THE mischievous and inflammatory headline in yesterday’s Kaieteur News - ‘Govt to render opposition one-seat majority useless – Cabinet Secretary’ - is a deliberate
misquote intended to create misunderstanding and inflame opposition supporters, which has become a normal feature in reporting by that newspaper.
Twice within days the opposition collective and their media satellites turned their vitriolic pens and tongues against Cabinet Secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon.
Speaking at his regular post-Cabinet media briefing on Thursday last, Dr. Luncheon said the combined opposition, comprising A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance For Change (AFC), is inviting discord, division and confrontation in seeking to enact bills with its one-seat majority when it knows “very well” that President Donald Ramotar will not assent to them.
The opposition’s resolve to impose their one-seat majority on Parliament has and, because of their uncompromising stance, will continue to present room for much discord, Dr. Luncheon maintained.
But these sentiments by Dr. Luncheon were, according to both Government and impartial observers, deliberately distorted and mischievously misrepresented by the Kaieteur News in its publication yesterday under the banner headline ‘Government will render Opposition one-seat majority useless’.
AFC Chairman Nigel Hughes and Vice Chairman Moses Nagamootoo went on air and threatened the government of “consequences” if the Minister of Home Affairs was not removed within 48 hours. APNU leaders endorsed that ultimatum at various fora.
After the deadline had passed with the government correctly not complying with the opposition threats, they began their usual rampage on the streets, beginning at the Magistrates’ Court, using various ploys. One was the contention that the police rank who shot Shaquille Grant at Agricola was riding in the cab of the vehicle. Now they had to have had magical powers to foresee that would have happened so that they could converse en masse at the Magistrates’ Court early in the morning, long before the prisoner was brought to the court.
After the rank had been taken away, they then implemented the second phase of the plan, blocking the main thoroughfare leading in and out of the city on the East Bank during the busiest time of the day, with all the consequential implications. The reward for the rampaging gangs was all the loot they could garner from the persons they robbed at will while holding the police at bay.
That same day, during his weekly press briefing, Dr. Luncheon informed the media that government would not buckle to blackmail from the opposition and, in his usual witty style, quoted Muhammed Ali, stating that government was prepared to “rumble” – a very harmless statement meaning exactly what he had said, that government would withstand opposition ploys of confrontational and destructive politics; of course using constitutionally correct means. This press conference took place long after the mob had demonstrated outside the Magistrate’s Court, and broadcast until after 6:00 p.m., then published in the print media the next day; so no way was this in the public glare before the criminals had held Guyanese citizens going about their lawful business under siege on the East Bank highway.
It now seems that Dr. Luncheon is the next target for the opposition strategy of pillorying government functionaries to divert attention from their own culpability of causing destructive actions through their strategies and inflammatory rhetoric; what former President Bharrat Jagdeo referred to as ‘The Corbin Syndrome’.
The collective opposition has been continually targeting government functionaries and heads of institutions who refuse to cow to their bullyism, and highly supportive is the opposition media cabal which, either for monetary considerations, or to support the political party of their choice, either print or televise many instances of misrepresentations of the truth, or outright lies. During a debate that was televised on NCN, publisher of Kaieteur News, Glenn Lall, admitted that he published whatever was told to him by (opposition) politicians without verifying the facts or veracity.
On that same programme Editor-in-Chief of that very publication, Adam Harris, was forced to admit to Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh that a report that he had published about the minister was inaccurate – in other words a lie; and he was even heard apologising to the minister after being forced into a corner by Dr. Singh.
Another relentless critic of the government was also constrained to confess that most of the defamatory accusations that he made against government functionaries were based on “conjectures” because, according to him, he could not access the information that he sought. Now anyone with a modicum of intelligence knows that if the information (on corruption) was premised on an erroneous presumption that corruption existed when none did not, then in the absence of non-existent facts why should any rational person presume to “conjecture” and erroneously pronounce on the character, intentions, and actions of public individuals, unless their intention was malevolent?