A decision by Minister of State Joseph Harmon, to request that the Opposition document the 25 ‘scandals’ it claimed the 16-month A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government has been involved in, has drawn scathing criticism from People’s Progressive Party (PPP) General Secretary Clement Rohee, who said the minister seems to be living in denial.
After the Office of the Leader of the Opposition on Wednesday released an eight-page dossier chronicling the ‘scandals’, Harmon told reporters on Thursday that if the Opposition documented its claims, the Government stood ready to deal with them both inside and out of the National Assembly.
“Any accusations that they have let them bring it; if there are some matters which should be brought to the floor of the National Assembly, we will deal with them. If there are other matters to be dealt with otherwise, we will deal with them,” Harmon told reporters.
However, speaking at his party’s weekly press conference on Monday, Rohee said that Harmon seems to be out of touch with the realities of both his Government and the views of citizens.
“These are not contrived scandals. This is not a question of scandal-mongering, these are facts that have published over and over again in different sections of the media and everybody knows about this. Transparency International knows about them, Human Rights Association knows about them, the Private Sector Commission knows about them… [So] if Mr Harmon is in the denial mode I can’t help him. If he is denying what we said in that document, then he is clearly out of touch with not only his government but the realities of the country. So sorry for him, I can’t help him,” Rohee said.
When asked about similar allegations levelled against the PPP while in office, he stated that those were well ventilated and published in the media and the political opposition had a field day against his party at the time.
Further, Rohee rejected Harmon’s proposal that the Opposition itemise its claims before they could be properly discussed either inside the National Assembly or other channels available outside the Chambers.
Last Wednesday, the Office of the Leader of the Opposition Bharrat Jagdeo, released the eight-page dossier, chronicling what were said to be 25 scandals of the David Granger Administration, declaring that the coalition has more scandals on its rap sheet than the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) amassed in its 23 years in office.
While in Opposition and before they coalesced, both the APNU and the AFC in 2012, had accused the PPP/C Administration of high-level corruption in a number of national projects, including Marriott Hotel, the Specialty Hospital, the Amaila Falls Hydro Project, and the expansion of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, triggering a live television debate on these issues.