I will not be muzzled

first_imgRamkarran to Ramjattan:– says no one can ‘block’ him from speaking or writingOne week after criticising the Alliance for Change (AFC) for not taking a firm stand within the coalition Government on many important issues, prominent Senior Counsel Ralph Ramkarran has responded to some comments made by Chairman of the AFC, Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan.In quoting some of the comments reportedly made by Ramjattan, the former Speaker of the National Assembly said the AFC chairman has succumbed to the temptation of the ‘politics of abuse’. He also claimed that Ramjattan’s behaviour exposes the inability of the AFC to answer serious questions about its political posture.The attorney recalled that at the post-2015 election celebration, Ramjattan had given him a congratulatory embrace for what he believed was his (Ramkarran’s) contribution to the victory of the APNU+AFC coalition. He said, too, that Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo had thanked him in the presence of several persons.However, things have changed, and Ramkarran’s observation is that Minister Ramjattan has now become abusive and Nagamootoo uses the State-owned Chronicle newspaper to denigrate him.“Minister Ramjattan does his high political status no justice (by) invoking abuse as a political response to what he feels is criticism; but he is in deadly error when he assumes that I write or speak with his or his government’s sufferance,” Ramkarran wrote in his weekly column, the Conversation Tree.Alleging that Ramjattan said he would “allow the chatterati to continue to chat, and we are not going to block them,” Ramkarran stated his firm belief that neither the Minister nor his Government has the power to ‘block’ him from speaking or writing. He said Ramjattan should know better.“I have no political axe to grind, and do not care who holds political office in Guyana. I have criticised both the Government, APNU, the PPP, and indeed the AFC in the past. I will continue to do so. I will also cooperate or assist and work with any political party, once it is (in) the interest of Guyana, as I perceive it,” he wrote.The former Speaker of the House noted that while he is motivated to write about a wide variety of issues, he generally emphasises politics. He also pointed out that most of his writings are centred on constitutional reform as a means by which Guyana can overcome the politics of ethno-political dominance.Referring to his previous column, Ramkarran said his criticism of the AFC is that that party had subscribed to the same goal of ending ethno-political dominance, but is now allowing itself to lapse. “I saw the AFC as a powerful and critical political instrument in achieving our shared objective, which I believe is in the interest of all Guyana. Bringing the AFC back to its original intent was what my article was all about.”He reiterated that his suggestion was that the AFC ministers should resign from the Government and the AFC MPs should sit on the back benches. The AFC should then negotiate with the Government a programme for constitutional reform. By so doing, Ramkarran said, he feels the AFC would be in a better position to pressure the Government to implement such a programme; because the threat of not supporting the Government’s parliamentary agenda would be more real.“In writing the article, I thought that APNU would be more inclined to take exception. But instead, to my surprise, it is the AFC that took umbrage at my effort to stimulate their integrity by urging them to stand up for what they promised all of us. And I pointed a way in which this can be done without bringing down the Government. Minister Ramjattan and PM Nagamootoo are deeply bothered by it. Why? And why not respond in a constructive, rather than an abusive, manner?” Ramkarran asked.The former Speaker reminded that Guyana faces a future as an oil producing country, and there are many examples to learn from, especially where oil resources have dissipated because the countries cannot get their politics right.“We read constantly about Nigeria. We have been recently reading about Angola, where the daughter of the former president is the richest woman in Africa, and was recently dismissed as the head of the state oil company, which is experiencing great difficulties. We have the example of Trinidad next door,” he explained.Ramkarran feels Guyana could face a similar fate because of its distorted politics. This, he said, could result in endless controversy in relation to the management of its oil resources and the expenditure of its oil income.However, he noted that Guyana has the opportunity now to solve its political problems, and then to deal in a consensual way with the issues that would arise from oil.“This will stop massive leakages from corruption and mismanagement. Within the next two years, the AFC can play a decisive role in solving these political problems. But it can only do so if it reverts to its original credo, stop treating itself as an appendage to APNU, and understand that it holds a trump card to the future of Guyana,” he explained.last_img read more