Ramadhar, apologist in chief
On one of the morning shows last week, political leader of the Congress of the People (COP) Prakash Ramadhar, in trying to disassociate himself from the brewing disquiet over the blatant abuse of this country's highest institutions in what is now known as the Section 34 fiasco, and to hopefully dispel any notion he was in any way involved, admitted that as acting Justice Minister he sent the revised bill forward without re-reading it, the very bill he claims he now believes was modified by others, the blame for which he laid at the feet of the (then) substantive Justice Minister and for which he humbly and profusely apologises.
Now, apology aside for a minute, I want to ask how is that not misbehaviour in public office on the part of the Justice Minister in the first place? If he (Ramadhar) believes what he says he believes, what has he done about it since? Why is it still not the subject of a serious investigation?
Further, how are we to know that he (Ramadhar) was unaware of the alleged modifications? Can this be verified? I find it incredible that an attorney of his ability and reputation could or would make such an amateur mistake and, for the sake of transparency, would rather ask that he (Ramadhar) be included in any investigation to clear his name and remove any doubt that he may have been complicit in the whole affair.
Really, at this level, "oops" simply does not cut it, and despite all of his (Ramadhar's) "mea culpas" to the nation as to the limits of his role, we have to insist on clarification as to what he knew, when he knew it and, more importantly, what he did with what he knew.
If it turns out that he did act as he says he did, then surely his stint as Minister of Legal Affairs ought to be brought to a premature conclusion, as he is obviously either too busy for the post or incompetent and unfit to hold such a delicate and responsible office.
Clearly a pattern with him (the all-too-familiar gaffe first, apology after), no one should forget his staunch defence and support for the appointment of Reshmi Ramnarine as head of one of the country's most delicate security positions, and his subsequent back pedal the following day with an apology and an excuse that he didn't know.
The country is still reeling from the furore over the switching of parties by former COP member and then San Fernando Mayor Marlene Coudray that turned out to be nothing more than a play for positions in an abuse of the people's attention and media time that ended in a job for another member of his clique, Navi Muradali, the current Mayor and I have to ask, why is this being allowed?
Painting himself as apologist-in-chief since the People's Partnership assumed office helps no one, and the people of this country have to begin to wonder if, in him, we are really getting value for our money.
German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer said it best: "Silence in the face of evil is itself evil; God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act."
I put to the good gentleman that he is paid to know, not to guess, and mistakes of judgment at that level could never be little mistakes; if he had one quarter of the integrity he insists he has, he would have done the right and decent thing a long time ago and resigned. Failing to do that, he needs to be fired for incompetence at the very least, to set an example as to what should be the acceptable standards of performance at this level.
Phillip Edward Alexander