Posts Tagged ‘Clement Rohee’

Living with the circus in a failed state

March 16, 2014 Leave a comment

March 16, 2014 | By KNews | Filed Under Features / Columnists, Freddie Kissoon 

If you are a student of politics and you have been in this country since the PPP came to power, but especially since Mr. Jagdeo became President, you must have said to yourself one morning while having your coffee or tea and while reading the newspapers; “Which lunatic asylum did these Guyanese leaders escape from?” Central African Republic, South Sudan, Thailand, Venezuela and Ukraine are going through terrible times, but at no time would you hear the foolish things come out the mouths of governmental leaders as we have in Guyana. As a student of Guyanese society you are torn between contrasting emotions – exasperation and hilarity.  The sad thing about the PPP leadership is that no one in the hierarchy possesses the authority to say; “Wait a minute, stop that nonsense; you are embarrassing the party and the nation. Be careful in the future.” The PPP leadership not only fails to shut up its clowns that continue to ruin their image but on the contrary, they are promoted in rank.  A Minister says that he is “a maan dat does illegal things” and he is elevated to the upper echelons of the judiciary.  A  Parliamentarian, Neil Kumar, does not know that in politics and journalism in Guyana, we call the three states that provide the bulk of Guyana’s aid, the ABC countries – America, Britain and Canada. So he publicly refers to these three friendly nations as Argentina, Brazil and Chile.  Since then the PPP has put him on a number of parliamentary committees.  Anyone who comes from another planet and sees Roger Luncheon on television at his press conferences would refuse to believe that he is perhaps the second in charge after former president, Bharrat Jagdeo.  No one from the top of the PPP pyramid has whispered to Luncheon that his press conferences are more noted for his amusing style than for substance. If Luncheon resumes work, he will continue to host the Government’s weekly press briefings and the country will be entertained.  Clement Rohee has become the PPP General-Secretary. He doesn’t deserve it and for one reason – he refuses to learn that after you leave the gutter, there are behavioural forms that you have to adopt not to please the Joneses, not to please your friends, not even to please society but because that is essentially what life is about. You do not go to a wedding in short pants. And why not? Because that is life.  You do not go to your swearing in ceremony and your hat is on your head. And why not? That is life. No matter how hungry you are, you do not open your sandwich wrapper and eat in church while the preacher is conducting his sermon. And why not? Because that is the way life is for all humans.  Mr. Rohee has made a mockery of himself countless times and he has not learned and will not learn. Why would any nation vote for a man who wants to be president when in announcing his intention exclaimed; “Why not, goat ain’t bite me!” Foolishly, Rohee could not have seen that in such an explanation, an irony would have been produced because in such a style, people would say that goat did indeed bite him.  No one from within the helm of the PPP ever lectured Rohee on his deportment. On the contrary he was elevated to the General-Secretary’s post. And the circus goes on.  At every press conference, there is a laugh when his utterances are carried in the media. And it is also his reaction to questions that is predictably funny. Tell me if as a journalist or a citizen you wouldn’t laugh at the following.  Rohee said that the opposition politicians are friends of the drug traffickers. Asked to produce evidence, a simple educated answer should have been; “At the appropriate time, I will release such.” Here was Rohee’s reply to the reporter, “I ain’t dealing with that.”  Keep an eye on Rohee’s pronouncements at his press conferences.  Here is the latest. The PPP issued a statement asserting that a Minister is a Minister at all times. He is never off-duty. This was the explanation for offering governmental support to Finance Minister Ashni Singh who was the erring driver in a road accident in which he fled or left or moved away from the scene of the accident.  So when a Minister is looking for ladies of the night or having sex in his marital home or fishing or drunk to hell in a rum shop, he is on duty?  So while rum-drinking at midnight or fishing on a holiday in the Mahaicony creek, he can take the Ministerial car? The circus goes on.


