Without disrespect and scandal, gov’t will answer critics – AG

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Days after the government responded to criticisms from several civil society groups on the speed at which it is undertaking national development projects, it has now found itself responding yet again to ricochet reproaches.

Sections of the local press and many of the same civil society groups have been critical of the government’s response which was led by President Dr. Irfaan Ali himself.

On Tuesday, Attorney General Anil Nandlall, SC, said “it appears that there is a belief in some quarters that democracy allows for government to be criticized…but it does not appear that the very democracy also permits the government to respond to those criticisms.”

Nandlall made it clear that although the government had repeatedly said it welcomes criticism, it can never be seen as a one-way street.

“I don’t agree at all that democracy is so blinkered. I don’t believe for one moment that democracy suffers such limitations,” he said during his Tuesday night ‘Issues in the News’ commentary aired on his Facebook page.

The AG said to believe that the government can be the victim of criticism is a self-serving position to adopt.

“We will not be disrespectful. We will not be scandalous…we will not ascribe ulterior and disrespectful motive to the accuser. But trust me if there is basis to attribute a motive, then we have a right to do so,” he added.

The statement by the civil society organisations, some of which have since distanced themselves, pointed to “the bewildering pace and range of official decision-making,” saying this is rendering the government accountable to no one.

“They themselves must function with rectitude…they themselves must operate with accountability and transparency, if they want to mount the horse of transparency and accountability… they will not be taken seriously and their criticisms will remain a hollow ring if they attempt to throw stones while they reside in glass houses,” Nandlall added.

But in an interview last week, the President denied there is no accountability.

The organisations which endorsed the statement from a group called the Policy Forum included the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA), Red Thread and Transparency Institute Guyana Inc. (TIGI). Neither the GHRA nor TIGI has a broad membership while Red Thread has been silent over the years on national issues during the time of APNU+AFC in power.

The name of the National Toshaos Council was also stated but several Amerindian leaders have come out to disassociated themselves from the statement.

The President had said many of the organizations had nothing to say after the No Confidence motion when then President David Granger refused to call elections in the constitutionally mandated three-month period and went on to hold on to the seat of government for 13 months.

Further, the President noted “they had nothing to say, during the five months of impasse where our country’s integrity and credibility was damaged because of what took place.”

Dr Ali said his government is focused on delivering its manifesto promises.

 

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