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Officials of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) continue to disregard the rule of law. The ruling regime apparently believes that Guyana’s laws, including the supreme law, the Constitution, do not apply to them. They apparently hold the view that it is their right — by virtue of “being PPP” — to totally disregard constitutional mandates, provisions contained in subsidiary legislation, other statutory regulations, and the norms established by decades of convention. Patriotic Guyanese, regardless of political affiliation, must take action. Citizens need to recognise the PPP’s autocratic mindset, acknowledge that Guyana is currently on a dangerous path towards becoming a tyrannical dictatorship, and individually and collectively take concrete steps towards containing the out-of-control PPP.
The latest manifestation of this aspect of the PPP’s warped method of governance occurred on May 31. On that day, President Irfaan Ali swore members of the Police Service Commission (PSC) and the Integrity Commission into office. Ali did the deed without consultation of any kind with the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Aubrey Norton. Guyana’s supreme law, the Constitution, stipulates that meaningful consultation with the opposition leader precede presidential appointments to all key Commissions. The president’s lame excuse for his actions was that the names for the PSC were already approved by the National Assembly, therefore he had no discretion on those names. The ludicrous nature of that excuse cannot escape any Guyanese who knows that the PPP has parliament in its pocket — perhaps, in more ways than one. Additionally, while a letter of invitation for consultations was sent by the President to the Leader of the Opposition, it appears that something went wrong and the Leader of the Opposition reportedly received it too late to attend.
On the subject of the PPP having the National Assembly in its pocket, one notes that the PPP controls and commands a parliamentary majority. As such, any claim by the PPP that the National Assembly has approved a policy or act by the ruling regime is tantamount to saying that the PPP approved such policy or act. Within the context of the PPP’s total control of the legislative arm of government, one remembers the event of December 29, 2021. On that date, the Natural Resources Fund bill was declared to have been passed by Speaker Manzoor Nadir. This, despite the fact that it appeared that votes were cast under conditions expressly forbidden by the Standing Orders of the National Assembly. One recalls, too, the verbal, indecent abuse meted out to a female opposition Member of Parliament (MP) by PPP’s MP and Local Government Minister, Nigel Dharamlall. One recalls that in response to opposition MP Sherrod Duncan protesting the obscene verbal attack against his female colleague, Speaker Nadir penalised Duncan by suspending MP Duncan for four sittings of the Assembly. The PPP’s MP Dharamlall was not sanctioned in any way. One may draw one’s own conclusions about whether or not the PPP appears to be above the Standing Orders of the National Assembly.
It is no secret that PPP loyalists are being installed in key positions and offices, while qualified persons perceived to be opposition supporters are being systematically fired for no stated reason. It is no secret that supporters of the PPP regime enjoy preferential treatment at government offices, and are apparently immune from any consequences of breaking Guyana’s laws. Such a situation is not only unacceptable but untenable.
The rule of law is one of the basic tenets of democratic governance. This pillar upon which rests democracy itself is defined as the political philosophy that all citizens and institutions within a country, state, or community are accountable to the same laws. Obviously, this state of affairs does not exist in Guyana under the PPP rule. This fact brings Guyana’s democratic status into question. It follows that Guyanese who want to live in a free and democratic society; one characterised by fairness, equality under the law, and equity of resource-distribution must take action. Patriotic citizens must wake up and do whatever is legitimately necessary to restore the rule of law to Guyana.