Guyana Commissioner of Police Henry Greene forced out after rape allegations

April 5, 2012 Leave a comment

Henry Greene forced out after rape allegations

April 5, 2012 | By KNews | Filed Under News

Embattled Commissioner of Police Henry Greene’s resignation has been finalized;

Henry Greene

ending months of speculation over his continued tenure as the country’s Top Cop in the face of rape allegations made by a 34-year-old mother of two.
While senior government officials have declined to confirm Greene’s departure, Greene was offering ‘no comment’ to queries from various sections of the media.
The latest call for his ouster came from former Minister of Human Services and Social Security Priya Manickchand, who was responsible for piloting the new Sexual Offences Act of 2010.
Manickchand, who is now Minister of Education, is the highest ranking government official so far to call for Greene to step down.
Yesterday, Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee refused to confirm reports of Greene’s resignation, advising that the administration was likely to issue an official statement on the matter.
He also advised this newspaper to contact Greene himself.
Two days ago Rohee said that the jury was still out on Greene’s return to the top police post.
Acting Commissioner Leroy Brumell also declined to comment when approached by this newspaper.
Greene, who is over the age of retirement, had been on administrative leave since December 17, last year, to facilitate the investigation into the allegation made against him.
In what eventually turned out to be the scandal of the year, the 34-year-old woman alleged that she was raped by the Commissioner of Police at a city hotel.
The woman alleged that she was forced to have sex with Greene after she was induced with cash and a promise to assist her in a matter that is presently engaging the attention of the police.
Greene had dismissed the woman’s claims as mere allegations and had declared that god will be his judge, although he later admitted to having consensual sex with her.
Following weeks of investigations by a team of detectives from the Jamaica Constabulary Force, under the supervision of Crime Chief Seelall Persaud, the Director of Public Prosecution advised that Greene be charged with rape.
However, Greene successfully got the High Court to overturn the DPP’s advice with Chief Justice Ian Chang ruling that the decision to charge Greene was irrational.
Greene’s admission to having consensual sex with the woman was another major bone of contention, since it is being argued that he used his office in an improper manner.
The first to call for his resignation was his predecessor Winston Felix, who had told the media that it would have been the most honourable thing to do.
Felix’s call was followed by others from the Guyana Association of Women Lawyers and other women’s groups, and the main opposition political parties, the Alliance For Change and A Partnership for National Unity.
In December last year, AFC leaders Raphael Trotman and Khemraj Ramjattan called for Greene’s immediate removal from office.
“As a matter of fact, based on what we have heard, we feel that he ought to tender his resignation or the President ought to dismiss him….but at the very least at this stage… an interdiction,” Ramjattan had stated.
Trotman, commenting on the issue had declared that the matter was the first real test for newly elected Head of State Donald Ramotar.
The Guyana Association of Women Lawyers (GAWL) had also condemned Greene’s actions and had called on the administration to remove him as the Commissioner of Police.
“It is reasonable to conclude that Mr. Greene has in fact lost the moral authority to lead the Guyana Police Force and should therefore no longer be required to so do,” the GAWL said.
APNU had this to say: “In renewing our call we wish to remind the Guyanese public that having passed the age of retirement Mr. Greene is no longer the constitutional holder of the office of Commissioner of Police rather he is an employee/servant of the Government and as such he can be removed forthwith.”
This is not the first time that Greene’s name has been embroiled in a controversial issue which has threatened his tenure as the country’s chief lawman
In fact, his first day on the job, six years ago, was greeted with the announcement that the United States of America had revoked his visa to that country.
The Bharrat Jagdeo Government did not budge and retained him even in the face of severe criticism from several sections of the society.
They later argued that the decision to appoint Greene as Commissioner of Police was justified when, at the helm of the force, he presided over the demise of the infamous Rondell ‘Fine Man’ Rawlins and his criminal gang.
Greene’s tenure as the Commissioner of Police was extended after he had reached the age of retirement three years ago.


