Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment and You!

Weekend Mirror - - GETTING IT RIGHT -

is a very strong link be­tween oc­cur­rences of the past, cur­rent and likely fu­ture per­for­mances, given the be­hav­iors or de­ci­sions of those in con­trol of Gov­ern­ment and the foun­da­tional pa­ram­e­ters in­form­ing the ex­ist­ing frame­work.

Gov­er­nance in Guyana, in the near term, will be no dif­fer­ent from the ob­serv­able trends as­so­ci­ated with the Burn­ham PNC era, which mea­sur­ably, project a close to ac­cu­rate in­di­ca­tor of things to come.

It is also a use­ful con­clu­sion that so­cial be­hav­iors are con­di­tioned and in­flu­enced by pub­lic pol­icy, and that the im­pact­ing ef­fects on the sur­face are of­ten dif­fi­cult to mea­sure by the com­mon ci­ti­zen, ab­stract of most sig­nif­i­cant and contin­gent fac­tors. ac­cept­able sci­en­tific re­search ap­proaches to these mea­sure­ments, will pro­nounce among oth­ers; on the re­la­tion­ship of trends, prob­a­bil­ity and the strength of cor­re­la­tion be­tween oc­cur­rences (ro­bust­ness), and the par­tic­u­lars of fore­casted fu­ture hap­pen­ings.

The lo­cal sce­nario re­quires no so­phis­ti­cated re­search!

The trends re­ver­ber­at­ing across all com­mu­ni­ties clearly in­di­cate to the com­mon ci­ti­zen, that we are swim­ming against the tides of our con­sti­tu­tional free­doms.

We are be­ing pushed off the precipice of achieved heights of a de­vel­op­ment path ad­mired glob­ally, back into the dark dol­drums of devastation, which char­ac­ter­ized the PNC era of Gov­er­nance.

These facts will be high­lighted and il­lus­trated us­ing a few of the many re­cent in­di­ca­tors.

Firstly, the short term eco­nomic plan for our coun­try from a gov­ern­ment level is pro­jected through the Na­tional Bud­gets.

It is not co­in­ci­den­tal that all three of the bud­gets pro­duced by the APNU/AFC Coali­tion to date have re­ported sig­nif­i­cant and ex­tremely wor­ry­ing down­turns in the most pro­duc­tive sec­tors.

It is not an anom­aly and the ad­mis­sion of the Gov­ern­ments’ move to re­verse a work­ing Eco­nomic Model, was made in the 2017 bud­get pre­sen­ta­tion.

Fi­nance Min­is­ter Win­ston Jor­don in his pre­sen­ta­tion stated that other than Gold sec­tor:

“The econ­omy felt the drag of dis­mal out­put per­for­mances in sugar, rice, forestry, and con­struc­tion, in­clud­ing hous­ing.

While de­tailed analy­ses of these de­vel­op­ments will be pre­sented shortly, suf­fice it to say at this stage that, as ex­plained by His Ex­cel­lency Pres­i­dent Granger, in a re­cent Pub­lic In­ter­est pro­gramme, the cur­rent de­vel­op­ment model can no longer be pur­sued.”(Sec­tion 1.4, Bud­get 2017)

In his fee­ble at­tempt to jus­tify the above state­ment in the fol­low­ing para­graph, he con­tra­dic­to­rily states:

“We in­her­ited an econ­omy that was built es­sen­tially on the prover­bial sand and run­ning on the prover­bial fumes. It is an econ­omy which, in spite of pos­i­tive growth per­for­mances, av­er­ag­ing 4.5 per­cent in the pe­riod 2010-2014, re­mains un­di­ver­si­fied and in­ca­pable of with­stand­ing even small shocks.”

It is a known fact that un­der the PPP/C Gov­ern­ment, Guyana achieved pos­i­tive growth rates of over 4% an­nu­ally, over the past 10 years. We were the envy of the re­gion and stood strong to re­flect high pos­i­tive growth, al­beit, the 2008-2009 global eco­nomic down­turn.

