[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) says the tirade of threats, coarse language, suggestions of misuse of public funds and anti-women comments by Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall during a recent telephone conversation with a Kaieteur News reporter has rightly generated public astonishment and calls for his resignation.
The Body says what is more shocking than the incident itself is the “hapless” defense of Nandlall by President Donald Ramotar on the “flimsy grounds” that the taping of the conversation was illegal.
The GHRA believes the failure of the President to distance the Cabinet and himself from the content of the call has effectively elevated Nandlall’s action from a personal rant to being the latest step in the increasingly desperate official response to the campaign by Kaieteur News for greater official transparency on public funds involved in a range of controversial projects.
“These include the secretive government agency NICIL, ownership of the Marriott Hotel, the privileges enjoyed by the companies which benefitted from the Sanata Complex give-away; telecommunications deals and the Bai Shan Lin contract,” a statement noted.
The Human Rights Body explained that secrecy and lack of transparency has taken its toll on a number of Government mechanisms which include: “the politically-poisoned implementation of broadcast license distribution; years of foot-dragging over establishing the Procurement Commission; appointing a Commissioner of Information who views his role more as guard-dog than gate-keeper, together with comprehensive and continuous abuse of the State-owned media.”
The statement further added that “this obsessive control of information has provoked more confrontational demands from a frustrated media, which in turn generated Government responses targeting media workers in the form of libel suits.”
The Body says that whether Nandlall is forced to resign or not, which is in order, this alone will not resolve the underlying issue.
“At bottom this latest incident, with all its demeaning characteristics, is rooted in systematic abuse of a core element of democratic practice, namely, not accounting for the use of public funds in a transparent manner.”
The GHRA says the fundamental question, therefore, is whether, regardless of the cost to governance and to the quality of public life, the Government intends continued resistance to provision of timely and accurate information on its stewardship of public funds?