So predictable…

…with PNC Speaker
Over the past few weeks, your Eyewitness has been railing at the propensity of the PNC Government and their lackeys for mimicking the FORM of the Parliamentary governance model we adopted from the British, but deliberately ignoring its SUBSTANCE. So, as we mentioned yesterday, the Speaker of the National Assembly, while taking pains to remind MPs of their CONDUCT in the House, has dawdled in answering the PPP’s petition on whether the PM can sit in the House when performing the duties of President.
We predicted he wouldn’t do anything that would go against Nagamootoo’s puerile boast that the PPP couldn’t “unelect” him. Of course they couldn’t “unelect” him, but that wasn’t the issue, was it? The issue was the President could APPOINT him to act in his stead when he is out of the jurisdiction, and then someone else would be appointed as Prime Minister. Nagamootoo, thereafter as President, couldn’t sit in Parliament for the duration of his appointment.
Unlike what they do so often in the Indian cinema, Nagamootoo couldn’t very well be allowed to play a “double role”: to pass legislation in the House and then turn around and approve the same legislation into law as President!!
But back to the Speaker. Realising that the eye of the world – such as now notices us because of the expected oil bonanza – was on him, he dillied and dallied while twiddling his thumbs until the Budget Debate was over, and THEN declared he’ll pass on the hot potato to the Standing Committee for Constitutional Reform (SCCR)!! With Nagamootoo allowed to vote for the spending, the matter was now moot!!
But yes, this was the same Committee Nagamootoo complained had fallen into a slumber and hadn’t acted upon the Constitutional changes proposed by the Nigel Hughes Steering Committee for Constitutional Reform (SCCR) a year ago.
But in passing the potato, the Speaker is only emphasising his pro-PNC reflexes. Fact of the matter is, the SCCR – as its name explicitly announces — is mandated to suggest constitutional REFORM, and NOT constitutional interpretation.
Article 119A of the Constitution declared, “The National Assembly shall appoint a Standing Committee for Constitutional Reform for the purpose of continually reviewing the effectiveness of the working of the Constitution and making periodic reports thereon to the National Assembly, with proposals for reform as necessary.”
But the Speaker isn’t only passing the potato, he knows that with the AG as Chair of the SCCR, the issue will never see the light of day. Just as the SCCR’s proposals were deep-sixed!
The PPP, of course, has no choice but to take the matter to the Courts. But the (dirty) deed has already been done.

…on prisons
The Public Security Minister has been adamantly insisting that crime rates (the “serious ones”) have been plunging. For the last three years, figures have been regularly trotted out to support his assertion. But “this time na lang time”, and the general public are now “wised up” through the aegis of the communications revolution. They know how statistics can be manipulated to support any assertion of politicians. Like the one about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, for instance!!
They trust what they experience, and no amount of fake statistics will convince them that crime isn’t a clear and present danger to their even HOPING to enjoy the “good life”. There is the recent announcement by the World Bank that our crime rates – including murder – are higher than the world’s average.
But the biggest evidence came from the mouth of the Public Security Minister himself. He announced that in addition to spending billions to expand Camp Street, Mazaruni and Lusignan prisons, the Government will now import modular, steel, portable jail cells.
If crime’s plunging, why this massive prison expansion? Political prisoners?

…but unfortunate
Your Eyewitness is sorry to learn the GECOM Chair is hospitalised. This newspaper claims he’s suffering from prostate cancer; but that’s unlikely, since, at his age, he would’ve been taking regular checkups.
Most likely it’s fatigue from his high-pressure appointment.