…says recent letter about President aimed at fostering hatred, confusion
…urges retraction, apology for falsehoods
THE Ministry of the Presidency (MOTP), on Monday, condemned former Agriculture Minister, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy for deliberately attempting to draw the good name of President David Granger into disrepute by peddling false and misleading information. MOTP is now demanding an apology.
Dr. Ramsammy, who served under the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) at a time when Sugar Industry was on the verge of collapse, in an article titled ‘Dishonesty, indecency and no integrity are hallmarks of the Granger-led APNU+AFC,’ chronicled a series of falsehoods about President Granger. These falsehoods were published in the Letter columns in the January 18, 2020 Edition of the Kaieteur News and as an editorial, published in the January 16, 2020 Edition of the Citizens’ Report.
“Dr. Ramsammy’s missive seems perfectly timed to not only spread misinformation, but to cause confusion in the society and to foster hatred for the legitimate President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana,” MOTP said as it challenged news outlets to fact-check information before publishing.
It said Ramsammy’s utterances must be condemned by all right-thinking sections of the society as anything less would indicate acceptance for the Office of the Presidency and the sitting Head of State to be treated with scant regard, all aimed at creating mischief in the society.
In setting the record straight, MOTP made it pellucid that President Granger does not direct or interfere in the discussions or consultations on the tuition fees charged at the University of Guyana (UG). The issue of tuition, the ministry, underscored is dealt with solely by the duly constituted UG Council.
“The David Granger-led administration has enabled the University to conduct its business without interference. This is a stark difference to what obtained under the previous administration which in July and August 2014, “approved” the hike in tuition fees at UG,” it said.
In his opinion piece, Dr. Ramsammy contended that President Granger had once said that he was too “busy” to submit his declarations to the Integrity Commission and “has not been able to adhere to the law” but this MOTP said is baseless, and far from the truth.
“It is unsurprising that Dr. Ramsammy would pen this drivel as his narrow, political motives are well-known and his conduct while in public office often revealed a dearth of integrity,” MOTP said while iterating that at no time did the Head of Stat indicate that he was too busy to adhere to the Laws of Guyana.
“I have not submitted all of my declarations. [The documents] are taking some time. But I am in touch with (the Commission). The Commission has heard from me,” President Granger had said in May, 2019, on the sidelines of an event, when asked whether he had made his declarations.
Emphasising that media houses must uphold the ethics of journalism by fact- checking their information before going to the press, MOTP said it demands an apology and retraction. “The Ministry is therefore calling for an apology and retraction from the Citizens’ Report and the Kaieteur News for rushing to publish a news item, that without any basis, casts aspersions upon the character of the sitting Head of State and accuses him of breaking the law,” it demanded.
It also expressed concern that Dr. Ramsammy would seek to discredit, again without any basis, the plans to be implemented during the ‘Decade of Development’. “The President has repeatedly articulated his vision for the next ten years and outlined a ten-point Plan of Action detailing how the Government will institute programmes across all sectors across the 10 Administrative Regions to enhance the lives and livelihoods of all Guyanese,” the ministry said.
Additionally, it said that the contention by Dr. Ramsammy that all documents related to the Durban Park project were hidden is false. It is also seeking an immediate retraction for this injustice.
The project is being investigated by the Office of the Auditor General and at no point did that Office reveal any difficulty accessing information or made accusations that documents were being withheld or hidden. One document that the Office said it had been waiting to be delivered was submitted in February 2019, by the Ministry of Public Infrastructure.
“The Minister of Finance has already discredited claims that the President will benefit from a salary increase. The MoTP fails to understand Dr. Ramsammy’s claims as the Minister himself has already provided a full and public disclosure on this matter,” MOTP said while calling on Dr. Ramsammy to withdraw his “spurious, malicious and libelous” claims.
Further, the Ministry is calling on the media entities to retract their publishing of Dr. Ramsammy’s missive as it contains several falsehoods peddled against President Granger. The Ministry of the Presidency condemned in the strongest possible terms, the publishing of untruths, dangerous propaganda and misleading information, as it could create unrest in the society by fostering resentment among citizens towards the Head of State and Government.
Ramsammy’s name had featured in US court during the trial of convicted drug lord Shaheed Roger Khan. Khan had stated publicly in an advertisement in local newspapers that he had helped Bharrat Jagdeo-led government fight crime. Khan had also implicated Ramsammy in his escapades, and documents bearing the then minister’s signature authorising the purchase of a sophisticated wire-tapping device were produced in U.S. courts during Khan’s trial.