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Post Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:46 am

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The Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) is the latest organisation to publicly condemn the actions of Health Minister, Dr.  Bheri Ramsaran, who was recently caught on tape verbally abusing human rights activist, Sherlina Nageer.Ramsaran was caught on record threatening to ‘slap and strip,’ Nageer after she confronted him at a public demonstration exercise. The Health Minister had issued a public apology to the woman for his gross indiscretions but was subsequently recorded at another public forum after, describing Nageer as a miscreant who needs psychiatric.Ramsaran’s utterances resulted in numerous calls made by human rights bodies and concerned citizens,Dennis Smith Jr. Jersey, for his removal from public office.Yesterday, GRHA expressed the view that Dr. Ramsaran’s continued presence as Minister of Health and candidate on the PPP/C electoral list, is the direct result of the feeble levels of accountability in Guyana’s electoral and political systems.“Were Bheri Ramsaran facing a constituency-based fight for his seat, the furore he ignited by his abusive language and threats against Ms. Nageer, would have so doomed his chances that a swift resignation would have ensued,” the human rights organisation said in a statement.According to the GHRA, the example of Bheri Ramsaran highlights the real powerlessness of citizens and civic influence in our political system, particularly over MPs selected in their name by party leaderships.The GHRA says that Ramsaran’s survival as a Parliamentarian, much less as a Minister, rests entirely with the leadership of his party.“The only avenue for a voter wishing to signal their rejection of him as a candidate is to reject the entire party list, thereby rendering him a liability to all other candidates on the List,” the body advised.The Non Governmental Organisation, (NGO) further noted that encouraging MPs and candidates into more direct and frequent interfacing with the public, as required by single-seat constituencies, would force them to cultivate the skills so woefully lacking in Mr. Ramsaran.“While expressing that Codes of Conduct can play a useful role in pinpointing what ought to pertain, the codes are not a substitute for a more accountable and fair system, “the GHRA said.As such, the group recommends that “rather than unenforced Codes of Conduct, the only effective avenue for raising the quality of the Guyanese electoral process is to remove the party monopoly over the system and re-establish direct influence of voters over elected officials, an agenda both major parties should have high among their priorities.The GRHA further noted that Dr. Ramsaran might have found useful had he been voter-conscious in his altercation with Ms. Nageer this phrase, “As for those whose wishes are against you owing to friendship for your competitors, gratify them also by the same means as the former, and, if you can get them to believe it, show that you are kindly disposed to the very men who are standing against you.”

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