The resignation of Retired Major General, Joseph Singh and Chartered Accountant and Attorney-at-Law, Christopher Ram from all government jobs marks the continued isolation of the President David Granger-led administration that increasingly appears confident that it will regain power at an unfair election, Political Scientist Freddie Kissoon said Wednesday.
“I think the isolation is coming. There have been too many mistakes and I would not want to think that this is the most egregious one and, therefore, the isolation has started,” he said, adding that some of the other unpopular decisions are the granting of hefty salary increases to ministers, and the unilateral award of public servants wage and salary increases. “This is just another phase in the continued isolation of this government. I seriously believe that this government is unpopular,” he said.
Kissoon further reasoned that Singh and Ram have used their resignations as a way of alerting Guyanese that the country was being led down an undesirable constitutional and political path.
Ram on Wednesday announced his withdrawal from membership of the planning committee for the establishment of the JOF Haynes Law School as news broke in the government-controlled Guyana Chronicle that he had been an advisor to Attorney General, Basil Williams on the setting up of that legal education institution and that he had pocketed huge sums of money as an advisor to the Attorney General’s Chambers in the recently concluded case – Guyana versus the Trinidad beverage company, SM Jaleel and Company Limited- before the Caribbean Court of Justice.
That article also went on to state that despite his connections to the government, he had still allowed himself to be nominated by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo for the post of GECOM Chairman.
Ram, an outspoken critic of the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) and the Granger-led APNU+AFC coalition, could not be immediately reached for comment on whether his withdrawal had anything to do with the Guyana Chronicle article.
In a statement issued to the media on Wednesday, Ram said his withdrawal was in support pf the “heroic and exemplary decision” by Retired Major General Joseph Singh to resign from all government-related posts.
Ram used the opportunity register his disgust at President Granger’s rejection of him as unfit and improper for the GECOM Chairmanship. He was among the 18 nominees who had been submitted by the Opposition Leader.
“Given that the Constitution deems me a fit and proper person makes President Granger’s assessment of me of no import. Indeed, I am fortified in my conviction that his decision is entirely wrong and unconstitutional,” said Ram, the host of the weekly television interview programme, Plain Talk.
Kissoon, however, said both Ram and Singh were in “serious moral conflict” because of their direct connections with the government. “We would prefer a GECOM Chairman that has no connection with any government.”
Ram, who had also appeared in the High Court case by civil engineer, Marcel Gaskin, in which an interpretation had been sought about the process for picking a GECOM Chairman, stated that Granger violated Guyana’s constitution when he bypassed the 18 nominees and unilaterally appointed Retired Justice James Patterson on October 20, 2017 to fill the post.
“While I remain committed to serving my country, I make the clear distinction between Guyana and the Government. The blatant disregard by the Granger Administration for the Constitution, the courts, the principles of good governance and for social cohesion, is a matter which should be of grave concern to all of us who claim respect and love of country,” said Ram.
One day earlier, Retired Major General Singh also suggested that he was uncomfortable continuing to work with the government since the President had also deemed that he was not fit and proper to be appointed to chair the Commission of that electoral management agency.
The Political Scientist said Ram and Singh- two high profile and immensely qualified persons- might have regarded their rejection as a “personal insult to their dignity” and instead wanted someone who is biased. “My feeling is that the President wanted someone who is partisan to the cause of his party. It did not operate with a methodology that leaves me, as an analyst, to think it was a politically sacred and professionally pure decision. Given that, I don’t think I can unequivocally say that the elections of 2020 will be pure,” he said.
Kissoon flayed the President for appointing Patterson unilaterally, instead of consulting with his coalition partners and others in the society who could have offered an objective opinion. Instead, he said the Granger-led administration has raised suspicions about its tendency towards authoritarian rule and clinging on to power through unfair means.
The former University of Guyana Political Science lecturer said based on several unpopular decisions that the government has made since coming to power in May 2015, it must be confident of retaining power in the 2020 elections after bribing Guyanese with revenues from oil production, and expecting endorsement from the American, British and Canadian governments especially if Jagdeo is the People’s Progressive Party’s (PPP) presidential candidate for those elections. “Once they pin their hopes on that, I don’t think there is any reason for them to behave democratically going into 2020 because once power is assured, there is no reason or there is no logic for an incumbent to behave democratically,” he said.
he Granger-led administration, he said, has not delivered much after taking power from the PPP which had allegedly perpetrated several undemocratic acts during its 23 year rule.