Local Government and You!
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)