The PPP has seen a steady decline in its support

February 15, 2012 Leave a comment

Dear Editor,
From 1992 to 2006, the PPP dominated Guyana politics. However, change was reshaping the PPP and the political landscape from 2006. 2011 delivered the first sign of the dimming future the PPP faces.
While it remains the strongest political party in terms of numerical support, the PPP has seen a steady decline of its support from a high of 220,000 in 2001 to 166,000 a mere decade and two elections later. Of all the major parties, the PPP is the only party that has steadily declined from its 2001 high. The PNC has see-sawed back from its 2006 demise while the AFC has made steady but marginal gains.
The PPP on the other hand has steadily lost some 54,000 votes since 2001. These losses can be explained by demographic changes affecting the PPP’s main voting support group, Indians, which as a population is declining at the fastest rate amongst all ethnic groups due to migration and lower birth rates.
Then there is the growing Indian disenchantment with the corruption, internal dictatorship, hijacking of the party apparatus by a few, wrongdoing and other ills that are commonly associated with the PPP power cabal. Before the arrival of the AFC, the PPP obtained the largest percentage of crossover ethnic votes from Amerindians and Mixed Races.
The AFC has split this vote while a substantial segment of these two ethnic groups have stopped voting at all. Combine these chilling facts with the dramatic decline in ethnic voting determined by support for ethnic parties (only 61% to 63% voted for PPP and PNC/APNU since 2006 whereas both got 90% of total votes in 2001) and the future of the PPP is only going to get bleaker. The internal wranglings of the PPP have deflated many of its traditional supporters.
With weak handpicked leadership in the presidency, internal dictatorship dominating the party machinery, no real change in personnel (Rohee is still around), the continuation of square pegs in round holes like Bishop Juan Edghill as Junior Finance Minister, the strongly suggestive influence of the reviled Bharrat Jagdeo, corruption continuing unabated, no dynamic new leadership on the horizon, Indian awakening and independence and Indian psychological liberation from the PPP (see Berbice in last election), decreasing ethnic voting, alienation of its own membership, campaigning laziness (‘wine-down sessions as opposed to intensive campaigning), hijacking of the party by a handful of suspect types and the continued full exhibition of incompetence, mismanagement and maladministration, the PPP is in a serious bind for the future.
Unless the PPP undergoes a radical democratization and transparency transformation like the PNC with new leadership on board, it will likely suffer further losses in the future. Even if some Indians who departed for the manna from Moses (Nagamootoo) are to return, demographic realities impacting Indians and an even further massive disappearance of the crossover votes from Amerindians and Mixed Races will harm the PPP in 2016. Whereas in the past the PPP needed these crossover voters to secure a majority, the party needs them now to secure a plurality.
The PPP is losing the little multiethnic appeal it held to Amerindians and Mixed Races while it is bleeding Indian supporters, particularly the younger Indian generation which is no longer an assured vote for the PPP. That is a volatile and depressing combination. As the election result demonstrated, the attempt to resurrect fear amongst Indians failed or only partially succeeded.
It is no longer a proven political ballistic. Indians want more than fear and the PPP has not offered it. Indians want credible political leadership. The PPP cannot offer it.