The fact is that our econ­omy was able to with­stand the shocks while most of the Caribbean and other coun­tries glob­ally recorded neg­a­tive growth lev­els. Our econ­omy was con­sis­tent and we were poised to broaden and for­tify the struc­tures to­wards the achieve­ment of re­ally sig­nif­i­cant growth lev­els. Omit­ting to ad­mit these facts, how­ever, is sin­is­ter and may not be of sig­nif­i­cant con­se­quence to many in the con­text.

What is sig­nif­i­cant, how­ever, is that the tried and tested ap­proach is be­ing de­frag­mented, as this in­com­pe­tent gov­ern­ment con­tin­ues to de­rail the en­abling en­vi­ron­ment pil­lars sup­port­ing the econ­omy. It is sad that in­stead of strength­en­ing the tried and tested, the com­edy of er­rors con­tin­ues to be per­pet­u­ated by re­plac­ing the ap­proach with a co­coon of bur­den­some and un­sus­tain­able web of taxes. A for­mula un­known and un­tried that will ren­der all our in­dus­tries un­com­pet­i­tive.

Granger wish­fully makes shal­low un­sup­ported com­ments and ex­pects things to fall into place.

He knows no bet­ter and mere talk is cheap!

The degra­da­tion is clear and it re­flects in the sec­tor per­for­mances.

The sit­u­a­tion is akin to mak­ing the Guyanese econ­omy an ex­per­i­men­tal lab­o­ra­tory for work­ing on a new cure, or en­slave­ment, which could only be achieved in a monar­chi­cal or dic­ta­to­rial sys­tem.

We in Guyana are nei­ther rats or guinea pigs to be ex­per­i­mented upon, nor slaves!

Se­condly, from the fore­go­ing, con­trol gov­er­nance un­der the cir­cum­stances men­tioned will be ve­he­mently re­jected. It, there­fore, seems that at­tempts to re­peat the dark rig­ging days of the PNC are very much on the fore­casts for fu­ture elec­tions in Guyana.

The ap­proach of t he APNU/AFC sig­nals are omi­nous in this re­spect, if Pres­i­dent Granger is uni­lat­er­ally al­lowed to se­lect the Chair­man of the Guyana Elec­tion Com­mis­sion, with­out the ac­cep­tance of any lists submitted by the Leader of the Op­po­si­tion.

Al­though the gen­eral feed­back sug­gests that many citizens have al­ready pre­pared to demon­strate their strong­est ob­jec­tions, it is im­por­tant that all and sundry con­sider the most civil ap­proaches to let the gov­ern­ment be­come aware of their in­tol­er­ance to the un­ac­cept­able ban­ter and sin­is­ter de­ci­sions. Ev­ery av­enue must be pur­sued, in­clud­ing up­dat­ing the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, be­cause the coun­try must be gov­ern­able in the long term.

It is of note that the for­mer Pres­i­dent and Op­po­si­tion Leader, now Gen­eral Sec­re­tary of the Peo­ple’s Pro­gres­sive Party, the Honourable Dr. Bhar­rat Jagdeo, along with sev­eral em­i­nent Guyanese, re­cently shared a sec­ond pro-ac­tive con­sul­ta­tive ses­sion on the is­sue. The mas­sive crowd which turned up at the PPP’s Pub­lic Fo­rum at the Umana Yana, in­di­cates the se­ri­ous­ness and gen­uine con­cern of citizens about the se­lec­tion of the next GE­COM Chair­man.

The Pub­lic Fo­rum and the dis­cus­sions that fol­lowed were in­deed a rev­e­la­tion. The ac­tiv­ity was chaired by vet­eran mem­ber of Par­lia­ment Man­zoor Nadir, while strong and pow­er­ful pre­sen­ta­tions were made by Mr. Ron­ald Burch Smith (At­tor­ney-at-Law/ For­mer Pres­i­dent of the Guyana Bar As­so­ci­a­tion), Mr. Nigel Hinds (Fi­nan­cial An­a­lyst), Mr. Mo­habir Anil Nand­lall MP, (At­tor­ney at Law/ For­mer Min­is­ter of Le­gal Af­fairs and At­tor­ney Gen­eral), while the main pre­sen­ter was Dr. Bhar­rat Jagdeo (PPP Gen­eral Sec­re­tary/Leader of the Op­po­si­tion/For­mer Pres­i­dent).

