Ogunseye takes on Rohee over security challenges — past and present


Dear Editor,
PERMIT me to reply to former Minister of Home Affairs Clement J. Rohee’s letter which was published in the Wednesday, October 31st, 2018 edition of Kaieteur News and Friday, November 2, 2018 issue of Stabroek News under the respective captions, “Ogunseye ‘s whining comes as no surprise,” and “Ogunseye has to come to grips with the stark failures of the APNU+AFC gov’t.” Rohee’s letters were written in response to my own that was carried in Stabroek News on Oct 25th, 2018, which was critical of his opportunistic exploitation of the recent Lusignan prison escape and riot.

At the outset, I want to give recognition to the political vigilance demonstrated by Mr. Rohee, now that he and the PPP/C are out of office. Having done so, I wish to point out to the former minister that vigilance in opposition from a politician and a party that governed the country for 23 consecutive years, is not enough to suffice; much more is required, namely, humility, honesty, and self-criticism; none of which are reflected in the former minister’s self-serving letters, whether previous or present.

More important to this debate are the following statements made by Rohee: “Ogunseye trotted out the oft-repeated whinings about the PPP’s protection of the so-called ‘phantom gang.’ He also contended that I provided no evidence to support my claim. The PPP/C and its government’s involvement with the “phantom” killers are well established at home and abroad; so much so, that I don’t feel the need to elaborate evidently. On this matter, I refuse to play Rohee’s and the PPP‘s game of “show me the evidence.”

He wrote, “ Ogunseye is one of those who went into government thinking that they would have been able to influence policy along the lines of the WPA.” This observation by the veteran politician is 100% correct.

Rohee claimed that my presence in government, whatever that is has “ tethered” me. Given my limited vocabulary, I must admit that I was forced to consult a dictionary to decipher the meaning of the word. Having done so, I now ask Rohee the following: given my known public criticism of the coalition government, both in the letter columns of the newspapers and on the Walter Rodney Groundings TV programme, juxtaposed against his history of non-criticism of the PPP/C government over its 23 years rule, which one of us is more likely to be considered as being “tethered” by governmental involvement? Rohee’s problem is his barefacedness in refusing to recognise that what he had failed to do when he and the PPP/C were in office, he is now demanding of coalition members and supporters.

Let me reiterate for Rohee’s benefit – I Tacuma Ogunseye have no difficulty with putting the APNU+AFC government under the same kind of “scrutiny” as was meted out to the PPP when it was in government. However, there is a difference and it is this: there has been no government in the recent history of the country which has been as scrutinised, publicly and privately, as the present one.

Rohee seeks to indict the coalition government and me for the 40% unemployment among the nation’s youth population, when he referenced President Granger’s recent address to parliament. I would have been more inclined to have a meeting of minds on this matter if the former minister had given us the youth unemployment figures at the end of the PPP/C’s rule in 2015. Rohee is well aware of his party and government’s practice of doctoring statistics to hide the true unemployment figures. If he were more objective and had provided the comparative figures, his case against the government would be more compelling and the public would have a better appreciation of the alleged failure of the APNU+AFC government on this matter.

But if truth is to be told, the former minister and member of the PPP/C leadership is devoid of truth, facts and fairness in his propagandising on this and other national issues. Even if he were endowed with the qualities to which I referred, it would be unreasonable for Guyanese to expect that in just over three years the government would be able to effectively address Guyana’s unemployment challenges–a situation that was created by the PPP’s mismanagement of the economy and the rape of the country’s resources during its 23 years in office.

On the question of corruption in the present administration, my position has been stated and restated on several occasions on the Walter Rodney Groundings programme.

Corruption at any level is unacceptable and must be addressed in keeping with the law. I am also on record as saying that the coalition government will help its cause by jailing anyone in its ranks who is guilty of corruption. Mr. Rohee, can you point to a similar public position you have taken in relation to the widespread corruption in the PPP/C government? I am looking forward for your honest answer.

On the issue of the collapse of the African village economies, I want to say that this problem predates both the PPP/C and APNU+AFC regimes. However, it reached an unprecedented crisis point under the PPP/C’s rule. To date, the problem has received inadequate attention from the present government.

Interestingly, while Rohee has no difficulty in contending that the prison challenges were inherited by the PPP/C in 1992 from the PNC government, he has tremendous problems with the similar logic pointed out in my letter: that the APNU+AFC administration inherited the same from the PPP/C. According to Rohee’s reasoning, what is good for the goose is not good for the gander.

With unwavering consistency, Rohee resorted to his party’s old tactic of invoking Walter Rodney when the PPP and its leadership are criticised by a WPA person – this has become their familiar and overworked defence. We are asked to justify our present politics in keeping with Rodney’s revolutionary ideas; yet, when they were enunciated by Rodney, Dr. Cheddi Jagan, Rohee and company castigated him as being ultra-left and adventurist.
Finally, I am grateful that the former Minister of Home Affairs Clement J. Rohee answered my question — why no phantom killers were brought to justice under his stewardship? His answer is politically revealing: “As to why ‘no phantom killers were charged under Rohee’s stewardship, the answer is simple; they either killed off themselves or were caught by the DEA of the USA for engaging in other illegal activities.” Rohee is passing the buck to his comrade Ms. Gail Teixeira who was his predecessor. But in her defence, she is likely to point to the fact that under his watch there were many phantom killers around; to which I will add, who maintained their connections with the PPP/C.

Tacuma Ogunseye