Unless the PPP allows the brilliant sunshine of democracy to erupt within its party, it will face more apathy and revulsion from its traditional supporters. Its arrogant refusal to change that which failed before and jettisoned its supporters will generate more political casualties.
What is truly tragic is that the PPP led by that celebrated incompetent, Robert Persaud, rather brazenly and barefacedly tried to blame PPP supporters and Indians in particular for the party’s inability to secure a majority without casting the entire quarry of stones at the cabal running the PPP that has deformed the party and wrecked its integrity and symbiosis with the people.
The Guyanese people have advanced beyond the PPP’s model of building often shoddy infrastructure and bottling it as the entirety of progress and development. People want a better quality of life that values life and human dignity.
While it is difficult to see the PNC/APNU overcoming that 26,000 gulf in votes between it and the PPP in the next election, it could in the election thereafter. What if by some miracle the PNC/APNU wins power in 2016. Has the PPP prepared its followers for that reality? The future of the PPP lies not in ethno-politics but in trying to erase ethno-politics to appeal to the changing demographics of its own support and to try to win back the departing droves.
A minority government run by a race-based party cannot offer security to its supporters and to the nation without serious change in the way its does business. The fact of the matter is that the PPP has not changed at all or has not metamorphosed to enable its own supporters to face a better future.
The handful of failed leaders running the PPP inner circle are so consumed with getting power and filling pockets that they have missed the potential consequences of their actions upon their supporters and the nation in general.
As it stands, the Parliament and most importantly, the armed forces (army and police) are dominated by non-PPP parties and supporters. Has the PPP considered where the allegiance of the army lies when a delicate matter of national importance puts the executive and the majority in Parliament at loggerheads? What if this minority government situation existed in the early 2000s during the crime wave? Could there ever arise an instance where the armed forces back the decision of Parliament over the executive?
The future of the PPP lies in using the next five years to implement serious changes to erase ethnic imbalances so that it can regain its crossover votes, minimize ethnic insecurity and bring fairness and equity back into the fold. The PPP must start with serious ethnic balancing of the armed forces. Continue with making Gecom independent and hardened to political manipulation. Implement various rights-based and equity oriented organizations and commissions.
Even if some in the current PPP inner circle may consider keeping power by any means, the reality is that the armed forces which had no problems with the PNC’s propagation of dictatorship will not take kindly to any contemplation of dictatorship by the PPP. This raises the question of whether the PPP will consider rigging the vote in 2016 if its support continues to fall and the PNC is in danger of pipping it?
Will an ethnically imbalanced security forces ever take electoral skulduggery from the PPP lying down? Believe it or not, the future of the PPP lies not, as it presently appears, in the pursuit of internal dictatorship or in ethnic voting but in democracy and the reduction of ethnic voting.
Outside of the AFC, it is the party with the best ability to transform into a strong multiethnic force and to capture votes outside of the African and Indian majority populations. The future is darkening for the PPP. As long as it continues down this autocratic and arrogant road, encroaching darkness may end up being a permanent blackout.
M. Maxwell

