Sunday, December 30, 2018

Will Dominican Government MP's ever learn?

 The recent political earthquake that took place in the National Assembly in Guyana has reshaped the political landscape in the Caribbean. It has brought into sharp focus the lack of commitment and testicular fortitude of Caribbean Members of Parliament towards putting their people first.. It also demonstrated why the lack of unity amongst the members of CARICOM on governance issues continue to be plague and can cause deadly backlashes.

On Friday December 21, 2018, Charrandass Persaud, Member of Parliament for Region 6 in the Guyanese Coalition Government made history when he brought down the David Granger led administration by just saying the word “Yes”. A Motion of No Confidence in the government was tabled by Opposition leader and former President Bharrat Jagdeo and Persaud voted in support of the motion, against his one seat majority government. Persaud declared that he voted his conscience and did not want to be a “yes man” in the coalition government of A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) which took office in May of 2015. He said the closure of the sugar estates by the APNU+AFC that resulted in the lost of over 7000 jobs in his region, the appointment of Noel Holder as minister of agriculture, the lack of proper health care and no job creation were some of his reasons for voting with the Opposition..

You can come to your own conclusions about Charrandass Persaud, but he put his constituents first while bringing doen his own government and putting his life on the line. The government has collapsed and Guyanese are expected to go back to the polls in less that 90 days. Persaud left Guyana the same night and is now in Canada because his life was threatened.

Can you ever imagine that happening in Dominica with this present group of spineless government members? Can you see these cheerleaders in the DLP government awaiting their mini skirts and tights opposing Roosevelt Skerrit on any issue of national importance? Let us take the ROSS issue for example. 30% of Dominica’s GDP was lost when it was announced that Ross University was moving to Barbados. There was no dissenting voice coming from the MP’s where their constituents were directly affected by the exit of this 40 year old homegrown institution. Nothing from Catherine Daniel, Ian Douglas, Reginald Austrie, Roosevelt Skerrit and Roslyn Paul. They all remained moo-moo on Ross Exit, while Skerrit fought with Ross for land and buildings .

 In fact, this year on two occasions in the Parliament of Dominica, Hon. Ian Douglas, the MP for the Portsmouth constituency, where ROSS was located, prevented the debate on the Exit of Ross and the disastrous effects it is having on the economy of the Portsmouth and Dominica by extension. In July, during the 2018/19 budget debate, Douglas interrupted Opposition MP, Hon Danny Lugay several times, when Lugay raised concerns about ROSS leaving. Then  on Friday September 21, 2018, Ian Douglas had the audacity to move a motion to adjourn Parliament sine die before the Opposition Leader’s Motion of No Confidence in the leadership of Roosevelt Skerrit for poorly handling the Ross Issue was debated. This was the behavior of the MP for Portsmouth, Ian Douglas. But I am sure if Persaud send Douglas a bottle of “Skipper Demerara Rum”, he will jump, skip and shout about Ross departure.

Can you imagine a member of Parliament preventing a debate on the economy of his constituency that was brought to its knees by an incompetent leader? Ian forgot about the hundreds of jobs lost, the millions of dollars of investment in financial jeopardy and the contribution of Ross towards health care. Instead Douglas put Skerrit’s inept leadership before his people. What a Shame!!

Ross University will commence official operations in Barbados in a few days and Adtalem Global is already in advanced negotiations with the Mia Mottley government to bring another university(Chamberlain) to Barbados. But in Dominica, everyone in government is about themselves. The people are an afterthought. None of them can challenge Skerrit on the present situation at Picard. Months ago Skerrit said four schools were interested in replacing ROSS and nothing as yet. What a Travesty!! Balls less men and heartless women.

At present, the government has an 11 seat majority and almost 15 years of Skerrit as Prime Minister and not one dissenting voice in the interest of the people, despite all the scandals implicating Skerrit. This will not bring down the government but will show that the constituents are given priority. Also the member will be doing right by the people being represented. The Coalition Government in Guyana was there for just over 3 years with a one seat majority and Persaud brought it down. What the government members in Dominica are afraid of? Did they sold their allegiance to Skerrit? Has Skerrit threatened them with blackmail?

Persaud’s  “Yes” vote also shows the volatility of Caribbean politics. Today you are in government the next day, you are out. I am sure that David Granger learned how karma is a bitch, because of his unprofessional and disrespectful behavior towards members of the Official Parliamentary Opposition of Dominica 

In February of 2017, a United Workers Party (UWP)  delegation headed by Opposition Leader, Hon.Lennox Linton visited Guyana in an effort to meet with CARICOM Leaders who were in Georgetown for the Twenty-eight Intersessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM. The UWP team wanted to brief the Heads on why the party was calling for the resignation of Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit but Granger assisted Skerrit to frustrate and block their efforts. Granger didn't look at the concerns of governance brought by the Official Parliamentary Opposition of a sister Caribbean country. Instead he protected a member of the CARICOM boys club. How do you expect to achieve true Caribbean Unity as enshrined in the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas when a Caribbean leader is blocking genuine concerns in a sister country from reaching CARICOM Heads? To David Granger what goes around comes around. A simple three letter word brought down your government and you are back to square one. Hope you learned your lesson well.

The vote of conscience by Charrandass Persaud has evoked serious political discussions around the Caribbean. Discussions I believe that will call politicians to right order when providing service to country. Being part of the “Yes Man Team” should never be entertained by politicians and constituents a like. Members of Parliament must always put the people's interest first. On the other hand,  the people must challenge their MP’s whenever they fail to execute their mandate.

With calm, Persaud forever changed the political landscape of Guyana and the Caribbean. While in Dominica Ian Douglas and the other cheerleaders in the Skerrit government have their red pom-poms in hands awaiting to do back flips and splits at their master’s command.

Please remember to join MITC for our 2019 New Year’s day expos√© on Rayburn Blackmoore. It is going to be explosive.

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