Ramotar administration is a mirror image of the corruption, thievery, drugs & nepotism that were the hallmark of the Jadgeo
Donald Ramotar has lived up to the expectations of his detractors
NOVEMBER 4, 2012 | BY KNEWS | FILED UNDER LETTERS
It was clear to many political observers and other interested parties that the Peoples Progressive Party Civic, did not field the best candidate at the November 2011 elections. The critics at that time argued that Ramotar was weak and an untested; that he was not a critical thinker and had never held elected office or managed any complex governmental or non-governmental organization. Ramotar was perceived as a party hack, who was hand chosen by then president Bharatt Jagdeo, for all of the reasons mentioned.
However, in keeping with Stalinist tradition the other more prepared and credible candidates all bowed out and acceded to the dictate of the Jagdeo faction at Freedom House. To be fair there were voices that championed the candidacy of Donald Ramotar, they claimed that he was a man who had come from humble beginnings and was involved in the labour movement, that he was a fair and honest man; in other words he was not Jagdeo. Today as we approach the one year anniversary of the Ramotar presidency what I find interesting but not surprising is that the naysayers were right. Donald Ramotar the seventh president of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana has lived up to the expectations of his detractors; he is a weak, ineffective and visionless head of state.
In December 2011 at his inauguration president Ramotar told the nation that he would appoint his cabinet in two days and even flirted with the possibility of a cross-party government. Integrity, inclusivity and impartiality were the hallmark of a well balanced inaugural address; however, forty eight hours later Ramotar retained his predecessor’s cabinet, dashing all hopes for inclusivity, integrity and impartiality.
Within days of forming his new government, on December 6th 2011 peaceful demonstrators were shot by the police while processing in Georgetown. This was followed by a bitter budget debate that saw for the first time in recorded history a sitting government picketing against the parliamentary opposition. Ramotar had promised that he was prepared to work together with all the political parties and stakeholders, but when it came to the National Budget, his minority government was not prepared to work with the Parliamentary majority APNU/AFC.
The budget crisis spawned the Linden electricity crisis, when the PPPC government imposed on the people of Linden an undue hardship (an increase in the electric tariff), without negotiating or consulting with the peoples representatives. In his inaugural address president Ramotar spoke of the exciting task of creating opportunities for all Guyanese, yet within three months of taking office he was imposing a draconian tax on a community (Linden) where 70% of the people are unemployed or severely under-employed.
It was becoming quite clear that the new Head of State’s rhetoric were equidistant from his actions and his government’s treatment of the poor and depressed communities. As the situation escalated at Linden and the people and their Regional and national leaders called on the president to meet with them, to sit down and listen and consult, this president refused. Then came July 18th 2012 and three young men were brutally murdered after the Guyana Police Force again opened fire on peaceful protestors at the Mackenzie-Linden bridge.
The following day the president met with the Opposition Leader and Regional representatives, but by this time it was too late; property would be destroyed and more people would be shot by the police, all because of a government’s refusal to meet it constitutional mandate of consulting with the people and their elected representatives. Consumed by crisis, and showing no real flair for bold and innovative leadership, the Ramotar administration continued as a mirror image of the corruption, thievery, drugs and nepotism that were the hallmark of the Jadgeo years.
Once again innocents lives of young African men were taken, killed at the hands of the police; Shaquille Grant at Agricola; Dameon Belgrave in Georgetown.
In a side note, it was no surprise a few days ago that the longest serving member of the cabinet and president Ramotar’s Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee admitted under oath, when answering a question from Attorney Basil Williams(at the Linden Commission of Inquiry), that he(Rohee) was not a visionary. So, with a head of state that has proven to be weak, ineffective and visionless, surrounded by a cabinet that is mediocre for the most part, but generally less than stellar there is not much hope for the ensuing period of the Ramotar presidency.
Mr. Editor I truly searched for something complimentary to say about this period, but all I could find was controversy and conflict. In a country where most of the people would be classified as poor, the Ramotar government celebrates things and calibrates its development based on big buildings, poorly conceived roads and brand name hotels rather than human development.
The level of unemployment in this country is unsustainable, the under education of our children and the school dropout rate nationally is unsustainable, the crime situation and the lawlessness of our law enforcement agencies is unsustainable, yet this president has been deathly silent and has failed to lead on all of these important issues facing our nation.
Even if one graded on a curve it would be difficult to give this president anything but a failing grade in his first year in office.