(The following is an opinion piece written by former President Donald Ramotar)
From the time the APNU+AFC regime took office, it has been demonstrating a strong anti-democratic tendency that is leading towards another PNC style dictatorship.
The first major indication was their totally insensitive action of hiking their own pay by more than 50% and allowances by thousands of percentage points.
The latest action was the arrest of many officials of the former PPP/C administration. These arrests were all wrongful and, in the case of former President Bharrat Jagdeo, illegal.
The regime’s main purpose was to incite fear in the population.
They not only arrested several high profile persons, but even went on to celebrate it.
The party at the Oasis Café was the bullies were enjoying their “accomplishments: drinking wine and other exotic alcoholic beverages.
Like the old PNC regime, the current government seems to lack national pride due to the fact that a British national is directing the work of SOCU. They seem happy taking orders from a foreign national, in this case, a citizen of Britain, our former colonial master.
The APNU regime is in the process of subverting our institutions.
The SOCU, which was setup to investigate and fight money laundering, is now being used as a political tool of the APNU.
Its main purpose now is to harass PPP/C members and supporters.
We are now also witnessing the creation of another body, SARA, whose leaders are already interrogating business people at the Ministry of the Presidency.
Obviously, having set up this elaborate and very expensive apparatus, they will have to justify their existence, even if it means framing and setting up people. This is iron logic of where they will lead and take us.
These bodies are stacked with relatives, associates from former law-firm, old Party hacks and other friends; another way of milking the treasury.
Now, the regime is putting a Bill forward that is going to give enormous powers to the Executive Branch of government.
The Bill states that the President will have the power to dismiss Ministers. That, however, is an authority he/she already has.
The frightening one is the power being given to the Minister in the Ministry of the Presidency.
He/she will have the power to dismiss elected Members of Parliament. This is a very dangerous development that will lead to authoritarianism.
I say this because Members of that August body have been elected by the people. We cannot now give that right to anyone other than the persons that the Constitution so authorizes.
The APNU regime’s attitude to the Constitution is that it is a piece of paper. So many of their actions are in violation of the Constitution that it cannot now be seen as an oversight or accident.
Tender procedures are violated and awards are being made to APNU+AFC financiers. These are costing billions of dollars to our tax-payers.
Appointments to Constitutional Bodies are being manipulated. The judges recommended by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) are not being appointed. Attempts are clearly being made to pack the Court with judges whom the regime feels it can rely on. That is why some are saying – “we put dem deh, they gat to rule for us”.
In the Parliament, the Speaker is not acting impartially. At the last sitting, he stopped M.P Nandlall from speaking about the salary of the Prime Minister after he allowed Jordan to talk about former Presidents’ pension.
At every sitting, he disrupts the Opposition Members of the National Assembly when they are speaking.
Constitutional appointments are also being subverted. A case in point is the position of Chairman of the Elections Commission. The Constitution is clear on who is so qualified yet the regime ruled a list provided by the Leader of the Opposition after wide-ranging consultations as unacceptable.
All these are more than just signs.
They are an indication of where we are heading.
Already many are expressing fear; they feel that their rights are being violated. Almost everyone are of the view that their telephone conversations are being listened to.
Now, they have moved a step further to stifle dissent by arresting opposition leaders of the PPP/C.
It is important to point out that after the 1964 elections; the PNC regime targeted the PPP leaders as well. The PPP Chairman, Cedric Nunes, was detained for years, along with others.
However, it was not confined to the PPP.
Later, particularly after 1973, the then regime went against anyone expressing any views that were not in coincidence with that of the PNC regime.
This is just the beginning.
People need to defend the gains we have made in this country.
No concession should be made to any violation of our Human and Constitutional rights.
Stand up now before it is too late.