Another example of Guyana PPP govt vindictive and spiteful behavior

January 26, 2012 Leave a comment

An Open Letter to Minister Clement Rohee

Dear Minister Rohee,
I arrived in Guyana with the full expectation that something unpleasant may happen to me. I took the necessary precautions, avoided taking unnecessary risks and was very vigilant during my entire stay there. But I did not go to Guyana to be locked away indoors. I intended having a good time, and that I did.
However, just when I thought my fears were unfounded, I was selected for some special treatment… courtesy of the Guyana Government.
As planned, I arrived at Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) early for my return trip home to New York. At the check-in counter, I was informed almost apologetically by the Caribbean Airlines employee that I had been “Selected by the Government of Guyana for a Secondary Security Search (SSSS)”. The young lady was so professional in the way she made the announcement, it almost sounded as though I had won the lottery jackpot.
This instruction, I was told, came directly from the Government of Guyana and had nothing to do with the airline. My two suitcases were tagged with the initials “SSSS”. A dog sniffed my luggage, and they were thoroughly inspected by airline security and a second time by a police detective from the CID. Before reaching the Departure Lounge, I was searched a third time, and yet a fourth before departure. There, I was again thoroughly searched, complete with a body pat down as if they were desperate to find something on me. They were disappointed I’m sure. I was the last passenger to board.
But it did not end there; upon my arrival at JFK Airport in New York, I was horrified to see stickers on both my suitcases, with instructions to “Call Security”. Whoever was responsible for putting my name on the blacklist at CJIA, is guilty of exercising a wicked abuse of power, designed to harass and intimidate me, and get US Border & Customs officials to do the same, by implying that I am in possession of some illegal substance.
The entire paragraph above was written last March 2011 after I had returned from Guyana, where I celebrate my birthday. You may recall that event, for we met briefly at Palm Court. I was advised against publishing the letter, because I was told it may be an isolated case. But the fact that it’s happening every time I travel from Guyana, proves to be deliberate. For since then, I have been the victim of harassment every time I depart CJIA.
Although I’m no longer subject to the intense Secondary Security Search, the “Call Security” stickers are still placed on my baggage tags, resulting in my luggage being opened and searched in Trinidad where my valuables are being stolen, and again at JFK Airport in New York.
I know that these “Call Security” stickers originate in Guyana, because unlike last March when Caribbean Airlines changed planes, forcing New York bound passengers and their luggages to disembark, I did not change planes in Trinidad last August on my return trip from Guyana. As such, my luggage was not taken off the plane there. But when I arrived in New York, the “Call Security” stickers were there. Both suitcases had notices placed inside advising me that they were opened and inspected by US Customs & Homeland Security.
Of course, they found nothing, and nothing was stolen. But this confirmed my suspicion that my gold jewelry and other valuables that were stolen from my suitcases last March, was by one or more customs officials in Trinidad. And they were given the green light to do so by someone in the Guyana Government who authorized placing those stickers on my baggage tags.
As you are aware, Minister Rohee, I was recently in Guyana for a week, and attended the opening of Parliament there. When I departed CJIA last Monday, I was relieved at not being unduly searched by airport security. When the plane touched down in Trinidad, although there was no prior indication from Caribbean Airlines that New York bound passengers had to disembark there, once again we were told to do so to accommodate a change of aircraft.
I was fearful of this, but I had taken the precaution in Guyana of putting all my valuables in my carryon bag. One suitcase was totally empty, but the other filled with clothes, shoes, and a few items that if stolen, I could afford to lose.
When I finally arrived at JFK in New York, I was once again very annoyed to see that my full suitcase was opened and those dreadful “Call Security” stickers plastered on my baggage tags.
When I got home, I realized that the hook on the zipper of my expensive suitcase was broken, apparently it was easier to break that than to open the lock, and two sealed bottles of my expensive colognes were stolen: Dolce Gabbana and Gucci Guilty. The colognes can easily be replaced, but I can never lock my US$400 Samsonite suitcase again. It is now useless for travel.
I cannot continue taking these loses and harassment every time I visit relatives and friends in the land of my birth. And to be quite frank, there are very few, including yourself, and Commissioner of Police Henry Greene, who has the authority to dictate whose names are placed on the blacklist at the airport.
As such, I call upon you and the Police Commissioner to make public any incriminating report, document, photograph or audio evidence that would suggest Harry Gill to be a risk to the nation security of Guyana, or the national security of any other nation. I further give you permission to make public anything in your files that would suggest Harry Gill is known by the Guyana Police of being involved in any criminal or subversive activity.
But I am confident this will never happen. For my only crime, Sir, was to call for your resignation and that of Police Commissioner Henry Greene in some of my previous letters.
No one should be allowed to use his/her position in Government to intimidate and harass any citizen for voicing their opinion.
The security of CJIA falls under your portfolio. You must be aware of all the names that are blacklisted at the airport, even if you did not put them there yourself. You must know the culprit that maliciously put my name there.
I therefore call upon you, Minister Rohee, to delete my name from that list forthwith, or publish the reason it is there. In any event, I want some assurance that the next time I visit Guyana, I will not suffer the same harassment and personal losses whenever I’m forced to change planes in Trinidad, and if I get this assurance, there would be no reason for me to consult a leading attorney in Guyana to have this simple, personal, vindictive matter cleared up once and for all.
Harry Gill

