanding his recommendation of Ramnarine to be appointed as Police Commissioner was rejected, Ramjattan said he accepted the decision of President Granger, who he claimed is a man who adheres to the provisions of the Guyana Constitution. Really! What a startling statement! How would Ramjattan explain Granger’s unilateral appointment of retired Judge, James Patterson as Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) chair? Granger defied the time-tested Carter-Price Formula for the appointment of the GECOM chair that has also been enshrined in the Guyana Constitution, and to state that he (Granger) sticks to the Constitution is bewildering! There are other instances of constitutional violations.Let’s put the other records straight. Jagdeo never made any public statement that he did not support Ramnarine as Police Commissioner. At the consultation meeting with the President, he had asked why Ramnarine was not considered for that appointment and Granger said he had a number of “specific reasons,” but did not elaborate. “Opposition Leader Jagdeo revealed that he questioned the President as to why Ramnarine was not considered for the post (Commissioner) and was told by Granger that there are specific reasons. Those reasons, were however, not revealed.” (Guyana Times: August 31, 2018).The assertion that Clement Rohee was against Ramnarine’s appointment is correct, but that position of Rohee was personal and did not necessarily reflect the views of the PPP. It’s the PPP General Secretary or the PPP Executive Secretary who speaks on the behalf of the party in such matters. And it was the PPP General Secretary (who is also the Leader of the Opposition) who met with President Granger for consultations and not Clement Rohee. Ramjattan has made a splurge to cast the blame for the Government’s bypassing of David Ramnarine as Police Commissioner, onto the PPP. But Ramjattan should know that the Guyanese public is smarter than that. Hardly anyone believed what he said.Another worrisome thing is Granger said he had “specific concerns” about Ramnarine’s candidacy. I believe that the “specific concerns” were born primarily out of Slowe’s one-man CoI that drove a deep wedge into the careers of both the former Commissioner Seelall Persaud and acting Commissioner David Ramnarine.Notwithstanding, it does not seem that Ramjattan had any such “concerns” nor was he aware of them since he (Ramjattan) recommended Ramnarine for the position of Police Commissioner, knowing that Granger had made it clear that he wanted someone with integrity and who is also unbribable. Taking these requirements into consideration Ramjattan placed Ramnarine ahead of Leslie James and the four Deputy Commissioners. My question is simple. How can the subject Minister Ramjattan not have “concerns” with Ramnarine when the President had quite a few? Were they reading from the same book? Something does not add up here.Also, when Ramjattan was asked why he was not around when the appointments were made, he said that he was overseas on family business. It seems that the appointment and investiture of the Police Commissioner and the 4 Deputy Commissioners were not important enough for the Minister of Public Security to be there!Shifting gear onto another level, Ramjattan boldly proclaimed that the eight American Congressmen who recently visited Guyana were there to get a first-hand look at the situation.He said the delegation was pleased with the coalition Government’s performance and then unrestrainedly expressed his (Government’s) unconditional love for America. In his rhetorical flourish on this matter, he failed to tell the listeners that the visit was part of a broader effort to cover not only Guyana but two other countries. And how could a one-day visit, shrouded in secrecy (where the press and the Opposition were excluded), achieve anything substantial relative to governance and the social conditions?Finally, the interviewer failed to ask Ramjattan the hard questions, like “why is there so much difficulty in paying the sugar workers’ severance, to which they are entitled by law?” Remember it was Ramjattan and his cohorts who said sugar was too big to fail and that, if elected, they would pay sugar workers a 20 per cent pay rise. Furthermore, “why did President Granger say that the sugar workers’ severance pay is sucking the Treasury?” In fact, “isn’t the payment of $14 million a month for a grossly under-utilised drug bond (if one could call it that) at Sussex Street, Albouystown sucking the Treasury?” Why wasn’t Ramjattan asked about the real fears that Guyanese have about electoral rigging, and what measures, if any, is the Government taking to ensure the integrity of the electoral process? “Why wasn’t Ramjattan asked about the widespread practice of racism by the Government?”Politicians should understand that Guyanese, whether local-based or oversea-based, are much smarter than they are often given credit for by them (politicians). In this age of social media in particular, politicians have to do a better job of communicating their views and position on issues. People are also looking for evidence-based information. Speculations, emotionalism, lies and deception had worked well for many but these do not have staying power and will soon dissipate. Evidence-based information and the pursuit of truth should eventually lead to a new political culture in Guyana.Sincerely,Dr Tara Singhlast_img

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