The APNU/AFC regime is antidemocratic

first_imgDear Editor,In an earlier article, we had posited that the nature of the present APNU/AFC regime is one of bureaucratic capitalist elite. It was noted that such a regime uses the state apparatus to enrich itself. This is a throwback to the PNC days in power from 1964 to 1992.During this period, the PNC practised similar methods. Super salaries and allowances, coupled with huge corruption scandals like Global Agri, Greenland Crop and others were the order of the day. Eventually, their greed became so great that under the guise of building socialism, the regime “nationalised” 80 per cent of the country’s economy.They did that to further enrich themselves and to control the livelihood of the vast majority of people in the country. This allowed them to lord it over the people. One had to join the PNC to get a job and when the economy deteriorated, they had to join the PNC for basic items, including toilet paper.They even practiced forced labour at Hope Estate. They forced public servants and employees of public corporations to give free labour on weekends.The PNC regime used those same workers and the army to break strikes, which they branded as political.Such a regime, by nature, suppresses criticism. They do not like transparency and accountability. Those methods of management go against their intentions. They want to run the state as if it was their private property, not caring about the welfare of the people.In a word, by its nature, such a regime is considered to be anti-democratic.Of course, defenders of this regime would argue that that was a long time ago and much has changed. Some would even say that it is impossible for them to return to such practices. It is true that a lot has changed. What has not changed is the nature of the regime. That is the constant.It means that they would continue their practice in these new conditions. They work systematically to undermine the democratic gains we have made since 1992 and eventually will take us back to a dictatorship – a la PNC.It is apposite to recall that the PNC took from 1964 to 1973 to complete their strangle on power and to really earn the title as a dictatorship. This shows that the establishment of a dictatorship by the bureaucratic clan is a process.An examination of this PNC-led APNU/AFC regime would show that the contours of such a regime are already distinguishable. This trend is bound to continue.Already, we see that the Parliament is being undermined. Many complaints are being made by the Opposition on how the Speaker is conducting the business of the Assembly. He is not using his authority to facilitate deliberation and debates. Instead his conduct puts him as a partisan operator mainly concerned with defending and protecting government MPs.Already questions begging to be answered are piling up in the National Assembly.Since the regime took power we have noticed the trend – settling of cases, including tax cases. These settlements have cost the economy billions of dollars. The BK International case is one such disturbing matter. This matter did not even reach the court, but settlement of more than a billion dollars was done.In all of these cases, one is hard pressed not to believe that some persons may be getting kickbacks.This is after they have given themselves huge increases in salaries and allowances. This is after they have given their friends super salaries in many public entities. They have also overloaded the system with advisors.The drug bond fiasco is the latest case to show that they are setting up companies to do business with the Government. Minister Norton, in the case of the bond fiasco, is just the fall guy. This stench goes high up in the administration.Many established contractors are already complaining that they are not getting jobs, they have become sub-contractors to persons who were given projects but have no equipment.Already, we have seen the disregard for the tender process and the use of sole sourcing. This is the beginning of the undermining of transparency and accountability.The most worrying factor of this Granger regime is the process of militarisation of the State. Some glimpses of these actions are of great concern.The taking over of the Walter Roth Museum to house the growing bureaucracy is a case in point. Reports have it that army personnel just turned up and told the staff that they will have to move, to start packing.This is an ominous sign of things to come. While we may have some dismissals, as we have seen at GWI, this situation will not get better, it will further deteriorate. This is because of the nature of the regime.The democratic forces in our society must come out and oppose this trend, tomorrow may be too late.Sincerely,Donald Ramotar,Former Presidentlast_img read more


No one should be discriminated against, or positively promoted, because of his/her race