What we have is a continuation of the Jagdeo presidency

January 9, 2012 2 comments


Dear Editor,
New administrations are like new years; a time for change, a time for getting rid of the old and ushering in the new.
A new government gives the new chief executive an opportunity to appoint a new team, stamping his own personal imprint on the way forward.
It has been over one month since the Ramotar led PPPC government has been in office, and apart from the new Drum Major, the same old band of Jagdeoites keep marching on.
Recently, some have been quick to heap praise on the new President for meeting with the opposition, reinstating a right (that should have never been denied) to a journalist, sending Henry Greene on leave, and appointing a few Guyanese of African heritage to the Diplomatic Corps.
In the Deep South (USA) there is an old saying; “putting lipstick on a pig, don’t make it a lady”. I agree that some small cosmetic peripheral signals have been sent by this administration, but any objective observer has to admit that at its core, the personnel and political culture is still unchanged, and what we have is a continuation of the Jagdeo presidency.
Anyone who followed last year’s election knew that it was a referendum on the Jagdeo presidency; corruption and nepotism within the halls of power. On November 28th 2011, the Guyanese people soundly rejected Jagdeoism and gave the opposition a parliamentary mandate to effect change on their behalf.
One would have expected that in light of the results of the elections that Donald Ramotar would have chosen to go in a new direction with his own team, setting new standards and sending a signal to the people that he had heard them. Instead what we are stuck with is the same mediocrity that garnered a vote of no confidence by the people.
One month ago on the 6th December 2011 several APNU demonstrators were shot by police while engaging in a peaceful march. To date there has been no inquiry into this matter and the nation is still awaiting word from the Ministry of Home Affairs and/ or the Office of the President.
Given the Jagdeo template that is being used by President Ramotar, I am sure that the victims of this police brutality like the 400 plus killed during the troubles, will receive no justice. We have a Police Commissioner in Henry Greene who is once again embroiled in scandal, Greene is way past the retirement age, and many would say he is like a product that has past it’s “sell by” date.
This was a perfect opportunity for the President to send Greene into retirement appointing his own Commissioner, but instead Greene is allowed to proceed on leave with the possibility of returning to the force after investigations are completed. Clement Rohee, Robert Persaud, Ifran Ally, Leslie Ramsammy, Roger Luncheon, Kwame McCoy, Odinga Lumumba, these are all Jagdeo’s men, all of them with checkered reputations, all extremely polarizing figures who created much of the negative attacks that were hurled at the PPPC on the campaign trail. Yet Mr. Ramotar chose to retain these men, even elevating Robert Persuad to a Mega-Ministerial portfolio (in effect rewarding the architect of the PPPC’s failure to win a parliamentary majority at the polls).
Leslie Ramsammy is a man who is yet to account for his association with imprisoned Drug King Pin Roger Khan, but he is retained and given a new portfolio. Juan Edgehill a controversial commission chair and another man with close ties to Jagdeo and a less than stellar reputation has been appointed a Minster in the ministry of finance.
Mr. Editor I mention these things because the signs I see are troubling and not encouraging. The president’s failure to address the shooting of citizens is troubling to me. The Home Affairs Minister’s failure to ensure that at least a police board of inquiry was convened to examine police policy and procedure and make sure that ranks acted within the letter of the law, is troubling to me.
Having Mc Coy, Lumumba and Luncheon still stalking the corridors of power at the Office of the President, All of these men were extremely controversial figures in the Jagdeo regime and their retention should be troubling to all Guyanese.
Are we to believe that the pool of talent in the PPPC is so shallow that Ramotar is stuck with the Jagdeoites? Guyanese voted for change on November 28th, they voted overwhelmingly for a reversal of the old way of doing business, they expected to see a new team on the field fighting for them.
One can only hope that the new president will slowly retire the Jagdeo team and usher in the Ramotar era. Failing to do so will be like putting more lipstick on the pig; it will never be a lady.
Mark Archer

Spin Back – US revokes Guyana ruling PPPC goon Kwame McCoy’s visa amid allegations of child solicitation

November 18, 2011 Leave a comment

US revokes Kwame McCoy’s visa


The United States has revoked the non-immigrant visa of Office of the President Press and Publicity Officer Kwame McCoy as of Monday amid allegations of child solicitation that have been levelled against him.

