I REFER to the recent publication of several statements in the print media ridiculing the government’s recourse to the court to settle issues in relation to the motion of no confidence. These include statements attributed to Mr. Christopher Ram equating government to “autocrats, dictators and bullies”; a Mr. Rakesh Rampertab who accused the government of “abusing the judicial process…seeking to undermine the electoral process”; and those of a Mr. Ronald Singh who claimed that the President ‘tries a thing’.
It is disappointing that these letters were not accompanied by a note from the editor correcting/distancing the publication from assertions of this nature, which are erroneous and possibly malicious. It would be recalled that when the National Assembly met on January 3, 2019 to consider the consequences of the vote of December 21, 2018, the Hon. Speaker, Dr. Barton Scotland indicated that he had “received information, both solicited and unsolicited, supported by Case Law and Practice emanating from other jurisdictions which has raised doubts as to whether the No-Confidence Motion was carried.”
The Speaker then suggested that as a result of the issues, “over which many have expressed concern, final determination was needed”. He also noted that while it has been his preference to resolve any issue that arises without the intervention of a third party “Full, final and complete settlement of these issues by a Court of competent jurisdiction will place beyond doubt any question which may exist and serve to give guidance to the Speaker and to the National Assembly for the future.”
It was, therefore, at the invitation of the Speaker, while declining to utilise his prerogative at that stage to reverse his previous ruling which he stated he possessed, that the government proceeded to exercise its right to final determination. Notwithstanding, now that the final appellate court has pronounced definitively on all of the issues that were in dispute, the President and government have made the commitment to abide by the constitutional consequences which flow from this determination.
It is said that truth is the first casualty in war, and these individuals are definitely employing the technique of repeating a lie with the expectation that it would eventually be accepted as the truth.
Editor, make no mistake, we are in a titanic struggle; a struggle which acquired a new and totally different dimension with the discovery of mammoth oil-and-gas reserves offshore Guyana. The scramble to control these resources began in 2015, days before the elections, when oil blocks adjacent to ExxonMobil’s concession were handed out to individuals possessing no expertise in ultra-deep-water exploration and presumably, ability of their own to exploit.
Let us not delude ourselves, what we are in the midst of now is not what these travellers would make us believe by professing to be champions of democracy and the rule of law, but who will control these resources. We are in a state of undeclared war, and the No-Confidence Motion was a preemptive strike to force premature elections with a voters list that is irretrievably flawed, and to which tinkering with cannot correct; an expired list which may hold as many as 200,000 incorrect entries. This list is dead, and there is no procedure that can bring it back to life.
My colleague, Winston Jordan said at a public meeting on Tuesday last that is ‘war break’, It is actually our opponents, some obvious and some not so obvious, who have declared this war; one that we have now joined. Editor, the referees are the Guyanese electorate who will shortly have the ultimate say with regards to who they entrust stewardship of these resources: David Granger or Irfaan Ali.