Jul 20, 2017
The Working People’s Alliance has made a daring political gambit. It has cornered the President of Guyana, using his own words.
According to the WPA, it was the President’s position that all of the parties which constitute the coalition government have a presence in the government. The WPA was therefore made to believe that Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine was the WPA presence in the government.
The WPA countered by claiming that Dr. Roopnaraine was never the party’s representative in the government since he was not selected by the party to be that person nor was the party consulted both on his appointment and on his removal.
This obviously was not the President’s problem. It was the WPA which had the problem and which has to resolve its own internal problems concerning just who Dr. Roopnaraine was representing within the government.
The party claims that it had never pressed Dr. Roopnaraine to reveal secrets of the government because as far as they were concerned he was not their representative in the government. Dr. Roopnaraine was not accountable nor was he taking party positions within the government. He was, in other words, a free agent within the government.
That free agent role came to an end yesterday. Reports are surfacing in the media that Dr. Roopnaraine has resigned as a government Minister. The reasons for the resignation are said to be ill-health. The President however has indicated that he has not accepted his resignation but the President cannot technically stop Dr. Roopnaraine from walking away from the government, more so since he was effectively demoted a few weeks ago. Also, it is difficult to see how the President can refuse a resignation on the grounds of ill-health. He has no choice. He has to accept. If someone is ill, you cannot then refuse that person’s resignation, can you?
The President faces a dilemma. He has been cornered by the WPA. If, as is being claimed, every party is represented in the government, the resignation of Dr. Roopnaraine, means that the WPA is no longer represented, acceptance of resignation or not. What this means is that President, if he is to be consistent, has to appoint a WPA representative to the Cabinet. The WPA’s logic would suggest that the President now has to appoint a representative of the government.
The WPA had better be careful it does not fall into its own trap, because while the President may wish to be consistent by appointing someone from the WPA, he does not have to appoint a representative of the party; he can simply appoint someone from the party.
The decks are evenly balanced. It is left to be seen how this peculiar gambit will unfold. APNU obviously wanted to fade the WPA out of the government. It has now found a resurgent WPA which is publicly taking positions on issues, including positions on governance.
The coming days will be interesting. It could see a big row between the President and the WPA. Of course, all of that can be avoided if the President simply appoints someone from the WPA to take Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine’s position if that person obtains representative status from the WPA.