Samantha Fedee and Ida Sealy-Adams are victims of political overreach
The instances of the removal of Ms. Samantha Fedee and Mrs. Ida Sealey-Adams from their respective positions in the service of the state are among the more recent examples of the insidious recriminatory practices embedded in the exercise of political power in Guyana. The practice is as crass as it is vulgar. It is characterized by a kind of do dem back theatre that has become a fixture in our political culture. It allows those who wield power at one time or another to play monopoly with people’s lives, pressing their control of the state into service to perpetuate their vindictive ways. The practice is connected, as well, to an obligation by those with the perks of the state machinery in their hands to use and abuse these as they see fit. It positions them, first, to dispossess those who are not pleasing in their sight, on the one hand, and on the other, to reward their own faithful.
Currently, we are witnessing the process of two senior women public servants taking the fall.
No official reason has been given for Mrs. Sealy-Adams’ removal from her position as General Manager of the Guyana Marketing Corporation (GMC). We strongly believe that none exists. There has been no accusation of incompetence or wrongdoing. We challenge the political administration to say otherwise. This newspaper is aware of the GMC’s role, under the leadership of Mrs. Sealy-Adams in aggressively supporting the rise of businesses in the small and medium scale agricultural and agro processing sectors. We have found her to be nothing but diligent in this pursuit…whether in persistently pushing its role in local product promotion through the facility of The Guyana Shop, probing the possibilities for the expansion of overseas markets for local farm produce and agro processed products, staging Farmers’ Markets through which small farmers and agro-processors could broaden the base of the local market for their goods, overseeing various types of training programmes for small business operators and continually expanding the role of the Guyana Shop in incrementally promoting goods produced by interior communities. The Sophia Pack House, which falls under the jurisdiction of the GMC has been constantly available and ready to facilitate the movement of farm exports to markets abroad.
Local agro processers close to the GMC say that Ida Sealey-Adams’ role in working with agro processors to significantly improve local packaging and labeling standards in the sector is among her more noteworthy accomplishments as General Manager of the GMC. This, bearing in mind the fact that packaging and labeling had, hitherto, been the primary stumbling block to the national effort to improve our export market. When, last week, the Ministry of Agricul-ture announced the appointment of Teshwana Lall as General Manager of the GMC it did not even show the decency to dwell on the changed circumstances of her predecessor.
We know less about the work of Permanent Secretary Fedee though we have no reason to believe that her rise through the ranks of the Public Service has not been merited. As in the instance of Mrs. Sealy-Adams we have been afforded no official reason for her removal. Parliamentary Affairs and Governance Minister, Gail Teixeira, while asserting that it is the President’s sole and unchallengeable right to remove a Permanent Secretary from office, makes no mention of whether or not good cause or reason is attached to that prerogative. Frankly, Minister Teixeira’s attempt to ‘explain’ Permanent Secretary Fedee’s removal from her position is one of those ‘pull-the-other-leg’ tall tales that would have been side-splitting had it not been tendered in the process of what is, in fact, the derailment of Ms. Fedee’s public service career.
Both Ms. Fedee and Mrs. Sealy-Adams are victims of that familiar post-elections political liberty customarily usurped by the new office holders. Few other forms of power-driven political indulgence are either more loathsome or more counterproductive. Indeed, the circumstances of these two women who would have made sacrifices to eventually secure respected positions in the state sector are a manifestation of the political cesspool in which we live and which, like in the instances addressed in this editorial, periodically belches forth an unbearable putridity.
The cases of Ms. Fedee and Mrs. Sealey-Adams are but two examples of their kind that have dotted Guyana’s post-independence political landscape. What is, in truth, a downright abhorrent practice continually gives the lie to the litany of high-sounding political pronouncements about a commitment to ‘the democratic process’ and governing in the interest of all the people, mouthed with monotonous regularity by our rulers. Everything has always been about the pre-eminence of the holders of power.
Distressingly, long prior to the March general elections and the eventual outcome the storm clouds had begun to gather. ‘Threats’ of recrimination had begun to float around like balloons at a fairground…so that the eventual outcome of the elections appears to be bringing with it the fulfillment of long-uttered threats. Here are two instances that cut sharply across undertakings given at the hustings about a democratic governance process. These, it turns out, were no more than sanctimonious cant.