Munroe’s marginalisation, etcetera
Frankly Speaking...
By A.A Fenty
Stabroek News
November 29, 2002

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Just keeping another promise herein today. Last Friday I indicated my displeasure with the softness I see displayed by this PPP/C government we have, as well as my incomplete assessment of its shortcomings, indifference and fears.

I had also long wanted - and promised - to do my enquiry into Alan Munroe’s leadership of the large Region Four of Guyana - the Administrative Region Demerara-Mahaica, as defined by his political leader Desmond Hoyte’s planner, Mr T.A. Earle. Reason is - for months I have wondered what was/is Munroe’s reaction, or rationalisation, with regard to the nation-wrecking banditry located in the coastal communities of his constituency. Does he exercise any influence or control in those communities his party claims? Did he visit the safe-haven or victim villages to exercise “leadership”? Or does he blame everything on “the Government” ultimately? Apparently he does, but I’ll return to this aspect at the end of this piece.

My namesake and erstwhile comrade Alan beat me to it this past Sunday. Playing with the remote, I came upon the Nation Watch programme aired on the pro-PNC NBTV facility. Regional Chairman Alan, was being questioned and led, on his birth anniversary, by the dapper, self-proclaimed Desmond Hoyte look-alike, Hamley Case. As I summarise Alan’s responses, claims and allegations on that show, I know full well that I’ll be affording him much welcome publicity through these well read columns.

I do so consciously because, though I’ll never succumb to PNC propaganda - being familiar with it - I do take time out often, to ask these questions: after a decade in Government - and/or during those ten years - does or did this PPP/Civic administration purposely discriminate against Afro-Guyanese? As is claimed by the PNC operatives? Does the government wilfully “marginalise” the community at Bare Root? The whole of Region 4? Region 10? Does this Government really dislike the GPSU? “Public Servants”? Why would it want to abandon the bauxite industry and Linden? Why-Why-Why? Why would it wage a “life-long” racial campaign after its 28 years in political exile? Where would that place it?

[Incidentally, when the opposition claims that the Government discriminates against “poor black villages or favours the sugar industry, does it not also lambaste the Civic for mismanaging sugar and wrecking rice? What is it to be? Discrimination? Incompetence? Or both? And could you blame Cheddi Jagan for his supporters’ behaviours? This late great leader who was relentless in his one-man pre-1953 legislative campaign on behalf of all of Guiana’s poor, who was friend of Critchlow, Robeson, Nkrumah and Nyerere.] But back to chairman Alan.

The PNC Executive Committee/Region Chairman claims, for example, (a) Region 4’s capital budget has been chopped and trimmed inexplicably; works much needed have had to be deferred; (b) by some strange formula not yet scientifically fashioned, regions two and six get more for their capital works with smaller populations; (c) the Central Government is in effect re-centralising most of the Region’s responsibilities by building roads or health complexes in the Regions/Communities it favours - without courtesy or consultation with the knowledgeable authorities - some health centres are now white elephants; (d) only a few of Region Four’s fifteen Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDC’s) attempt to ignore the RDC - many times to their detriment when financial rectitude is compromised and (e) addressing the whole attitude towards and conceptualisation of the regional system, Munroe accused the government of being incapable of coming to grips with the need for autonomy, respect for the leadership, the staff and the non-supporters who are all needed to make the system work. (He even suggested “a few lectures from Mr Hoyte”, the architect of the whole Regional/Local Government reform in 1980.)

Putting his normal expected PNC biases aside, I couldn’t help but pick up Munroe’s genuine concern to se his region grow. As he listed earlier discrimination in granting contracts, administrative discourtesies and blunders and past anti-RDC allegations that fell flat, I again ached for more co-operation, more professional and functional respect all around. I know of poor-poor “Indian” communities in Region 4. I am aware of the difficulties any government would face in regularising the numerous illegal squatting settlements in that region. Oh for more collaboration. And less politics.

And as I trust that Alan Munroe is squaring with his populace about PPP/C behaviour in the region, I must invite Neil Kumar to be civil and decent as he tells me his side - and whether Dr Benn is not being misled.

And I ask my erstwhile political pal Alan: What could you do about Buxton-Friendship where presumably you could traverse? Despite any claim about the government’s policies and marginalisation causing all this? What do you know of the goings-on in your villages these days? Or of collaboration between bandits and military or certain political types? Know anything that could help, Chairman?

From the Stabroek

Whenever I get (constructively) lazy, I share profound snippets from the Stabroek News - in case readers might have missed them. Just these two today: from a recent editorial on “the rule of law” in Guyana. ‘But there can be other less obvious forms of pressure being exerted on members of the judiciary.

If, for example, lawyers say publicly that a particular decision will indicate whether the judiciary is independent or free from political interference that is an obvious attempt to interfere with the judicial process by frightening or putting pressure on the judge.

If media persons urge crowds to turn up at court for a decision what can that be other than an attempt to pervert the course of justice by putting pressure on the court. What if the decision is unfavourable to the apparent interests of the crowd, will they be requested by those media persons to disperse peacefully and respect the decision?”

And on GAP/WPA MP Sheila Holder meeting Baroness Amos: “She told the British Baroness that it was not a matter of the opposition wanting to get into power by the back-door as the government purports. She said she had told Amos that the issue was about governance and that the masses are frustrated and angry at a system that is unfair to them.”

A wonderful assurance from a small-party MP/activist that the Civic should seek from others.

So long...

1) Like a UN Resolution, my two parties haggle on the right words on concepts regarding the crime situation. Who’s wary of what?

2) Coming soon: Think like a bandit - and this Christmas caper.

3) For the avid boxing fan the 20 rounds this year from Mickey Ward and Arturo Gatti have got to be classics. For those who see no beauty or skill about men beating each other, those two fights could be a good case to stop boxing. What!

‘Til next week!

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