By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] –General Secretary of the ruling Peoples Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) and Security Minister Clement Rohee became very upset and almost threw a tantrum when asked by a seasoned media operative whether he thinks the acquisition of Former President Bharat Jagdeo and his Minister Colleague Robert Persaud’s assets were as a result of their involvement in corrupt practices.
Rohee in his answer, which culminated with a bang on the desk behind which he sat, defended the two PPP/C Executives, stating that he refused to be dragged into the realm of speculation as he vouched that their financial and other wealth were honestly earned.
“Some people gauge their perception of corruption by the movement of some of your colleagues from rags to riches, would you say that’s a fair assessment?… when you look at some of them doesn’t it tickle your mind to know how they got certain things, knowing them so well?” Rohee was asked.
Minister Rohee in turn asked the seasoned journalist to call names of who he was referring to when he said “take the former president for instance.”
Rohee in Jagdeo’s defence said “when Jagdeo came back from Moscow he had a hard time getting a job, he eventually got a job at the state Planning Secretariat, he was still a bachelor, he wasn’t married and I assume he was saving money… then the PPP came into office and he became the Junior Finance Minister and he was earning while he still remained a bachelor… so if people can do that and save now, how come Jagdeo couldn’t do that and save now?”
The PPP/C GS sternly rebuked the journalist. He said he will never agree that the Former President stole money, engaged in corrupted practices where he took money from government to build his house, which is being used to speculate his involvement in corrupt practices.
He challenged anyone with evidence otherwise to make it public.
The journalist then turned his attention to the Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Robert Persaud, again where a house was being made the subject of alleged speculation.
To this end Rohee said “I am a sitting Minister of this Government, I am not available to answer to speculative questions, I have to be very responsible with what I’m saying and do,” adding that “if something wasn’t right it would have already been discovered and exposed. Trust me Kaieteur News would have been the first to expose it but they don’t have a damn thing… I am challenging Kaieteur News if they have anything publish it, where they thief, who they thief from.”
Rohee had earlier called on the Leader of the Opposition David Granger to issue a public apology for statements carried in the March 17 edition of the Kaietuer News and attributed to him under the headline: “Corruption festered by low Public Servants morale – Granger.”
Rohee said the Party takes strong objection to the statements and insinuations made against public officials, the vast majority of whom served the people of this country with high levels of dedication, competence and professionalism.
“No less disrespectful is the attempt by Granger to draw a link between the salaries paid to public servants and the standard of professionalism that currently exists in the public service.”
Rohee said judging from the reports of corruption via the website ‘I Paid A Bride’ which is being manned by his Ministry, corruption in Guyana is not wide spread.
He reiterated the administration’s concern however; over whatever little corruption there may be that exist.