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Updated: Foreign “meddling” in Guyana was justified 22 years ago, not today- ruling party

People’s Progressive Party General Secretary, Clement Rohee

General Secretary of the Peoples Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C), Clement Rohee, says the “meddling” on the part of foreign powers in Guyana’s affairs pre-1992 was justified” because the government of that time was “undemocratic.”

“I don’t think that was, in 1992, that was meddling, (and) if it was meddling it was justified meddling,” Rohee told reporters during the party’s weekly press brief today. Seeking to explain his contention Rohee said “in those days you had an undemocratic regime that held on to political power by rigged lections, everybody knows that”

He asserted that the situation is now different and that any such intervention is therefore unwarranted. Recently, United Kingdom (UK) High Commissioner Andrew Ayre, as well as the UK’s Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office called for an end to the prorogation of Guyana’s Parliament and the holding of local government elections for the first time since 1994.

He further said that “If you understand the laws of dialectics what is applicable in one situation is not necessarily applicable in one situation. So to us political scientists you don’t always have to give a stock explanation.”
Leading up to the 1992 elections the PPP hired a United States (US) law firm which lobbied US Congressmen, such as Senator Edward Kennedy here to assist in the push for the PNC to hold free and fair elections as there were allegations that the then-ruling PNC was in the practice of rigging elections. Former US President Jimmy Carter as well as the US embassy here are believed to have also played instrumental roles in pushing for free and fair elections.

Further, in 2001, Permanent Representative of Guyana to the Organization of American States (OAS), Odeen Ishmael, in a meeting of the OAS Permanent Council urged “the OAS, all its member states, and the international community as a whole to support the democratic process in Guyana to encourage all political parties to establish lines of cooperation which can surely assist in the growth of a healthy democratic culture in the country.” Ishmael made this call after the Peoples National Congress Reform (PNC/R) refused to accept the results of the 2001 elections and some amount of conflict ensued. Two years ago in August 2012, 

Today the United Kingdom High Commission has called for an end to the prorogation of parliament effected by President Donald Ramotar while others, such as the United States Embassy have called for local government elections but Rohee says such act of intervention amount to unjustified “meddling” as they are likely motivated by the opposition political parties – A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance for Change (AFC).
“Obviously if the opposition is accusing us of that, that has to be expected. You don’t expect the opposition to say oh we have a wonderful democracy in Guyana, we don’t expect the opposition to day things that are pleasing to the ears of government and of the PPP. The opposition would never say that.”

But did you not see what the Caribbean Community (Caricom) Council of Ministers said? Why not talk about that? It seems to me that the CARICOm council of ministers uissued a statemn that struck a more balanced tune,” he said.

The foreign missions have an opposition line?

“Without that connection youw ill only be theoretically and hypothetically associating yourself with what took place in the past and aritign for the sake of writing. One has to have a physical and a spiritual connection with what took placve in Guyana my firned. If you don’t then you could weaslity loos your way in the debate that is taking place on what is or is  not democracy,” he said.