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APNU wants civil society to pressure Ramotar for Rohee’s removal

APNU Chairman David Granger is flanked by PRO Malika Ramsey and MP Winston Felix

The APNU says it will call on civil society to pressure President Donald Ramotar to remove Clement Rohee as Home Affairs Minister after the failure of its parliamentary efforts to do so.

Opposition Leader David Granger told reporters on Friday that the coalition would continue to act within the legal framework but that they had done as much as was possible within the National Assembly.

“We are exploring other options, if they can’t be completed within the National Assembly they might have to be done outside the National Assembly, by calling on civil society to join in denouncing the retention of this person who in seven years clearly demonstrated that he cannot cope with this particular ministry.”

Asked what they would call on civil society to do Granger said they would encourage them to lobby the president.

“We are calling on the Private Sector Commission, we are calling on the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry, we are calling on the Guyana Human Rights Association, we are calling on religious organisations to prevail on the president to revoke Mr. Rohee’s appointment.”

The joint opposition had passed a resolution calling Ramotar to remove Rohee and also tried to curtail his speaking in the House with both measures failing. The APNU has also refused to vote for any business brought in the minister’s name.

When it was pointed out that several changes in the National Security portfolio in Trinidad over the last three years had not necessarily improved their security situation the opposition leader stated he was unaware of the factors driving crime there.

But according to him, Rohee had to go because he was intruding into the operational aspects of the Guyana Police Force.

“He’s trying to micromanage the police force and that’s where mistakes are being committed. It is quite clear that he has an overbearing influence where police operations are conducted and we need somebody who maintains his political role and allows the professionals to perform in a professional manner.”

Meanwhile, APNU MP and former police chief Winston Felix pointed out that despite the outcomes of the moves in Trinidad there was a clear recognition that something had to be done.

“At least the Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister knows what to do in a crisis situation, you make changes; nothing is being done here. So we’re stuck with the repetition of the same faults that we are criticising and that are apparent.”

Felix added that there was no motivation for the police to do more than they were already doing and as an example he pointed out that the police chief was acting in that position with little possibility of confirmation.

“You have a Guyana Police Force with no promotions for the past two years in the officer corps. Since the death of the Chairman of the Police Service Commission nothing has been done so far to replace him and to get promotions going,” Felix said.

The former top cop added that resources provided have to match the task at hand and that was not happening within the police force.

The APNU said rising crime was a direct result of the PPP/C government’s failure to implement initiatives such as the UK-funded Security Sector Reform Action Plan, the now-expired National Drug Strategy Master Plan and the recommendations of the Disciplined Forces Commission.

The police recently released figures stating that there was a six percent increase in serious crimes at the end of August when compared with the same period in 2012. There was a reported 10 percent increase in firearm crimes.

The PPP/C for its part has blamed the opposition parties for the rising crime saying that they had emboldened criminals by not voting for legislation aimed at addressing the trafficking of illegal firearms and by their non-support for a security plan announced at the start of the year.

The ruling party this week also identified the legal representation for accused individuals by party chairmen and practicing criminal lawyers Basil Williams and Nigel Hughes as support for the criminals.