Is party paramountcy alive and well?
Stabroek News
May 9, 2002

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Dear Editor,

By a singular act of madness and an utterance that belies his intellect Dr Roger Luncheon, the Chief of the gang of eight, as Joey Jagan would say, has caused discredit to the government.

His act of intervening at the Forestry Commission to label the human resources head, Miss Balram, "stupid" after she did the professional thing of alerting her Chairman as to what properly should be done before payment of any money is made to Mr Cummings, must enrage all right thinking women. And this after being hauled over the coals by the same Dr. Luncheon at the Office of the President a couple of days before. I hope the President was not accessory to this.

What is worse is that at the meeting to close the issue, it was disclosed by Luncheon that the Government's principle of governance at State entities like the Forestry Commission is the principle of democratic centralism. Does Dr. Luncheon know the hatred such a doctrine engenders in the entire society, indicating as it does party paramountcy all over again.

Our country went through a process of consultation for several years and came up with governance principles which include legality, transparency, accountability and participatory democracy.

It is enshrined in the preamble of our revised constitution, and extensively defined in the National Development Strategy, "the blueprint" as our president described it. Have all these principles been submerged to democratic centralism simply because Dr. Luncheon says so?

I am certain that the funding agencies like USAID, Carter Center, CIDA, DFID, IMF and the EU will start raising eyebrows, if not diplomatically requesting explanations. Their taxpayers' monies cannot be used to fortify democratic centralism in Guyana through the various grants and fundings they are usually involved in.

And it has come from the horse's mouth.

I believe Dr Luncheon should give some indication of what he meant when he used that phrase.

Yours faithfully,

Deo C. Narine