Omi­nous Signs of Dic­ta­tor­ship

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The sit­u­a­tion be­came even more trans­par­ent when it be­came known that Min­is­ter Har­mon had writ­ten the Po­lice Ser­vice Com­mis­sion (PSC) on be­half of the Pres­i­dent in­struct­ing them not to pro­ceed with any pro­mo­tion of of­fi­cers.

This is un­law­ful and un­con­sti­tu­tional.

The PSC is a con­sti­tu­tional body and should be in­de­pen­dent. It was so de­signed to pro­tect it from po­lit­i­cal in­ter­fer­ence of the very na­ture that we are see­ing at this time.

This is sub­ver­sion of an im­por­tant con­sti­tu­tional body. It is un­for­tu­nate that the PSC suc­cumbed to that dik­tat. This can prove to be tragic, for it is an­other step in the di­rec­tion of a dic­ta­tor­ship.

Re­cently, Pres­i­dent Granger made the bold as­cer­tain that the Po­lice Force would be shaken up.

What does he mean by that?

Why is he not al­low­ing the Po­lice Ser­vice Com­mis­sion to do its work? His as­ser­tion sounds more like a di­rec­tive.

Many per­sons have ar­gued that they don’t see any­thing wrong with the Pres­i­dent and Min­is­ter Har­mon in­struct­ing the PSC to not to pro­ceed with any pro­mo­tion of of­fi­cers. How­ever, it is im­por­tant to look at the process to see the di­rec­tion the coun­try is head­ing.

The ear­lier PNC regime (1964-1992) did not be­come a dic­ta­tor­ship in 1964. It took time. It be­gan with the small steps - brib­ing peo­ple to cross the floor, plac­ing un­pro­fes­sional peo­ple in im­por­tant po­si­tions, for ex­am­ple, the Speaker of the Na­tional Assem­bly, etc.

The small steps added up and be­fore we knew it, we were liv­ing un­der a dic­ta­tor­ship.

Over the last two years, this regime has been mov­ing quickly to de-pro­fes­sion­al­ize the pub­lic ser­vice, ha­rass and ha­rangue of­fi­cials to get their own way.

Al­ready, i t has been pointed out that the Na­tional Assem­bly has de­te­ri­o­rated and is re­ally not a fo­rum for de­bates and dis­cus­sions. Op­po­si­tion MPs have been se­verely re­stricted in their pre­sen­ta­tions. They are of­ten reg­u­larly in­ter­rupted dur­ing their speeches by the Speaker. They are even ha­rassed, as we have seen with Bishop Juan Edghill, who has been dragged be­fore the Priv­i­leges Com­mit­tee for in­con­se­quen­tial is­sues. The govern­ment MPs have done far worse, but they do not re­ceive the same treat­ment.

We have seen the Courts de­lay­ing giv­ing de­ci­sions in cases, for ex­am­ple, the case where farm­ers from the West Ber­bice had their hu­man and con­sti­tu­tional rights vi­o­lated, by the regime tak­ing away their lands. The first case was con­cluded months ago by the present Chan­cel­lor (ag), but no de­ci­sion has been given to date.

The Elec­tions Pe­ti­tion case can­not yet be heard even though the Court ruled against the Elec­tions Com­mis­sion, which tried to halt the hear­ing.

We have wit­nessed the ha­rass­ment of many of­fi­cials of the PPP/C govern­ment, in­clud­ing for­mer Pres­i­dent Jagdeo, many for­mer Min­is­ters, and for­mer Head of the Pres­i­den­tial Sec­re­tariat, among oth­ers.

SOCU, a body set-up to fight money laun­der­ing, is be­ing turned into a po­lit­i­cal en­forcer for the PNC/APNU Party. Only po­lit­i­cal op­po­si­tion or per­ceived po­lit­i­cal op­po­si­tion mem­bers are be­ing ha­rassed.

In the mean­time, ob­vi­ously very ques­tion­able trans­ac­tions go on with im­punity - the drug bond scan­dal, the more than $600M drugs deal and the huge amount of projects be­ing awarded with­out go­ing to ten­der, etc.

The drive to politi­cize the Guyana Po­lice Force us­ing a CoI is just the lat­est in a long line of ac­tions that is lead­ing once more to the path of lack of ac­count­abil­ity, trans­parency, the emas­cu­la­tion of Con­sti­tu­tional bod­ies and the grad­ual era­sure of the sep­a­ra­tion of pow­ers.

Peo­ple be warned!

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