EYEWITNESS: Back to the future…

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…on PNC “party paramountcy”

Ever since the PNC-led coalition began to govern in 2015, it quickly became apparent to your Eyewitness that they seemed determined to prove the old adage that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. The original PNC “trick” was their insistence on practising “party paramountcy”.

Party Chair Volda Lawrence’s statement that only her friends – all PNC, in any case – and PNC members could expect to get Government jobs is just another example of the “paramount party” mindset.

Now young folks, who wouldn’t have experienced the first iteration of PNC paramountcy, might think, “Ah well, the party that wins the elections and becomes the Government will always “favour” their own members – so what’s the big deal?”

The “big deal” is that “party paramountcy” goes all the way to the bone in all relations in the society and justifies a mindset of “PNC uber alles!” Now this isn’t just what people OBSERVED about the PNC’s actions – but was EXPLICITLY announced in what was grandiosely named the “Declaration of Sophia”.

Inter alia, this announced that the PNC would be: “mobilising the nation in every sphere and not merely for periodic elections and in support of specific actions and programmes…the party should assume unapologetically its paramountcy over the Government which is merely one of its executive arms…The country must be given practical and theoretical leadership at all levels – political, economic, social and cultural – by the PNC, which has become the major national institution.”

Congress Place, the PNC’s headquarters, became the nation’s employment centre; and the party’s ‘card’, the passport to the State’s largess. This was only being restated by Lawrence!!

Another more chilling comment was her follow-up which, surprisingly, hasn’t gotten as much notoriety as the first – even though it is in its implications since it was about how PNC members should deal with PPP winners in “PNC areas”: “You see this long, long story, me ain’t able buse and cuss and waste me time; I lash you in you head and done the story!” The paramount party, being “more enlightened and always right” could use whatever means necessary, including their sharper steel, to show others the error of their ways!!

In case you were wondering about the massive expansion of the activities of the Ministry of the Presidency – this is just the new incarnation of the old “Office of the General Secretary of the PNC and the Ministry of National Development” (OGSPNCMND) That consisted of six departments, the names of which suggest the scope of its activity: National Production, Financial Administration and Economic Projects, Party Affairs and Mass Organisations, Personnel Administrative Service, National Orientation and International Relations and Maintenance and Welfare.
Sounds familiar?

 …on law school

For three years, Basil Williams has been campaigning to launch a new law school in Guyana. This would, he asserted, save us the ignominy of having only our top 25 law students from UG be admitted to Hugh Wooding in T&T. It sounded good, but pretty soon when he announced he’d already lined up private partners from Jamaica to own and run the school, warning bells started to go off.

First of all, he claimed he’d already received approval from the Council of Legal Education (CLE) which local legal luminaries such as Anil Nandlall and then Chancellor of the Judiciary, Carl Singh insisted weren’t so!! Williams cried “sour grapes”, but when the Chairman of the CLE and a host of other members of the CLE confirmed there was no approval, he then cried “conspiracy!!”

Finally, it was revealed his application didn’t conform to the CLE’s mandate, had no curriculum and was unsupported by a feasibility study!

Would you trust a man who can’t even get his facts straight, to start a law school?

…on old murders

A “Cold Case Unit” was launched in the Guyana Police Force. Your Eyewitness is pleased.
Maybe we can finally nab the murderer of that bright, young Guyanese female lawyer Shirley Field-Ridley, who was just 45 years old?

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