Tony Vieira's Comments
22 October 2017

Updates!

Receive email notices when a commentary is uploaded. Join our mailing list.

E-Mail Address:

View Article

Parliamentary Report 2005
(Aired 1 April 2005)

     I apologise for not doing commentary for the past few weeks, this was unavoidable since I had to be away on urgent personal matters, I should not even be doing a commentary now since I have only been back one week and that is too short a time to get back in the groove as we Guyanese say.

   But this commentary concerns an urgent national matter which I would like to address tonight.

   Over and over I have told you that in this country the Rule of Law does not exist and that Parliament was just a rubber stamp.

  From 1997 to 2001 this country went through a huge social turmoil, millions maybe billions of dollars was lost in property, production and wages during the marching and other demonstrations which led to the concessions by the PPP of reforming the constitution and starting the constructive engagement with Desmond Hoyte, this country paid a high price for these concessions but it is being eroded by the Executive at the Office of the President who I have repeatedly told you, negotiate one thing but implement something completely different and there is danger in this type of deception.

   All Guyanese must pay attention to it both Indo and Afro Guyanese. The Indo Guyanese must understand that in this country issues are not important in an election race Mr. Burnham and Dr. Jagan has left us with this legacy of racial voting, but when elected if the Executive is doing nonsense which antagonises the opposition then it endangers everyone; so the people who put them there should demand accountability in their own self interest.

    The Executive, are surrounded by security but not the common man, we are out there undefended and when these riots start people don't care who you are, during the disturbances between 1997 to 2001Afro Guyanese were hurt just as Indo Guyanese were, we have the footage at the evening news to prove it, so if anyone thinks that I feel that I am immune from rioters looking for loot then you are very sadly mistaken, when it starts it consumes everyone since criminals join in the protests and so anyone with property is in danger, everyone and that means me as well as you.

   In my commentary "Power to the People' aired on the 3rd of March 2005, I  told you that during the floods the affairs of state virtually came to a halt, the President instead of handing the situation over to Joe Singh and a reconstituted Civil Defence Commission took it on himself to turn the miseries of his people into a political football and sent his Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and PPP political functionaries to give aid to those affected, leaving the affairs of state to run on auto pilot and this continued throughout the entire crisis until the PPP functionaries were told that there was leptospirosis in the water at which time they decided that discretion was the better part of valour and stopped delivering aid in the water by hand to those affected, a good indication of the level of their commitment to our people.

   Like you I have read the comments of Sir Michael Davies on the non functioning of our parliament and I understood what the man was saying, since it agreed with what I have been told by PNC, GAP, WPA and ROAR parliamentarians and this has been the subject of many of my commentaries, the PPP comes to Parliament with all sorts of ridiculous legislation one of which Mr. Keith Messiah a former Chancellor once described as verbose, long winded, repetitive and makes no sense at all and it was passed in the parliament on the same day and any comments objections by the opposition were completely ignored, it happened when Gajraj brought that ridiculous terrorist bill to Parliament causing the Guyana Human rights association to label these laws as unconstitutional and unenforceable exactly what the opposition parties were saying the PPP passed the bill anyway, the Parliamentary committees despite the reforms to the constitution, the Dialog and the Communiqué continued to be bogged down in nonsense, as recently as the 2005 budget debate, the budget was passed notwithstanding excellent questions as to its veracity and accuracy from opposition members, Sir Richard tells us that notwithstanding the apparent commitment to repaint and refurbish the public buildings it is not staffed in a manner which shows that this government and, I assume by inference the PNC government, had any desire to enhance the power of the Legislature.

    But after 1992 we were promised a democracy which was a swing away from the socialist style of Government the PNC was following, if the USSR was alive and well then it would not have been possible for Mr. Carter to come here in 1992 and intervene in our electoral system, what Mr. Carter did not anticipate is that we would have democratic elections every 5 years to decide who the dictators will be for the next five years, that is what we have a dictatorship.

   Mr. Carter did not understand that democracy does not come first, the Rule of Law comes first and the Rule of Law includes the functioning of the Parliament, in this country for example the opposition would never get a fair hearing against this government in our Law Courts, first of all the case will be allocated to some Judge who is sympathetic to the executive and the PPP or one who is acting and who would not want to tick off the executive, our Chief Justice would see to that since it is he who allocates the cases to the various judges, then the case would take ten years to be resolved, so seeking recourse in the law is impossible in this country, this prompts Sir Michael to make a statement similar to what I have been saying all along, that if you remove the opportunity for the opposition to have their say in how things are run in the Parliament, then they will seek other means of expressing their dissatisfaction.

   I am going to do a complete commentary on this study by Sir Michael, next week all I want to do tonight is to tell Mr. Jagdeo and Dr. Luncheon that this is a highly experienced man in Democratic Parliamentary Affairs, he saw the standing orders, he saw the written documents on how our parliament functions, he was for example unable to get a copy of the National Census which has now become a classified document, he also saw other evidence of secrecy in the dissemination of information to the parliament, he saw the inadequate staffing of the public buildings and numerous other written indicators all of which prompted him to make the following statement and I quote him "Meetings of the assembly are entirely at the whim of the Executive, control of the order Paper is entirely in the hands of the Executive, the assembly's budget is too tightly controlled by the Executive, the staffing of the assembly is not independent of the Executive and committee work is subject to frustration by the Executive" Sir Michael also notes that our Parliament only met 19 times in 2004 which is totally unacceptable in a Parliamentary Democracy he also condemns the fact the parliament never met to discuss the flood disaster, despite calls by the opposition to do so.

  So my point is this, what can Mr. Jagdeo or Mr. Luncheon, who have now taken their heads out of the Flood water and are finally paying attention to running the country, tell this specialist in these matters to change his mind in what he saw and read.

    What is this nonsensical call for the man to come back here and do over his exercise? It is a sham, PPP propaganda, attempting to tell their supporters that Sir Michael would change his mind on the non-functioning of the Guyana Parliament if the executive are given the opportunity to bamboozle him. Well boys this citizen is not buying this nonsense. Just as the Dutch engineers came here and in 24 hours confirmed that I was right that the Black flood water on the East Coast was coming out of the conservancy, despite denials from Ravi Narine, Raymond Latchmansingh and Mr. Jagdeo, and I am issuing this challenge to the PPP, check every word I ever wrote on this flood disaster and find one flaw which came to light later, I was right on all counts. And the D&I Board, The Ministry of Agriculture and the Office of the President were all wrong in their interpretation of what happened on the East Coast in January and February 2005since they were covering up the nonsense they allowed BK Tiwari to do to this dam 4 years ago.

  That's all I ever promised ladies and gentlemen, I promised to tell you the truth and the truth cannot be wrong.