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|Irfaan Ali, in the office of the president, saunters around Guyana, beating his chest and mouthing his slogan about ‘One Guyana’ without taking time to understand half of the society, and some who voted for him see him speaking out of both sides of his mouth. He doesn’t even believe his own words; for had he, what happened last week on the East Coast Demerara would have never occurred.
It is over important to have clarity on the protest last week on the East Coast. We cannot examine or condemn what happened at Mon Repos in isolation of not holding person/s in charge of the affairs of state accountable for their poor stewardship of this country.
It was the dissatisfaction by citizens on the East Coast, to tardiness of government delivery justice for extrajudicial killing of Quindon Bacchus on the 10th June that caused them to march on 28th June. Had the government put systems in place to move the process of justice along they would not have been that march. Justice delayed is justice denied.
Bacchus’ murder and ensuing incidents happened under the Jagdeo/Ali regime. They are in charge of this country from August 2020. From the moment they take charge they are responsible for what happens in society. Bacchus’ death had left grieving relatives and society to mourn not only his loss but the wanton return of extra killings under the PPP regime. We have reasons to fear that the right to life is no longer guaranteed nor the recourse to justice through the judicial system.
The death of Bacchus is a criminal matter that has no business at the Police Complaints Authority. This is a case where a man was killed allegedly by a member of the police for which requires the attention of the Police and the Director of Public Prosecutions, but the government took it to the Complaints Authority. Who does Ali think he is fooling? Guyana is not his salt goods shop where the rules are made up by him as he goes along and not enshrined as ought to be in statute.
The other issue of concern that we must not fall prey to, however sympathetic we are to the plight of vendors at Mon Repos. Governance is a system built on law, order and stipulated procedures. To ignore these tenets or accept that they could be trampled on to satisfy one’s ego and bravado is setting dangerous precedent in the society that will come back to haunt.
Within hours of the unfortunate turn of events at Mon Repos, Ali turned up and promised to compensate those who are affected, those who perceived they are affected, and those who claim to be affected. Hours later, money was being paid out. It appears as though Ali bent under the counter in his salt goods shop, pulled out a cartoon box and started distributing money like Santa Claus. What is instructive about this conduct is when any claim is made to the government for payment, it passes through a process that includes verification and authorised approval before disbursement.
The president’s disregard for basic rules and procedures in governance we must not only condemn but be very concerned that a president can ignore normal public service financial regulations and get away with doing as he pleases. To stay silent to his conduct, whether out of fear of being condemned, perceived as not being sympathetic to the plight of the vendors, or otherwise, would be a travesty.
The society must not countenance trampling of rules that guide the management of the business of the state and could also ensure our safety, security and wellbeing. Guyana is not Ali’s salt goods shop. His conduct has serious implications for corruption and accountability. Be forewarned.