FREEDOM House, at Annandale, is the mecca for the prayerful for help every Saturday morning; and they journey from near and far to meet the Attorney-General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall.
Nandlall’s driver said he works 24 x 7, and one wonders when he finds time to rest.
It is mesmerising to witness the AG’s knowledge of national affairs that cuts across every sector, and his photographic memory that recalls pending cases he has worked on and addressed with relevant authorities over a period of time. A seemingly never-ending stream of supplicants for his advice, help and/or intervention pours into the venue, all of whom are confident that they would not be turned away, with justification, because no-one ever is.
Addressing the gathering, Nandlall reflected on the traditions of the PPP/PPP/C, established by Founder-Leader and former President, the late Dr. Cheddi Jagan, a primary one being Cabinet outreaches, made even more popular by past President and current Vice-President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo to take government to all the people of the land, in every community.
He recalled pre-election PPP/C Manifesto promises to maintain that tradition of charting development with a human face; a Cheddi Jagan mantra. During every election campaign, the PPP/C promises that ministers and government functionaries would not merely sit in offices and formulate macro-programmes and policies, but would always avail themselves to the grassroots people, especially the voiceless, helpless and vulnerable. In this regard, the AG reminded his audience that President Irfaan Ali is leading this initiative from the front.
Anil Nandlall has, despite overwhelming duties mandated by his ministerial and parliamentary portfolio, resolutely created an avenue for the citizens of the land to gain personal access to a primary conduit to government, a minister who seems to be knowledgeable of every facet of every administrative sector.
However, he reminded his audience that, even as he spoke, ministers were fanning out countrywide to listen to residents and address their concerns.
And he requested, via telephone, Vice-President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo to facilitate ministers from every sector to make themselves available to the public, on a rotational basis, every Saturday at Freedom House in Georgetown.
He explained that his chosen location was a centralised one, easily accessible, spacious and comfortable. As the morning progressed, it was seen that persons from every divide, every ethnicity, from the far reaches of the country; residents of Kuru Kuru, Berbice, central Georgetown, the Essequibo Islands, of every political and religious persuasion resided their faith and confidence that the AG would solve their problems, to the extent that a pensioner had no qualms about asking him for a taxi fare home.
What was especially heart-warming was his response to PNC-appointed public servants who had lost their jobs, whom he assured would be re-instated because it is not Government’s intention to penalise ordinary public servants, but to reduce the bloat by off-loading those who held sinecure positions, and were engaged in corrupt deals.
He was determined to access help and support to those who genuinely wanted to engage in above-board entrepreneurial activities, and mentioned the non-appearance of a group of aspiring businessmen, led by Aaron Prince, to whom he extended an open invitation to meet with him any Saturday at that venue.
Dr. Cheddi Jagan will never die; not as long as AG Anil Nandlall and other PPP leaders stay true to his commitment to be a Government for all the people of Guyana.