first_imgDear Editor,I am compelled by every decent fibre in my consciousness to express outrage, disbelief, and utter frustration that the discourse which surrounds the unilateral appointment of the GECOM Chairman by President David Granger would move so swiftly into the gutter.This ought to be an intellectual discourse as it relates to the constitutional provisions, instead of an open, unbridled perpetuation of racism and a pro-black agenda by a small group of Guyanese who clearly have special interest.For the purposes of clarity, it is my belief that no race is superior to another, neither should anyone be discriminated against, or positively promoted, because of his or her race. I believe in meritocracy. A person should be judged on the content of their character, their performance, their capacity, and more importantly their integrity. All race groups have produced outstanding, distinguished and noble citizens in this country, and we have persons of all race groups on the wrong side of the law.Having said that, let me now respond to public utterances of the Rastafarian Community of All Guyana, The African Cultural and Development Association (ACDA), Pan African Group (Guyana) Branch, The All African Guyanese Association, and Concerned Citizens in the Diaspora.The Rastafarian Community of All Guyana, which I have noted are 12 citizens, as distinct from the Guyana Rastafarian Council, said these words: “Thus, of the six General and Regional Elections since the implementation of the Carter Formula, five have been chaired by a Guyanese of East Indian descent and one by a Guyanese of African Descent. For our sacred space and consciousness as a multi-racial society, we urge all Guyanese to embrace the appointment of Justice James Patterson, a Guyanese of African descent. This bodes well for ethnic relations within Guyana. We are in the United Nations Decade for People of African Descent.”This statement is:(a) Toxic and laden with a pro-African agenda, and it is an open promotion of a belief that “it’s Afro-Guyanese time now”.(b) It represents total misunderstanding of the Carter Formula, since all of the names extracted and appointed GECOM Chairman came from the various lists submitted by various Leaders of the Opposition during the 1990 to 2015 period. In every instance six (6) names were submitted, and on every occasion the President, from that first list, chose one (1) name. The PPP/C, whilst in office, had no way of installing an Indo-Guyanese as Chairman of GECOM if that name was not submitted by the then Leader of the Opposition. At no time was an Indo-Guyanese unilaterally appointed by any PPP/C President as Chairman of GECOM. Mr Doodnauth Singh S.C., Major General (Rtd) Joseph Singh, and Dr Steve Surujbally were names on lists submitted by Mr Desmond Hoyte S.C. to the then President of Guyana. Those lists included, among others, twice the name Brigadier (Rtd) David Granger.(c) The issue of the race or ethnicity of the six (6) nominated persons as required by Article 161 (2) of the Constitution was never a matter of discussion. Race is not a criterion for suitability for this post. Even if, for argument’s sake, race is to be considered in this appointment, why didn’t the President choose any of the Afro-Guyanese that were named among the eighteen (18) persons submitted by the current Leader of the Opposition?(d) The “Rastafarian Community of All Guyana” may want to consider this outlandish and ill-advised commentary, for in their above-mentioned statement they have disparaged the names and reputations of very eminent, qualified, distinguished and upstanding Afro-Guyanese. On behalf of all Guyana, I do offer these eighteen distinguished Guyanese my sincere apology for this mistreatment.This diatribe must be rejected as the views of twelve (12) Rastafarians, and not as the view of the Rastafarian community in Guyana, or the majority of Afro-Guyanese citizens.I now turn my attention to the African Cultural and Development Association (ACDA), Pan African Group (Guyana) Branch, the All African Guyanese Association, and Concerned Citizens in the Diaspora.In a very bold attempt, these four (4) groups have sought to justify President Granger’s action as constitutional by beating the drums of racism. In one statement, they have attacked, insulted and created wedges, built walls of division by coming up against every group that has spoken as it relates to the President’s action in an unfavourable manner. This is a worrying development, and can be viewed as an evil of monumental proportions.Is the Private Sector Commission comprised solely of Indians? Don’t we have successful Afro-Guyanese entrepreneurs and businessmen?Is the Guyana Human Rights Association a partner of the PPP/C? Laughable!Are all the Guyanese lawyers, businessmen, accountants and other professionals Indo-Guyanese who have benefited, according to their statement, “in a developed criminal state of money laundering, theft and embezzlement, etc.”? Are all our professionals crooks? Unbelievable!Are all the beneficiaries of lands, radio and television licences, house lots, scholarships etc under the PPP/C Indo-Guyanese? Who revoked the leases of the 41 Afro-Guyanese farmers at Seafield on the West Coast of Berbice?Are all the people who died as a result of extra-judicial killings during the vicious crime wave only Afro-Guyanese? Were they killed by Indo-Guyanese? It is time for these groups to be honest with themselves and the Guyanese people.Is it true, as stated by these groups, “that the PSC, GCCI, GMSA, bankers, Indian Supremacists, accountants, lawyers and others who have illegitimately benefited under the PPP/C showing their true colours as they continue to sabotage our ‘democracy’ with the hope of again plundering Guyana with its newfound oil wealth”?Do these organizations — which include in their leadership Mr Eric Phillips and Tacuma Ogunseye, paid employees of the Ministry of the Presidency –represent the views of the masses of Afro-Guyanese? Certainly not!This jaundiced and unsubstantiated view must not be allowed to be peddled unchallenged. Afro-Guyanese, like all other peoples, have core values, and are guided by principles that are highly elevated beyond the mere lens of racism.I call upon all my fellow Afro-Guyanese brothers and sisters, and all other Guyanese, including my respected elders from the above-named groups, to be responsible, civil, and stay within the bounds of decency as we debate and engage on this very sensitive matter of the President’s unilateral appointment of the GECOM Chairman.Bishop Juan A Edghill,Former Chairman,Ethnic RelationsCommissionlast_img read more


India announces 524 athletes for Asian Games

first_imgNew Delhi, July 3 (PTI) The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) today announced a 524-member contingent of athletes for the August 18-September 2 Asian Games in Indonesia where they will vie for medals in 36 disciplines. The contingent comprises 277 men and 247 women athletes. In the 2014 Incheon Asian Games, the Indian contingent featured 541 athletes across 28 disciplines. Eight new sports disciplines have been added where the country has shown promise. They are Karate, Kurash, Pencak Silat, Roller Skating, Sambo, Sepaktakraw, Triathlon and Soft Tennis. The other disciplines where India will take part in are Archery, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Boxing, Bowling, Canoe-Kayak (Sprint), Canoe-Kayak (Slalom), Cycling, Equestrian, Fencing, Gymnastics, Golf, Handball, Hockey, Judo, Kabaddi, Karate, Kurash, Pencak Silat, Roller Skating, Rowing, Sailing, Sambo, Sepaktakraw, Shooting, Squash, Aquatics – Swimming, Aquatics – Diving, Tennis, Taekwondo, Triathlon, Soft Tennis, Table Tennis, Volleyball, Weightlifting, Wrestling and Wushu.Athletics will have the highest number of representation with 52 eyeing for medals. In June, the IOA had submitted a provisional list to the Sports Ministry which had the names of 2370 athletes and officials. The final list has now been pruned down further to 524 athletes who have attained the qualification criteria in their respective disciplines.”The contingent has been selected keeping in mind the Indian Olympic Association’s long term vision of preparing and encouraging the most deserving athletes for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics based on them attaining qualification criteria,” said IOA secretary general Rajeev Mehta.The IOA has decided against sending the men and women football teams this time as they are ineligible under the existing criteria set by the Olympic body. The decision has led to a controversy with All India Football Federation calling IOA’s decision “myopic”. PTI BSadvertisement BS ATATlast_img read more