The reassignment — or moreso the firing — of Dr Rupert Roopnaraine from his post as Minister of Education to the Ministry of the Presidency has revealed what some of us have known all along: the PNC is determined to have utmost power within the foisted coalition, which started in the months leading up to the 2015 General Election. Partnering with other political parties was a tactical move, since the PNC has never won a general election on its own. Arguably, the formation of the coalition turned out to be a fake political marriage designed largely to oust the PPP from power, without a sound plan or programme for the future, other than purporting a 100 days’ manifesto pamphlet which has now been lampooned into Guyana’s history as the rag of political rags.
The nation is waiting for the regime to answer — not to fulfill — at least ten percent of what was said in that manifesto. The nation is witnessing how the PNC broom and branch of Burnham’s paramountcy has stood its ground, and how other political parties in the coalition have danced to its tune and tone. Welcome to the carnival of coalition antics. I was personally confused as to why some within the coalition, so opposed to each other over decades, were suddenly together in bed. I find solace in the thought that some will do strange things to grab power.
The lack of a sound plan on how to move Guyana forward, and a lack of meaningful discussions to reconcile differences among the coalition politicians have haunted this regime to deliver from the first days that it slipped into power. The regime’s primary focus has been to conceal schisms and cracks within itself, to project a positive image of itself through presstitue and propaganda, and to ridicule the opposition. Some columnists and the state media have helped to promote this fallacious and fictitious image with amazing servitude. The consequence is that the opportunity to bring about change in Guyana has sadly been missed by miles, while incompetence has taken centre stage.
The firing of Roopnaraine because of ill-health or otherwise does not surprise me one bit, since the coalition is not a thinking regime. Anyone who has any remote experience with education in Guyana at any level will tell you that the education system has been in dire straits for decades; suffering from skilled migration, inadequate resources, and the mere absence of dedication, determination and application, so needed to transform any educational system. The last place one should look for help is the community college of Guyana, erroneously called the University of Guyana. Roopnaraine is not the source and substance of the litany of problems that have plagued Guyana’s educational system; he is a symptom of it. However, I would like to remind Roopnaraine that silence on his reassignment/firing is not an option. Speak for yourself, sir. The public expects you to speak out and to share what you think happened, at least to those who voted for the WPA. Roopnaraine should at least say something on why the coalition regime chose to dog him on the same day, some 37 years ago, when Dr Walter Rodney was murdered in Guyana, supposedly by the then Forbes Burnham dictatorship.
The move to reassign/fire Roopnaraine seems quite bizarre when considering the following. If he is not well, why would the regime expect him to be well and perform well in another chamber of the Government? May I ask: Is the Ministry of the Presidency, where Roopnaraine will be performing his duties, a political hospice? If Roopnaraine was fired because he has failed, with evidence, to meet mandated expectations, namely to reform the education system, then why in the world would he be replaced by Junior Education Minister Nicolette Henry? Whether Henry’s appointment is interim, intermix or intern, this replacement, with all the prerequisite help, is a major step backwards, since she has proven on many occasions to be glaringly incompetent. Do you remember the seating arrangements for the Golden Jubilee Independence celebration? Do you remember how she conflated and confused Holi and Diwali? I Googled this individual and a blank slate came up. Since when are individuals placed in one of the most necessary and sensitive positions without a convincing CV? She is a decorative decorum intended to please the President while sucking on the taxpayers’ money. She will not deliver. If my children were attending school in Guyana, I would have pulled them out right now and home-schooled them.
The focus on when, who and what should have been consulted before Roopnaraine was fired is a waste of time, since the boat of that argument has left port. What the focus should be on is: why is the regime dishing out unrealistic promises and failing continuously to deliver? Moreover, if the regime’s strategy to solve ineptitude is to reshuffle Ministers, then the entire Cabinet, including the President, should be reshuffled.
Finally, while the seal and seam of the coalition regime have been cracked open, expect much rant and rave about what ought to be done; and above all, expect another Band-Aid approach upon the existing Band-Aid approach to the ongoing crisis in which this nation has found itself. Perhaps the prospects of oil revenues will help to grease the seam and seal of the coalition. ([email protected]).