November 19, 2017

The buck stops…

…with the Minister

The Public Security Minister – right now Khemraj Ramjattan – always has INDIVIDUAL ministerial responsibility for the prisons and the Prison Service of Guyana. Under the conventions and traditions of our Westminster system of governance, the Minister resigns when disasters of the magnitude of the Camp Street inferno occur. Plain and simple. There have now been two of these disasters – AT THE SAME PLACE AND FOR THE SAME CAUSES – in two years, but Ramjattan is still there. Why?

OK…even though he’d been there for a whole year when the first fire was set by prisoners, we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he was a bit slow on the uptake to learn about his responsibilities. But there was the usual CoI after the first fire. And the CoI set out WHAT HAD TO BE DONE in the most excruciating detail. And the Chairman didn’t mince any words in insisting on the URGENCY of implementing the recommendations.

Now, all Guyanese know the recommendations couldn’t all be implemented immediately. But what all Guyanese EXPECT – and so should the President – was that Minister Ramjattan should’ve established a team tasked with the responsibility of prioritising and sequencing the tasks into a plan with timelines. Did he at least take this elementary step? NO! And for this negligence he has to take responsibility and fall on his sword.

Take the recommendations on the reduction of jail terms by the Judiciary or them using non-custodial sentencing to a greater degree. Ramjattan is a lawyer who would’ve pleaded for hundreds of clients on the matter of sentencing. He would know that so often these sentences are arbitrary and have the opposite effect on the incarcerated than reforming them. He would know about the astronomic recidivism rate in our prisons. But did he even jot down a note on his pad to start the process to engage the Judiciary on this recommendation? No!

Ramjattan expressed such disgust at the conditions in the Camp Street jail when he and his AG Basil Williams visited the facility after 17 prisoners perished in that fire. Did he initiate any action to improve those conditions? These were human beings, he said. Did he even suggest that food be served on time? Did he even revisit to check on the conditions subsequently? Let’s say he was busy…did he send any subordinate to visit?

Dear Reader…you can tell by now your Eyewitness can’t even parody this Minister’s abdication of his job. We cannot allow him to do this – and still draw his fat salary.

If Roopnaraine was demoted for lack of reforms in education, Ramjattan has to be fired!!

…at the PNC

The WPA has been excusing itself for remaining in the PNC-led coalition called APNU by claiming they always believed in “coalitions”. And that, in fact, Rodney has proposed a Government of National Unity and Reconstruction (GNUR) back in 1979 is pursuit of this commitment to coalitions. But that’s not the whole story, is it? And because it’s not, it reveals that there are other reasons for the WPA to keep on taking the humiliations being doled out daily to it.

Back in 1979, when the WPA proposed the GNUR, it did so in contradistinction to the PPP’s National Front Government – put out in 1977. The major reason for the WPA’s proposal was they refused to include the PNC in any such “unity” government – even though the PPP insisted on that condition!! Imagine that!! How the world has changed!!

The WPA should reveal whether – after its present bitter experiences – whether the PNC had changed any since Rodney’s rejection of the PNC in ’79.

…with UG unions

Your Eyewitness salutes the UG unions for following his lead and correctly labelling the VC’s Big Bash “investiture” – disguised as a Diaspora Engagement Conference – as a “Coronation”.

Let’s see some pickets against the bow-tied poseur!!!