OPINION: Eyewitness

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Long knives

…at Foreign Affairs

A decade ago, who would have thought that Guyana would be getting top billing in the media of every developed country in the world? The massive oil finds by Exxon did the job, and while we rightfully scrutinise Raphael Trotman’s role in the giving away of the store on the “negotiations”, we have to admit we’re getting some really good publicity as the world now beats a path to our door.

But just as we’re becoming known in the world for something other than Jonestown and its 900+ suicides, the caretaker PNC government has decided to shake up the entire edifice of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Now, why would they want to go down this road, when the interests of our country in the international arena demand heightened protection?? Didn’t Trotman himself give the excuse of the Venezuelan border controversy as the reason he didn’t look at the fine print?? And isn’t the World Court going to decide in March as to whether they have the jurisdiction to hear the very case??

The PNC’s reason for sacking the Director General is that they’ve decided to do away with the position and replace it with a Permanent Secretary!! This excuse is even lamer than the one given by Trotman for his blunder on the oil contract!! Why couldn’t the incumbent Director General be given the new designation?? Why had they at first denied that her contract wasn’t being renewed?? Then there’s the decision to recall and replace 5 ambassadors to top drawer countries like Canada and China etc.

Knowing the beast we’re dealing with, we can be sure there’s more in the mortar than the pestle – and the PNC’s pestle has always been nothing to sneeze at!! So what is it since right off the bat, the PNC Government is breaking all the conventions of what a caretaker Government is supposed to do – which is just to mind the store. Not fire all the staff to rehire God knows who. But this is par for the PNC, which is willing to flout the LETTER of the Constitution, much less its spirit!!

The reason for the shakeup in the Foreign Service is that, knowing they’ll be booted out come next March, they’re gonna promote some stalwarts into the now vacant positions, then cry “racism” or “witch-hunting” when the PPP has to revamp the staffing to deal with the demands of our heightened new role in the foreign arena. Remember the brouhaha when the PPP had to retool the same Ministry after the 1992 elections?? Multiply that by 1000 because of their chagrin at not getting their grubby little hands on the oil funds.

The move’s a land mine for the PPP!!

…in the coalition

If you’re getting the feeling that a lot of folks in the coalition are lying low since they aren’t popping up in the dailies as you’d expect them to do with elections in the air, well, take a bow!! But why the low profile?? And the answer is that the long knives we see being wielded in Foreign Affairs are also busy at work weeding out some old faces who the PNC feels haven’t been pulling their weight.

Right off the bat we know if the AFC has to throw some bodies under the bus after their renegotiated (imposed?) Accord, then imagine what folks like JFAP, NDF, NFA and WPA have to do!! Does anyone really think Jaipal Sharma’s gonna be back when it was bandied about he was about to do a Charrandas? Think about why he offered to do a Hara-Kiri! Or what about Keith Scott and his foot-in-mouth tendency?? Does anyone even KNOW what the NDA is??

And we’re only talking about the fringe elements!!

…against WPA

Just when you thought the age of magic was long gone with Harry Potter and Hogwarts, we had the Rodney sign magically reappear at the National Archives!!

Or, with Christmas in the air, is it a miracle? By a “big stick”??