The call came before I had breakfast yesterday morning. Someone I respect immensely advised me that though he understood my premise for not pronouncing on whether Khemraj Ramjattan, Raphael Trotman and Sheila Holder (the gang of three) should resign from Parliament, he felt that a majority of readers would conclude that I avoided a pronouncement. I said that my article was a thesis on the impossibility of judging moral decisions.
I specifically concentrated on the moral dimension of my argument because it was the use of moral judgement with which Stella Ramsaroop argued to arrive at her conclusion. Stella Ramsaroop did not ask me if for political reasons, the gang of three should resign. She didn't request my opinion on the legality of the retention. She cited the moral imperative. To answer that, I had to explain how the moral imperative functions. My attitude to her question then had to be in the form it appeared yesterday.
That respected telephone-caller has further advised that I touch the subject again because my readers will insist that they would like to know my perception of the stubbornness of the Gang of Three.
Here is what I think about Guyanese society and within this framework, I will advance a postulation on the retention argument. First, let's get the political effectiveness argument out of the way. Then look at the legality issue before we return to the moral nuance of this ongoing phenomenon.
Politically, I do not think the Gang of Three will be effective in Parliament. The PPP is instinctively authoritarian. The PPP-controlled Parliament is not going to allow Raphael Trotman's Freedom of Information Act. If the PPP wanted one, that party would have had it already.
The PNCR has no moral scruples; that party never once had any. It is going to team up with the PPP to stifle Trotman's performance in Parliament. Already, PPP dirty tricks groups are at work tampering with the web-site of the Alliance for Change. With months before the election, it may be politically wise to leave Parliament with a powerful emotional message of explanation.
Is the Gang of Three illegal in Parliament? If the law is pellucid and unambiguous, then the famous trio should vacate their seats. But who is the right interpreter of law in this country? Anyone knows the law in Guyana ? What is the legal position with regards to the retention of the seats?
We now come to the moral imperative. We begin with an old acceptance, as old as the universe – a wrong cannot be responded to with a wrong. If nobody cares about stopping the coffee lady from milking the cupboard, her colleague should not use that as an excuse to steal from her employer.
The hopeful trio cannot pontificate on the moral turpitude of other political actors to claim possession of their seats. Having said that, it becomes morally incumbent on those citizens in society to articulate the same moral criteria that they have asked the Gang of Three to adhere; moral standards are infinite.
Let's start with the very person who is responsible for me penning this article, Stella Ramsaroop. It is morally right for her to pen a column condemning the AFC parliamentarians yet eschew other manifestations of greater moral faults? If the answer is yes, then as a moral obligation she has to focus on the roles of the other flawed citizens of this country and call for their resignation.
She began her entry into the Guyanese media by supporting Christopher Ram's column in the Stabroek News. Should he resign from the paper because he cannot comment on the indiscretions of the company he audits?
Stella caught the public eyes when she defended the Stabroek News when the President sued that paper for libel. Then doesn't she have a moral obligation to expose the sacred cow journalism of this paper whereby its hidden agenda prevents it from exposing wrong-doing in places where it has friends?
The Stabroek News has a columnist who is a big administrator at UG. That paper shamelessly refuses to carry letters that criticizes its friends at UG who are literally destroying that institution. What is the moral obligation of the readers of that paper? I hope Stella Ramsaroop tells me.
What is the moral obligation of the citizens of this country when the President has a “bad-egg” as a close aide who is involved in corruption and publicly abuses people and fights with them but with each passing day he is elevated in the corridors of powers? As an act of obligation to this country, shouldn't such a President resign? Shouldn't such a President resign when he can publicly re-employ a senior functionary who put his signature to more than 50 bogus duty-free letters that cost this poor country almost $100M?
Where is the moral obligation to this country of the citizens, the important organisations and influential personalities when there is a lawyer who earns dozens of millions of dollars each month and pays less income tax than public sector workers who are the poorest in the CARICOM family?
Yet he is greeted wherever he goes and is always an invitee to the cocktail circuit. Is he morally righteous?
What does this country say about a mentally deranged medical doctor who tells the head of the revenue collection agency that he will tell the Guyanese people about the man's wife medical records? The Guyana Medical Council does nothing despite a complaint. Then this lunatic gets into trouble by physically assaulting a poor female employee and gets hauled before the police.
This crazy doctor writes the most obnoxiously narcissistic and nauseating letters in the press and they are published. Then to crown it all, he is invited to one of the most prestigious ceremonies in the education system to make a speech. What can he tell those students?
I could use thousands of other examples. I will offer more in forthcoming columns.
So there are people in this country who think that the three AFC leaders should resign from Parliament because it is a morally right thing to do. What about the thousands of other resignations that should follow from elsewhere in the country? Gimme a break fellow Guyanese! Show me someone in Guyana who has morality. Guyana is one of the most sinful and shameless societies in the world.
Monday, November 07, 2005
Sinful society without shame - Freddie Kissoon
Here's Freddie's second response (click here for his first response) to my column Freddie, Tell Me What You Think About the AFC Now