Kwame McCoy

Kwame McCoy
In correspondence seen by this newspaper last evening, the US Embassy wrote that McCoy’s B1/B2 visa which was issued on March 6, 2009 has been revoked. Up to press time last night McCoy said no such correspondence has reached him, but he declared he is not worried should the information be confirmed as true.

McCoy told Stabroek News last night that if any letter of a visa revocation exists the most likely reason for such action would be the current allegations against him, allegations which he dismissed as unfounded. He also questioned whether the child in the case “exists”. McCoy said there appears to be no interest on the part of the US to enquire into the basis of such allegations and to determine whether they can be substantiated. According to him, any revocation on such grounds simply demonstrates how uninformed decisions could be taken based on “mere allegations”.

McCoy turned his attention to the US government saying an examination of its policies would point to the state offering protection to a confessed murderer who “admitted to being part of a criminal gang that killed (Ronald) Waddell among other things but now he and his entire family is being protected by the US”. McCoy added that the public will judge the facts.

“…I am not worried at all if my visa was revoked because thankfully the US has no control over where I travel”, he added.

A taped conversation between an adult and a child surfaced in September and on the recording, the two speakers discuss plans for a sexual liaison.  McCoy, who is also a member of the Rights of the Child Commission and a PPP/C Region Four Regional Democratic Council representative has denied that it is his voice on the recording, and deemed it a clear fabrication aimed at “smearing my character and family name.”

Previously, the US had revoked the visa of then Minister of Home Affairs, Ronald Gajraj following allegations that he was linked to a death squad and subsequent to this current Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee also encountered visa problems while he held another portfolio. The US had also revoked the serving Commissioner of Police Henry Greene’s diplomatic visa in 2006 before taking back his visitor’s visa in June of the same year after Washington alleged that the then Acting Police Commissioner had benefited materially from the drugs trade. Greene had strenuously denied the allegation.

The rule of the PPP has degenerated in forms that are worse than under Burnham

November 17, 2011 Leave a comment

Sunday, March 23rd 2008
Dear Editor,

I refer to a letter in your Good Friday edition by Minister Clement Rohee. It is an evaluation of the politics of Tacuma Ogunseye. I have adopted a policy that once Mr Rohee writes on the politics of this land, I will reply even if I am on my sick bed. It is important that those who care about Guyana and want to stop its gradual destruction by the PPP in a wanton display of political immorality that has exceeded the autocracy of Forbes Burnham, should inform the Guyanese people about this crass display of hypocrisy. Mr Rohee has armed himself with a pugnacious attitude, meaning that despite the ocean of venalities that the PPP is swimming in he will fight back and argue that there is proper government in this land. Even before the ink is dried on his letters, those of us who fought for the post 1968 freedoms of this country should not let political “has beens” like Mr Rohee fool our young people

The caption you gave Mr. Rohee’s letter I found to be an advantage in my response here. It is titled “Mr. Ogunseye’s approach in rejecting compromise and realpolitik as reflected in the day to day struggle for a better Guyana leaves the political arena open to the worst elements in our midst.” Your title is actually taken from a paragraph of Mr. Rohee’s letter. It shows the superficial understanding of political concepts by Mr Rohee and reminds us of the time he confused Dominica and the Dominican Republic when he addressed the UN in his capacity as Foreign Minister. Why he was not demoted after that humongous and unforgivable lapse shows the nature of Cheddi Jagan. Mr. Rohee totally misunderstands what “realpolitik” means But let’s move on to more substantial dimensions of this letter.

