The APNU/AFC Government will go down in history for all the wrong reasons: unprecedented corruption, cronyism and blatant conflict of interest imbroglio, mismanagement, and a plethora of failed promises; but probably the most notable will be its penchant for violating the Supreme Law of the land, our Constitution.
We have seen on two occasions that the Coalition failed:- in literally interpreting the Constitution in relation to the appointment of the GECOM Chairman, and in determining the ‘majority’ as stipulated by Article 106(6); and they claimed that the ‘spirit and intent’ are different from the literal interpretation.
Unfortunately, we are now witnessing an act which, on the surface, seems to obey the letter of the law, but which completely violates the spirit and intent of the law. This is the resignation of the four ministers, which resulted from the ruling of the High Court and which was upheld by the Court of Appeal. These Courts have held that it is unconstitutional for persons swearing allegiance to a foreign state or power to be eligible for election to Parliament. The ministers affected are Joseph Harmon, the Minister of State; Carl Greenidge, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Dominic Gaskin, Minister of Business; and Dr Rupert Roopnaraine, Minister of Public Service.
The resignations and subsequent filling of the ministerial vacancies so created would seem to adhere to the letter of the courts’ ruling, but we have seen that these ministers will continue to function in positions created to give ‘lip effect’ to this ruling. The resignations were described by the Cabinet as ‘politically correct’ and a ‘demonstration for the rule of law’, while the President claimed that ‘adherence to the Constitution is an essential element of democratic governance and maintenance of public trust…I have a duty to ensure that the Government acts in accordance with the Constitution at all times.’
My question is: What would happen to ‘public trust’ when taxpayers come to realisation of the political correctness ensuring that these four ministers will still continue to receive their salaries and perks while their ‘double’ will now be receiving those fat salaries and perks as well?
Instead of four ministers fleecing the Treasury, we now have eight. For instance, we now have Dawn Hastings-Williams as Minister of State and Joseph Harmon is the newly created Director General of the Ministry of the Presidency. Of course the latter continues to ‘chair’ Cabinet, and is also the ‘duplicate’ for President Granger! Why this additional burden on taxpayers? I am sure we will be equally shocked when posts are announced for the remaining three.
We have seen, since this coalition’s assumption of office, that they have no regard for taxpayers’ dollars, other than taxing them to the hilt and then creating duplicitous positions to ensure the ‘good life’ for the ‘boys’ .
The PPP/C Government had 15 ministers, with some, such as Presidential Candidate Irfaan Ali, carrying at least three ministries on their shoulders. But lo and behold! The coalition has nearly doubled the number of ministries. This Government has 27 Ministries, a gigantic increase of 80 per cent! But this is not all, their salaries and benefits increased by between 50 and 100 per cent.
Can you imagine a minister with a greatly decreased workload being paid twice the amount? This is a brutal rape of the Treasury! This shows the ingenuity of the coalition when it comes to reckless spending and cronyism.
In conclusion, President Granger correctly concluded that ‘the ministers are not gone altogether, they are only resigning from the National Assembly’. They will remain to violate the spirit of the law and be an additional burden on our tax dollars!