Dr Jagdeo warned that Guyanese must be aware that this Ad­min­is­tra­tion could be­come “more re­pres­sive and re­turn to their old ways” of rig­ging elec­tions as seen in the mat­ter of the se­lec­tion of the new GE­COM Chair­man, which has mor­phed into a highly con­tro­ver­sial is­sue.

Guyanese have ex­pressed se­ri­ous con­cerns about our fu­ture and the re­turn to Party paramouncy that was prac­ticed by the Peo­ple’s Na­tional Congress in the 1970’s and 1980’s, along with the bla­tant rig­ging of elec­tions.

We ap­pre­ci­ate the fact that al­though the con­sul­ta­tions does not spec­ify a limit op­tion, those be­ing done by the Op­po­si­tion Leader to­wards the se­lec­tion of the six names, em­braces cross-cut­ting rel­e­vant rep­re­sen­ta­tion of more than half the Guyanese pop­u­la­tion. This is based on the more that than thirty or­gan­i­sa­tions, en­ti­ties and stake­hold­ers, be­fore com­ing up with the list of names that he pre­sented to the Pres­i­dent.

Based on the pre­sen­ta­tions made at the fo­rum, there was con­sen­sus among all pre­sen­ters that the Con­sti­tu­tion, through Ar­ti­cle 161(2) was mis­in­ter­preted by the Pres­i­dent. The call is for the Pres­i­dent to ex­pe­dite the process and name a Chair­man from the list submitted by the Leader of the Op­po­si­tion for GE­COM with­out any fur­ther and un­due de­lay. This is since the ap­point­ment of a Chair­man for the elec­tion body is a crit­i­cal mat­ter that needs to be ad­dressed ur­gently.

GE­COM is presently be­ing man­aged by a ques­tion­able Chief Elec­tions Of­fi­cer, whose ten­ure of re­cent has been plagued by pro­cure­ment im­pro­pri­eties and other scan­dalous prece­dents.

The Com­mis­sion is not meet­ing to ad­ju­di­cate on is­sues and mat­ters in ar­riv­ing at de­ci­sions, thus the Com­mis­sion can­not ap­prove any Cy­cle of Con­tin­u­ous Registrations.

Fur­ther, GE­COM has be­come an em­bar­rass­ment to the Guyanese pub­lic and this na­tion as a whole. Their ad­min­is­tra­tive staff is in­un­dated with many ques­tion­able char­ac­ters, who were ac­cused of be­ing part of the scan­dalous mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tions re­mained on the job.

Those per­sons should have been im­me­di­ately re­moved based on the damn­ing re­port of the Au­di­tor Gen­eral.

But this Gov­ern­ment has no re­gard for the Au­di­tor Gen­eral’s Re­port and con­tin­ues to have in their em­ploy­ment the ques­tion­able char­ac­ters to fur­ther fleece the Elec­tion Body.

Con­clu­sively, the ar­eas ex­am­ined shows only part of the APNU/AFC’s sin­is­ter and clan­des­tine in­tent, which is be­ing demon­strated with­out any mean­ing­ful con­sul­ta­tion, con­sid­er­a­tion or can­dor.

But they defini­tively iden­tify with the ret­ro­gres­sive steps are ob­serv­able in strongly cor­re­lated with the gov­ern­ments’ eco­nomic and so­cial poli­cies. In ev­ery stream of Gov­ern­ment there are con­cerns of mal­func­tion­ing sys­tems and unabated bi­as­ness by the dic­ta­tors. Many are frus­trated and dis­cour­aged and have be­come wary of the dis­crim­i­nat­ing ac­tions of the Coali­tion Gov­ern­ment.

Even as we ex­pe­ri­ence and re­ject the hard­ships im­posed on the pop­u­la­tion and the sur­rep­ti­tious moves by Gov­ern­ment to cre­ate an im­bal­ance at GE­COM, let’s em­ploy a struc­tured ap­proach, which would be suf­fi­ciently as­sertive and serve the bet­ter in­ter­ests of all Guyanese.

For the good of all Guyana, we should and MUST pre­vent any fur­ther rig­ging and en­sure equal ad­van­tage for all par­ties con­cern.

( This Col­umn is pro­duced by Neil Ku­mar along with Mr. S and Mr. A)

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