Thursday, September 8, 2011

Bribes, free speech, anti-corruption court -AFC antics

On Wednesday August 10 2011 the Alliance For Change through its former Presidential Candidate Raphael Trotman, announced that his party will establish an anti-corruption court in Guyana were it elected to Government at the upcoming polls.

Even more hilarious than its Dick Morris poll prior to the 2006 elections, is their latest revelation of being in contact with foreign experts to establish such a court as they prepare to enter Government.

Surprisingly, this opposition politician who has been a career Attorney-At- Law was quoted by the media as saying he does not need to find proof of corruption to prosecute persons.

Everyone knows that the AFC’s mantra has been to criticize at every opportunity, but what is troubling is as we near the elections period, the promises of this party is getting more extravagant. It is clear that this political outfit has long ago divorced itself from reality in its desperate quest for political power in Guyana.

Surely this is a very dangerous trend as based on these larger than life promises of the AFC; one year in Government would see Guyana being transformed into the land of milk and honey with the problems of the world all around us having absolutely no effect on our nation. Such is the magnitude of the deceptive nature of the individuals in this party.

Now if such a court were to be established, there is a strong likelihood that some of the first individuals to be put on trial may be the party executives themselves.
One local businessman openly came out recently and accused a senior member of the AFC Mr Sasenarine Singh of accepting bribes, and disclosed the nature of their illegal arrangement. The businessman even threatened to make public other related information of which he said he had proof.
But this was quickly stopped when the AFC executive moved to the high court to obtain an injunction barring the businessman from making any further disclosures. So much for the AFC’s stance regarding free-speech, access to information and corruption.

How can we also forget the damning allegations made by one Prakash Persaud against both the AFC’s current Presidential Candidate Khemraj Ramjattan, and his predecessor Raphael Trotman, in an open letter to the High Court pleading for justice in which, he alleges incidences of perjury, fraud and/or embezzlement and unbecoming conduct regarding their involvement in a land dispute.

What lends credence to the allegations is that both the businessman who admitted that he is a PNC supporter, and at one time part of its elections slate and Mr. Persaud, who admitted that the Trotman’s and Ramjattan were close family friends of his, is the bold decision to make such details public.

But it does not end there as only recently PPP Presidential Candidate Mr. Donald Ramotar had cause to disclose that one of the first disagreements the party had with Ramjattan, which eventually led to him leaving the party, was at a meeting himself and Mrs. Janet Jagan had with him, regarding the nature of people he was representing, many of whom were smugglers or suspected smugglers.

According to Ramotar, even the then Head of CUSTOMS Mr. Lambert Marks had complained bitterly to the PPP about the types of cases Ramjattan was taking in his representation of smugglers, something which he thought was not proper. Ramjattan is reported to have indicated that he is a lawyer and he can defend whomever he likes.
Then there is also the allegation of a certain AFC MP involved in a duty free concession scam, and how could one forget accusations leveled against Trotman, Ramjattan and Holder by no other than a fellow senior executive member of the AFC at the time, Mrs. Gaumattie Singh, in September 2006.

Singh had accused the AFC of playing musical chairs with the parliamentary seats it won following the party’s decision to appoint Chantelle Smith as a MP, after it reneged on a promise before the elections that she would be appointed to such a position.

Gaumattie had also disclosed Trotman’s response to her via an email to justify the move in which he stated it was solely ‘to guarantee income for Smith and it was necessary to provide such a benefit for her at the time”. Kickbacks for friends and supporters of the party using taxpayer’s money in the National Assembly. Singh was also quoted in the media as saying that “the reason given by Trotman for Smith’s selection for parliament is one that did not auger well for the country as persons should be chosen as MPs to serve the interest of the nation and not to have a self-serving interest” as in the case of the AFC.

What proves equally self-serving is the party’s position on the Amaila Falls Hydro project, which once again illustrates that the party has specific messages for different audiences.
When Trotman announced plans for the establishment of an ‘Anti-Corruption court’ and indicated that opposition politicians do not need to find proof of corruption, he listed the Amailia Falls project as a case in point.

Here it is Trotman is making such a damning allegation against this project when a senior executive member of his very own party is a business partner in the project with responsibility for public relations.

Even more so, the party was questioned a few weeks ago by the media as to the nature of such a relationship especially since it was making such allegations against the project when no other than the party’s Presidential Candidate Khemraj Ramjattan indicated that he would not deny Hughes a chance to earn income through her association with the project.

So here it is one of the party’s Executive Members has been publicly defending the legitimacy of the project and the contractor involved, and on the other hand when it’s convenient the very same party is insinuating that there is some illegitimacy involved in its smear campaign against the Government.

Such is the two faced nature of the AFC and all Guyanese must be on their guard to expose and dismiss these individuals when they come around with their specific messages for specific communities which only serves to create division within our society for their self serving agenda.

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