The A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) forced Parliament which represents all the Guyanese people to officially pay tribute to a man the Americans convicted for terrorism, even though more than 50 per cent of the Guyanese people have objections and now the Americans are upset.
The Cheddi Jagan International Airport Corporation rebuked the International Air Transport Association which condemned Government’s action to manually collect additional fees, insisting passengers must pay the Government for the expansion done at the airport, never mind exit taxes have been increased in new taxation twice since 2015. The Telecommunications Minister chastised and legally threatened the Chief Whip of the People’s Progressive Party and newspapers for exposing the fact her Ministry awarded contracts to a company she owns still. The now recently-former Minister with responsibility for Housing chastised people for highlighting the corruption in her Ministry, including awarding of contracts to her husband. APNU/AFC appoints a person as an MP, even though she was fingered for fraud when she was a manager of the National Communications Network, in Berbice. These actions are just one-week’s worth of APNU/AFC disrespect.
There have been many things done by APNU/AFC and their parent political party, the People’s National Congress (PNC), to bring disrepute and shame on Guyana and on Guyana’s Parliament. One such thing happened in Parliament on Friday, April 26, 2019 when APNU/AFC passed a motion to pay tribute and deem Abdul Kadir, a former PNC Member of Parliament, a “great” man. The US had arrested and charged Abdul Kadir for a planned terrorist attack on the John F Kennedy International Airport in 2007, tried him in an American Court, convicted him in 2010 and jailed him for life. He died in an American jail in 2018. At the time of his arrest, neither the PNC (now APNU) nor the AFC objected and until Friday, April 26, 2019, both these parties remained silent. When Kadir died last year in the American jail, none of these political parties or their representatives voiced any concern that the Americans had done Kadir wrong.
We have to assume none of them had any reason to question the legitimacy of the charges against Kadir. Why then go to Parliament after so many years of silence? At a time when terrorism is perhaps at its most heightened presence in the world and at a time when America is itself challenged by terrorism; why would our Parliament choose to honour a man who has been convicted of terrorism by the Americans? Even if APNU/AFC never accepted what the Americans did, why choose now to poke their fingers in the Americans’ eyes? Is this their confession they failed to stand up for their comrade when it mattered? As a political party, they have a right to honour anyone they want, in their name, even if it is the wrong thing to do. But they have no right to dishonour the Guyanese people and, in the process, poke a hole in the common anti-terrorism platform between Guyana and America.
The PPP was not present in Parliament to object because it has argued that Parliament came to an end on December 21, 2018, when the Government fell on the No-confidence Motion (NCM). The courts have become involved because the APNU/AFC have argued that 33 is not more than 32. The PPP has argued that the NCM of December 21, 2018, remains the status quo until such time all access to judicial courts have been exhausted. The CCJ is the exhaustion point for all access to the court system and the CCJ will hear the cases on May 9 and May 10. One would have thought, APNU/AFC would await the end of all court matters to determine whether there should be “business as usual”. Their behaviour did not allow them to await the end of all court matters, which happens to be a few days from now.
Besides legal and ethical arguments for Parliament meeting or not meeting before the CCJ completes its business, was there anything on the Order Paper that could not wait for a few more days? The Order Paper for the 113th sitting of the 11th Parliament (April 26, 2019) showed there were a number of reports tabled for the record and a number of amendment bills. Many of the reports tabled are for old audit reports for State agencies, all of which could have waited. Of the reports tabled, it included the ERC report on GECOM’s hiring practice which has been a public document for more than two months now. Of the amendment bills, many of these were supposed to have been done before or during 2018. The Order Paper confirms there was nothing urgent for APNU/AFC in this parliamentary sitting. Why then force Parliament to meet, with the CCJ challenge hanging over you, just to provoke the Americans?