A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) expresses astonishment at the decision of Mr. Raphael Trotman, Speaker of the National Assembly, to allow the Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Clement Rohee, to address the National Assembly on matters of public security at its Sitting on Thursday 7th February 2013.
The Speaker rejected objections by the Leader of the Opposition, Brigadier David Granger, MP, and the Shadow Minister of Legal Affairs, Mr. Basil Williams, MP, and permitted the Minister to make a statement on so-called reforms that his Ministry has proposed. The Speaker also refused to hear the Deputy Speaker on the issue.
Opposition speakers argued, on a point of order, that Mr. Rohee should not be permitted to speak on the grounds that over the past six months a Resolution of the National Assembly had been passed to that effect; that the Speaker himself had ruled to give further effect to that Resolution; that the matter had been referred to the Committee of Privilege and that it had also been the subject of a Motion in the High Court brought by the Attorney General, Mr. Anil Nandlall.
APNU had demanded that the Capita-Symonds Report – which was handed over to Mr. Rohee nearly two years ago, in February-March 2011, and now forms the basis of the new ‘plan’ – be laid before the National Assembly. APNU had also demanded that the Report should be published in the media so that the public could read its contents and assess its relevance to crime and the improvement of the Guyana Police Force today.
The Speaker, despite the government’s refusal to present the ‘plan’ to the National Assembly, allowed Mr. Rohee to speak. The Minister attempted to explain that, since his announcement in December 2012, the strategic plan had been welcomed by the Private Sector Commission (PSC), the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG), the mining community, and the diplomatic community. He did not admit, however, that these organisations had not seen the plan which he said they had welcomed.
The Partnership had accused Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Clement Rohee of deliberately avoiding references, in his 31st December 2012 Press Conference, to the high rate of armed robberies, contraband-smuggling, gun-running, money-laundering, narcotics-trafficking, people-trafficking, piracy and banditry which continues to plague the country. Mr. Rohee’s so-called ‘plan’ failed to provide assurances that human safety will be enhanced and that the performance of the Guyana Police Force will be improved.
A Partnership for National Unity iterates its support for the implementation of a serious security reform programme that can enhance human safety. The Partnership will not comment on the alleged contents of the Capita-Symonds report until it has received and studied it.
The Partnership iterates its resolve to maintain its opposition to Mr. Rohee being permitted to address the National Assembly as long as he purports to perform the functions of Minister of Home Affairs.