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Recent statements by Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn on fire and crime in Guyana only expose his incompetence and his reluctance to shoulder responsibility for his portfolio said the A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC), who in a statement today is calling on him to resign.
The Opposition’s reasons for demanding the resignation of the minister are as stated below: –
After the fire at the Director of Public Prosecutions’ Office last year, Minister Benn said, “It appears that we are experiencing a trial by fire again in Guyana.” He is right, after all the PPP has a long and notorious record of association with fires in Guyana. In the 1960s to the 1990s, they set fire to hundreds of acres of young sugar cane plants, burnt schools and bridges as they sought to cripple both the industry and the nation’s economy.
Mysterious fires under the PPP’s watch are etched in the memory and psyche of this nation. In fact, there have been at least 13 suspicious fires at government buildings during the PPP’s time in office, or one every other year.
A newspaper Editorial from 2014 notes, “Interestingly the places which have been visited by the firebug have all without exception housed extremely sensitive and vital information upon which the development of this country hinges. Perhaps coincidentally, the fires have occurred when an audit of one sort or another has been planned.” This is an insightful comment on fires during the PPP’s tenure as government. The PPP has a history of setting fire as a political tool both in opposition and government. One can therefore understand and appreciate Robeson Benn’s familiarity with political arson. He comes from and works in the belly of the beast of political arson – the PPP.
Even as the PPP attempts to make these fires political they seem to forget that the fire at the DPP was shown by the Guyana Fire Service to be due to an electrical shortage. In fact the DPP fire must be placed squarely at the feet of the PPP and its incompetence.
Now, we are called again to remind Guyanese, when it comes to Minister Benn he is just incompetent.
Last year we called for the:
- Establishment of a mechanism to examine all aspects of local fire safety, and a review of the related existing systems, including building codes. Additionally, there must be an immediate assessment of all the response mechanisms present and a review of the available equipment and the human resource capacity. This investigative mechanism must provide a special and comprehensive report. The findings must be made available for the public scrutiny and immediate remedial action.
- A review of the Fire Service Act and recommendations for modifications at the Parliamentary level. Since Guyana is moving towards an environmental transformation, new, comprehensive, and creative legislative action must be introduced in fire prevention, to ensure the safety of all Guyanese citizens and all property.
Neither of these actions was taken, and thus the country’s buildings and public documents remain at risk – thanks to the incompetent Benn and the PPP CORRUPT AND INCOMPETENT CABAL.
Further, where is the mass digitization program that was intended to back-up government documents? Can the minister tell us what percentage of government files has been digitized? What is the timeline for all government files to be digitized? For the Minister to now attempt to politicize fires, after having done nothing to mitigate the risk of fire for an entire year, is nothing short of a self-inflicted humiliation.
If that weren’t enough, allegations of police involvement in at least two murders – Boston and Bacchus- continue to plague the politicized Guyana Police Force under the incompetent Minister Benn. Add to that the unsolved murders of the Henry boys and Haresh Singh, and the logical conclusion is that Benn’s tenure has been and continues to be a disaster.
Guyanese are no longer safe in their homes, on the streets or in public spaces. The police force has become more corrupt and inept under his watch. It would have been better if he had stayed silent. Instead, his recent statements have reminded the public that, as bad as the PPP has performed, he has to rank among its greatest failures.