Nei­ther the PPPC nor the APNU+AFC can point a fin­ger at the other

Stabroek News Sunday - - LETTERS -

Dear Editor, Some elected of­fi­cials ei­ther don’t care or are for­get­ting we are liv­ing in an era where information is eas­ily re­triev­able and trans­mit­ted. No amount of deny­ing, as hap­pened this past week by the coali­tion lead­ers, can erase the pub­lic ad­mis­sion by one of its senior mem­bers that Cab­i­net raised the is­sue of David Hinds and my own columns in the Guyana Chron­i­cle. It’s a fact some mem­bers of the Cab­i­net, ie the senior rank­ing, were call­ing for the columns to be re­moved, ex­press­ing angst they were still be be­ing car­ried, and in­sist­ing a way must be found to stop them.

There is no se­cret that at the 14th Jan­uary me­dia brunch, hosted by Pres­i­dent Granger at the State House, the ‘Eye on Guyana’ col­umn was sin­gled out for at­ten­tion. One of my ar­ti­cles, ‘Govt lacks tes­tic­u­lar for­ti­tude to con­tain Rus­sia, it will be worse with ExxonMo­bil’ (10th De­cem­ber 2017), was used as ref­er­ence for what must not grace the Chron­i­cle pages. Shortly af­ter, this ar­ti­cle was re­moved from the pa­per’s on­line edi­tion.

The no­tion that Prime Min­is­ter Nag­amootoo be­ing in re­cov­ery and away from of­fice is ab­sent from po­lit­i­cal par­tic­i­pa­tion and de­ci­sion-mak­ing does not hold. His pres­ence con­tin­ues to be felt via his weekly col­umn in Chron­i­cle and due to his port­fo­lio in gov­ern­ment he would re­main in­volved.

Ac­cu­sa­tions that crit­i­cism of the gov­ern­ment was bad or tan­ta­mount to bit­ing the hands that feed you ig­nore the fact that 1) the peo­ple own the state me­dia, not the gov­ern­ment; 2) there is yet to be proven/shown that any of my crit­i­cism was un­truth­ful. The fact gov­ern­ment may be un­com­fort­able hav­ing a mir­ror placed in its face by the peo­ple who elected them to rep­re­sent, ad­vance, and safe­guard their in­ter­est, and are pay­ing them to do so is not de­fi­ciency on the peo­ple’s part.

Anil Nan­dall, for­mer PPP/C ap­pointed At­tor­ney General and Min­is­ter of Le­gal Af­fairs now shadow min­is­ter, has since weighed in on the Chron­i­cle is­sue and the role of the gov­ern­ment in our ter­mi­na­tion. Re­fer to ‘Schisms in the coali­tion will only get larger’ (SN, March 30). His ren­der­ing is a classic case of ‘iron pot call­ing the ket­tle black,’ though the coali­tion must take re­spon­si­bil­ity for creat­ing such an at­mos­phere.

To cite me as a “re­lent­less critic of the PPP and ally of the gov­ern­ment who de­luded him­self into be­liev­ing that he can be crit­i­cal of a PNC gov­ern­ment in the Chron­i­cle,” and would have had to go given that the coali­tion’s “au­thor­i­tar­i­an­ism brooks no crit­i­cism,” is a reve­la­tion of the de­based na­ture of po­lit­i­cal think­ing of which the PPP/C can­not claim in­no­cence.

Though the coali­tion when in op­po­si­tion rightly con­demned the PPP/C gov­ern­ment for si­lenc­ing voices of cri­tique, dis­sent and al­ter­na­tive views in the peo­ple’s me­dia, ac­cep­tance now of sim­i­lar treat­ment by the coali­tion gov­ern­ment is not a func­tion of pol­i­tics but that of per­son­al­i­ties. The state-owned me­dia were used as hatch­ets against the peo­ple, driv­ing wedges in the so­ci­ety. Yours truly was not al­lowed ac­cess, in­clud­ing the right to re­spond to those who wrote about me. This dou­ble stan­dard the peo­ple must not sup­port for it re­tards us and so­ci­ety’s de­vel­op­ment. If it was wrong un­der the PPP/C it can­not be right un­der the APNU+AFC.

The in­ter­nal po­lit­i­cal work­ing of the coali­tion mem­bers is for them to re­solve, pro­vid­ing such does not vi­o­late the Con­sti­tu­tion and Laws of Guyana. But even as Nand­lall high­lights treat­ment of smaller mem­bers in the group he ig­nores that the Civic com­po­nent of the PPP in gov­ern­ment fared

no bet­ter. One of its ear­li­est mem­bers, who was dis­posed of, is on pub­lic record speak­ing of the loose ar­range­ment of that al­liance, which was nur­tured and al­lowed by the PPP in or­der to minia­turise, side­line and ig­nore what was said to be an amor­phous group.

Nei­ther the PPP/C nor the APNU+AFC coali­tion can point a fin­ger of pu­rity to the other, though in prin­ci­ple there is sup­port for mem­bers of this coali­tion to earn and de­mand their right­ful place at the ta­ble. There must be po­lit­i­cal ma­tu­rity and growth in our pol­i­tics.

The Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment needs to be re­minded that sup­port for any gov­ern­ment or op­po­si­tion is not hinged on blind loy­alty but on ad­her­ence to uni­ver­sally ac­cept­able prin­ci­ples that would see the re­al­i­sa­tion of good gov­er­nance through re­spect for the rule of law, cit­i­zens/work­ers’ rights and free­doms, pub­lic ac­count­abil­ity, and sound poli­cies and pro­grammes that would bring about eq­uity, jus­tice and fair play in the so­ci­ety.

There is no delu­sion on my part. There is be­lief in the equal­ity of man and the ca­pac­ity of man to act to­wards each other with rea­son and con­science. The ben­e­fit of the doubt will al­ways be given un­til proven other­wise. Sup­port or non-sup­port are con­tin­gent on these. To brand me pro-gov­ern­ment and anti-PPP but still wit­ness my voice be­ing raised against is­sues I con­sider reck­less and in­ap­pro­pri­ate by this ad­min­is­tra­tion which I asked peo­ple to elect in May 2015, demon­strates an ab­sence of blind loy­alty or si­lence in the fact of vi­o­la­tions or trans­gres­sions. This ought to serve as les­son that all shall be held ac­count­able by me, as cit­i­zen and leader.

The claim that the ad­min­is­tra­tion in en­gag­ing in “vul­gar dis­re­gard for the Con­sti­tu­tion and crass un­demo­cratic ac­tions” since 2015 truth­fully is not with­out some merit. Laws, rules, con­ven­tions, dec­la­ra­tions and char­ters are not made to be cherry-picked, but re­spected in their en­tirety. When this gov­ern­ment con­tin­ues the prac­tice of cherry-pick­ing, Nand­lall’s ac­cu­sa­tion will find fer­tile ground. At the same time nei­ther he nor the PPP/C can claim moral author­ity as the na­tion wit­nessed that gov­ern­ment’s fla­grant dis­re­gard for the rule of law, rights and free­doms; and the plun­der­ing of the na­tion’s re­sources for the ben­e­fit of a clique.

I close by bor­row­ing Nand­lall’s use of Ge­orge San­tayana’s ad­mo­ni­tion that, “Those who can­not re­mem­ber the past are con­demned to re­peat it.” Truer words could not have been spo­ken. The things the peo­ple con­demned with the PPP/C man­age­ment of our gov­ern­ment we must not now ac­cept from the APNU+AFC. When­ever ugly signs, acts or ac­tions raise their heads we must nip them in the bud! Yours faith­fully, Lin­coln Lewis

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