Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Stella Says…Where does the party end and government begin?

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 20 June 2006)

In recent weeks, there has been a definite increase in the amount of party propaganda being injected into the mainstream media. This is true of the PNC to a degree, but the PPP has been going all out to get the attention of the party faithful.

Information Liaison to the President, Robert Persaud, MBA and the Minister of Foreign Trade and International Cooperation, Clement Rohee, have been churning out all kinds of untidy cants for weeks now. Although it does seem Rohee has gotten conspicuously quiet this past week. This is very curious indeed.

As I was reading one of Rohee's very long diatribe a couple weeks ago, I could not help but wonder who it was he represented. Does he and Smart and Sharp Robert, when they pen their nonsensical writings, represent the PPP party or the people of Guyana as a whole as implied by the titles they carry?

Our dear Smart and Sharp Robert is also the head of GINA, the national entity entrusted with the dissemination and distribution of important information to all Guyanese. It is a given that one should expect this information to be pure and unadulterated – or rather, it should be delivered without an attached agenda.

As my friend, Mr. MBA (who deemed his party as having ultra-democratic tendencies a couple of weeks ago) well knows, the views and ideas of the PPP are not shared by a large portion of the population. However, if his faux democratic party were truly a party concerned with the progression of freedom, he would be allowing the PNC to make themselves looks as smart and sharp as himself.

However, I did take note that the first line of Mr. Persaud's column this week said, "Guyana is an emerging democracy." Perhaps the swift change of heart is because Smart and Sharp has realised that as long as the PPP maintains complete control over the state media, the party cannot be considered ultra democratic.

Since the PPP does not come anywhere close to having the support of every Guyanese in the country, a truly democratic government would ensure that the voice of the rest of the Guyanese people is also heard. But the voice of the rest of Guyana is squelched – right along with democracy.

The PNC likes to cry foul over this situation, but they did the same thing when they were in power. Which of course is the justification used by the PPP to continue this stifling practice today. How childish. It is as if they are sticking their tongues out at each other when one group of kids gets to the top of the play castle.

Yet democracy is not a toy and while these two parties play around with the freedoms of the people, the entire nation suffers the consequences. When will the people finally whip these parties good and demand that they grow up and start acting like a government?

Although the PPP maintains control of the government right now and exercises its power over the minority party, this is not the example of a democracy. A true democracy recognised the voice of the minorities parties as being just as important and shares the power of government for the good of all citizens – not just the half that voted the ruling party into power.

Here is an October 2, 2005 statement from a letter to the Editor of Kaieteur News from A. Seymour, "However, I must say that I am not at all optimistic because the PPP/C continues to entrench itself in the media, making the distinction between party and government blurred or virtually non-existent. The classic cases in point: Robert Persaud is the PPP's spokesman, PPP Executive Member, Head of GINA and Presidential Information Liaison."

The question remains then, who is it that Robert Persaud represents when he writes his column? The PPP or the people of Guyana? When Clement Rohee spews his vile accusations, whom does he represent? If he represents the people, is he sure this is the type of stuff the people want him to be saying?

If these flyboys are representing the PPP during their tirades, I certainly hope Freedom House is paying their paychecks and not the people. However, if taxpayers are paying their paychecks, I'll bet you anything that there are quite a few taxpayers who are not happy with how their money is being spent.

Email: stellasays[at]gmail.com

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