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Copyright ©2014 Parliament of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana.

Death and Death by Violent Means

Hits: 3235 | Published Date: 30 Jul, 2012
| Speech delivered at: 26th Sitting- Tenth Parliament
| Speech Delivered by : Hon. James Bond, MP

Mr. Bond: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I first rise to support the motion standing in the name of the Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Majority, Brigadier (Ret’d) David Granger, which calls for inter alia, a condemnation of the killings of Wednesday 18th of July and to extend sincerest condolences to the family of the decease and same to the injured.
In the following resolve clause it asks this National Assembly to censored and express no-confidence in the Minister of Home Affairs, the Hon. Clement Rohee, M.P.    [Mr. Harmon: James.]        Well I would not use James I do not want to contaminate my name. It is not only regrettable that we are here today, this evening, when we have seen where aggression has led us. Aggression not by a criminal band of men roaming the country preying on the innocent, we see aggression by the police.
On December 6th there was a similar peaceful protest. Persons walking two by two, pleading with the police, saying this is all peaceful. The police opened fire and myself and others were shot. I was protesting right outside the windows of the Hon. Minister on Brickdam with placards. Yet, still, on Wednesday 18th of July, we not only had a repeat, but we had something much worst, something that we could not even believe that it had happened.
What is palpably clear is that you have three dead persons all shot through the regions of the heart, that is clear. What I find and what I think this side of the House finds repulsive and we cannot condone, is that there are attempts by Members from the other side to offer justifications; to offer excuses for the loss of life. What the Members of the other side are not realising is that when you offer these excuses for incompetence and dereliction of duty, you take away from the condolences you offered previously and that is hurting. What you are actually doing is exacerbating the hurt caused initially, because the families and deceased, they feel that their intelligence is now being disrespected. You cannot come and say I am sorry and then you are going to say, “Buddy, but it is your fault you know”. It makes absolutely no sense.
I have noted three points that the Hon. Member, Gail Teixeira, mentioned. She mentioned first and foremost, a crime wave in which my cousin Dexter Barry, a 20 year old, National Hockey Player was shot through the back of his head by an A-K47 while he was shielding his girlfriend. That was done by a bandit, a criminal lot. There is no way that the Hon. Member, Gail Teixeira, can make a comparison to what happened at Linden, again, to do such is disrespecting the intelligence of the deceased and their family members. You cannot equate an act of aggression by a law enforcement officer with that of an individual – forget a bandit - a private individual. Because, we hold the Guyana Police Force in such esteem, we hold them in such regard that when we walk down the road we are supposed to feel some sense of security for not only our property, but our lives and our families. The woman said it is not easy seeing a police officer pointing guns at you; it is not an easy sight.
The people of Linden have come to a place where Guyanese should now be awaken and accept no excuse; accept no cover-up of what transpired on Wednesday 18th. When we asked for a vote of no-confidence against Minister Rohee, that is just what it is. I personally have no confidence in Minister Rohee as a Guyanese citizen and I know I am not the only Guyanese. The only people who would vote for Minister Rohee are those sitting on the other side. No Lindener would express any confidence in Minister Rohee. No person in Region No. 10 would express any confidence in Minister Rohee and for that simple reason that the people of Linden have no confidence in him he should do the honourable thing and resign.
Guyana is not a country where these things are to be viewed in isolation, where we can say, “Ah this affects Tom alone and does not affect Jane.” The protest have shown that, that when Region 10 put on the strangle hold, Region Nos. 7, 8 and 9 started to choke; started to suffocate. So what this says is that the people in Region Nos. 7, 8 and 9 have a problem with Minister Rohee too, because now their livelihoods are now being directly affected by his actions and his views and how people view him. That is the rationale. I get calls, I know Minister Persaud is getting calls, but I am sure he can say this, that they are getting calls to say: “Why yall got that man still there?” They are concerned because they are saying and I will also say this; there are miners who see with Lindeners, they understand what they are going through and they are willing to sacrifice.
I want to say that the Government, the other side, will suffer no loss with Minister Rohee’s resignation. He is not the jewel in the crown of the PPP. If he were to gracefully exit with his head held low, he would not be missed from the Ministry of Home Affairs. Mr. Speaker, persons on this side has examined the track record of Minister Rohee and it has not been fair reading. I know the Speaker has cautioned Members to stay on track and to stay to the motion, but I believe his track record has a lot to do with this no-confidence motion. Was this an isolated case, you could say, “You know what, we need to pardon the good gentleman.” But this has been a serious of failures. We cannot allow such a man to be responsible for the security of the State. The next thing you will know is that under Minister Rohee’s watch, twelve protesters dead, 50 protesters dead, 100 protesters dead and it will keep going up. We are asking the question, how many more? One is just too many and for this reason I searched high and low to find -because I love being a fair person – reasons to say, “You know what maybe you do not need him to leave,” but he does have to go. [Interruption]      [Ms. Ally: James was here.]         He is no James, his name is Clement. [Interruption]      [Mr. Greenidge: Maybe he is James the worst.]         Maybe he is James-the-less.