Sadly, Mr. Ogunseye’s politics has morphed into extremist forms. In the days of the WPA, Mr. Ogunseye acquired the status of a respected freedom fighter. Mr. Rohee and I owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Ogunseye. He fought long and hard in an endeavour that not even Cheddi Jagan could match. What has happened to Mr. Ogunseye is that he watched as Mr. Rohee, Mr. Jagdeo, Mrs. Jagan and the rest of the PPP leaders took his efforts, those of the WPA and so many of us and destroyed the values that returned to Guyana after the long struggle against Burnham. I am not excusing the extremist politics of Mr. Ogunseye. In that sense he betrayed Walter Rodney. If Ogunseye reads the recent speech on race by Barack Obama he probably would back off of his present doctrinaire position. Listening to Obama was as if Walter Rodney was speaking

Few political analysts would deny the process of African marginalization under the PPP. The need to diminish the “other side” is a tragic game the PNC and the PPP have played while in power. PPP ministers like Rohee know that African marginalization is the terrifying reality that may bring down the PPP, thus the frenetic, Pavlovian urge to reject the existence of the process whenever it is spoken of by opposition forces. The really sad thing about the PNC and PPP is that they are hopelessly trapped in the race game where the “other side” has to be weakened. It is in this context that I feel uncomfortable with the concept “marginalization.” I prefer the term “racial discrimination” because marginalization has a deliberate ring to it that I do not believe existed in the minds of the PNC leaders from 1968 to 1985 when Burnham died. And since 1992 in the PPP. When you refer to marginalization, you seem to wipe away the fundamental error in the political culture of the PPP and PNC, and that is they have to practice racial discrimination because it is the only way they can keep their constituencies intact. The tragedy of Guyana is that if the PNC returns, the East Indians will be diminished. The tragedy of Guyana is that once the PPP stays in power, the African communities will be neglected. For Guyana to develop, it has to go beyond the PNC and PPP. The African people did that after Burnham became totally intolerable. It is time now for the East Indians to reject the PPP

I believe the rule of the PPP has degenerated in forms that are worse than under Forbes Burnham. In my recent UG seminar (that causes so much questionable controversy elsewhere) I delineated four areas where the decay has become more frightening than under Burnham. They are: first, the labyrinth connecting the drug people and powerful members of the political establishment. It has certainly alarmed the Americans but the Americans have deliberately eschewed the exertion of pressure on the Guyana Government out of fear that if it falls, the vacuum may bring too many uncertainties that may have dire consequences for the region. Satisfied that it got Roger Khan, the Americans have eased the heat on the government. This unsavoury connection has spawned a group of rich people that have become more powerful than the government and the security forces. They are virtually the kings of Guyana. And they are buying up the country.

Secondly, Guyana must be the only society in the world where the children of the political controllers of the state have used state resources as if they own them. This is part of the degeneracy of the PPP that cries out for research. Burnham would not have allowed this. The wives and children of Burnham’s elite circle worked in ordinary jobs. Elvin Mc David’s wife was a junior teacher at St. Roses High School. An investigation would show that the children of PPP and governmental leaders have creamed off fantastic state jobs most of which are funded by international agencies. There is the absurdity where one of these children is being paid three thousand American dollars a month for a job in which she has not even a day’s training. They have now moved into property and land ownership. If the PPP stays in power for ten more years, there will be no more state lands. They will either be given away or sold to party people.

Thirdly, it is highly unlikely that Forbes Burnham would have tolerated the corruption monster that has devoured the Jagdeo Government. Surely, Guyana under the present regime has emerged as the worst corrupt regime in the history of British, French and Dutch West Indies.

Fourth and finally, there may have emerged in the leadership of this government an element of racism that I do not think was ever as determined and poisonous under Burnham. If the Indian group in the PNC like Teekah, Chandisingh, Shahabudeen, Ramsaroop, Pandit Sharma and others had complained to Burnham about African racism directed against them, Burnham would have been livid. In the PPP, open racists are openly embraced. Rohee ought to know that if any thing is certain about Guyana it is its uncertain future.

Yours faithfully,
Frederick Kissoon

Related Link The sons of Ceausescu, Gaddafi and Donald Ramotar