You also have to examine how the police force is reacting to his leadership. There have been a lot of comments about leadership and fair leadership on this side, but the leadership in question and under trail, is the leadership of the Hon. Minister. His lack of leadership has resulted in such statements as, “ruffing-up”, that the Brickdam Police Station is now a five star hotel                     [Mr. Ramjattan: He said so.]    Yes he did say so. “Kick-butt...there has not...
Mr. Speaker: I think there is a cartoon called Kick-tusky. Go ahead.
Mr. Bond: There is such a departure from the norm of a seriousness to protect the lives and livelihood of citizens, the ordinary Guyanese that Guyana is at risk, the ordinary Guyanese is at risk, the police force is at risk. Is this the same Minister that rejected the Security Sector Reform Programme, the moneys allotted? Is this the Minister that rejected that under his tenure, that we did not reform or modernise our police force. Is this the said Minister? Well if you have a Minister that does not see it as important to have a modern police force, a police force that we could be proud of, a police force that would not put the cart before the horse, that would talk to the people and interact with the leaders and if the situation escalates to a violent one then take measures. If we do not have a Minister who is unable to see his own failings, he is not fit to be a Minister. If any other Minster so under performs, I have no qualms in saying, you have to go too.
We are not picking on Ministers here. No one is picking on any Minister, we understand the job you do is tough, it is hard, we understand that, but Ministers must also understand that this is a new age, there cannot be an age of incompetence. We know the PPP has a habit of rewarding incompetence; has a habit of rewarding Ministers who abrogate the law - hitting down people, gun-butting people, they are rewarded...   [Mr. Greenidge: We are not talking about Ramkellawan ...]       No, I am not calling any names. The day has come when that has to be put to an end. This House cannot and the words used by the Leader of the Majority David Granger resonate with me, he says, “This House in this Tenth Parliament cannot allow such an act to be done by a Minister and not say anything about it, not do anything about it.” How do we tell the majority of Guyanese who voted for us; the majority of Guyanese whose conscious have been affected by this, how do we tell them that we are comfortable with this Minister in this House. This is their House; this is not the PPP’s House. This is the people’s House and they have a problem with Mr. Rohee in their House.
The Leader of the Majority did not just wake up a morning and decided: “Oh Rohee must go.” The people chanted, “Rohee must go”, so we must honour the wishes of the people.
Now on the vote of no-confidence, I am hearing a lot being said that we cannot bring a motion of no-confidence against a single Minister; we have to do it against the whole House, the whole Government side. Well let me say this, it is inherent in my humble opinion, it is inherent, that if you can send the whole lot home you can send home one. You have the inherent power that if you can send everybody home, you can send home one. We are sending a message to the executive that if you do not act according to our wishes, the wish of the people, we are prepared to go the nine yards. There has to be an end game to this. [Interruption] I know that this Administration is afraid of an election right now, so we are not afraid of an election. Mr. Ramkarran, the former Speaker, has left, they are weak, and so we are not afraid of an election.
Back to the issue at hand; holding on - and I hear the work Jonah being spoken – to Jonah, holding on to the apple that spoiled the whole barrel is not logical and one has to question the motives of an Administration that does not seek to sanction its own, when its own is in error. We have to see an avenue where a Minister recognises that there is some amount of pressure on him and in his own wisdom says, “You know what, let me ease off or ease back. Let me allow an investigation into this. If I am exonerated, I am welcomed back. Let me step back and step aside.” It is pride that is keeping Minister Rohee in his seat. But I am reminded that a pride goes before something and it is not a promotion, it is a fall.
We have to understand that our people are hurting. Not Linden is hurting, not Region 7, or 9 is hurting, that is beside the point. Our people are hurting and we must do something for our people to show them that we are willing to take all steps, do all that is necessary to make sure you are not hurting anymore. Minister Rohee is a source and cause of that hurt. And if your eye offends you, you need to pluck it out. I am no bishop; I am no pastor, my father is.
In conclusion, I wish to express the sentiments of my learned friend and colleague, Hon. Member, Mr. Winston Felix. It is that Minister Clement Rohee should do the honourable thing if he is a James, do the honourable thing if you are a James. Resign and let Guyana get back to healing. Let him resign and let the healing of Guyana begin because if he continues to be that sore in the eyes of the majority of Guyanese, few Guyanese are rationalising this the way Members of the other side are rationalising this, few, I have not met one in this House. We need to put this motion as is; as was submitted on Wednesday 25th, 2.00 p.m. We need to submit this motion as is, without any alterations. We cannot water it down to this. We need to carry a strong message that everyone will see that we are a House that respects lives, respect life, that there is sanctity of life in this country. That is all from me Mr. Speaker, thank you.

Related Member of Parliament

Designation: Legal Affairs
Profession: Attorney at Law, Youth Activist
Speeches delivered:(7) | Motions Laid:(0) | Questions asked:(6)

Related Member of Parliament

Speeches delivered:(7)
Motions Laid:(0)
Questions asked:(6)

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