A Coali­tion in Deep Cri­sis

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The

Granger/Nag­amootoo Coali­tion is indeed ap­proach­ing cri­sis level with scan­dals and con­fu­sion per­me­at­ing every level of its gov­er­nance ap­pa­ra­tus. The Ad­min­is­tra­tion is fur­ther ham­strung by poor ad­vice of an ob­vi­ously bungling At­tor­ney Gen­eral and Min­is­ter of Le­gal Af­fairs, Basil Williams. And, un­doubt­edly, it is also fac­ing off, es­pe­cially from the be­gin­ning of this year, against more and more and more var­ied or­ga­nized in­ter­est groups of Guyanese. The fer­ment and deep mal­con­tent in the sugar in­dus­try adds sig­nif­i­cantly to the evolv­ing sce­nario. And may indeed be the larger can­vas back­ground against which the mo­saic of other de­tails is be­ing painted to com­plete the full pic­ture of “A Coali­tion in Deep Cri­sis”.

MERG­ING OF OLD AND NEW SCAN­DALS

Sev­eral of the crises gen­er­ated over the past few months have been eclipsed by newer ones, but still sim­ply refuse to dis­ap­pear com­pletely. They raise their heads every now and then as if to re­mind the Coali­tion of the un­re­solved and un­set­tled con­tentious mat­ters. The merg­ing of the ever ex­pand­ing num­ber of “new” scan­dals, with the ever so of­ten reemer­gence of the “old” ones is what leads to the log­i­cal and le­git­i­mate de­duc­tion that the Coali­tion is in cri­sis. Or, in other words, the plethora of scan­dals is too much dis­trac­tion and dis­si­pa­tion of “ad­min­is­tra­tive en­ergy” to al­low for good gov­er­nance.

The dilemma of the Granger/ Nag­amootoo coali­tion is now com­pounded by the emer­gence of new and cred­i­ble ac­tors whose con­tri­bu­tions fur­ther con­vinces us that con­fu­sion and mal-ad­min­is­tra­tion reigns.

The lat­est is the rev­e­la­tions com­ing out of the Com­mis­sion of In­quiry (COI) into the al­leged plot to as­sas­si­nate Pres­i­dent Granger.

Dur­ing the last week at a sit­ting of this COI, the Po­lice Le­gal Ad­viser (PLA), re­tired Jus­tice of Appeal, Claudette Singh, SC, dis­closed that it is her un­der­stand­ing that the al­le­ga­tions are not trea­sonous and on that ground, she ad­vised that in­stead the of­fense of “in­cite­ment to com­mit mur­der” be in­ves­ti­gated. The re­tired Judge fur­ther said: “My ad­vice was I found the ev­i­dence ten­u­ous.” The learned Judge fur­ther con­cluded: “I could not in all hon­esty ad­vise any­body there to be pros­e­cuted,”

PLOT TO AS­SAS­SI­NATE THE PRES­I­DENT

There­fore, any po­lit­i­cal cap­i­tal Pres­i­dent Granger hoped to gar­ner from this high pro­file COI seems al­ready to be dis­si­pat­ing. The fact that the per­son who made this al­le­ga­tion to the Guyana Po­lice Force did so some 21 months after he al­legedly first learned of the “plot” is also note­wor­thy.

But the real and sin­is­ter mo­tive for the in­vok­ing of a COI in the first place be­comes more ap­par­ent with the Pres­i­dent’s di­rec­tive last week to the Po­lice Ser­vice Com­mis­sion (PSC) to halt all sched­uled and al­ready de­cided upon pro­mo­tions of

DIS­POS­SESSED RICE FARM­ERS WIN IN COURT

An­other set­back the Coali­tion suf­fered was the de­ci­sion of the Courts in favour of sev­eral small Re­gion Five rice farm­ers whose land leases had been ar­bi­trar­ily re­voked by Pres­i­dent Granger.

These farm­land leases were sub­se­quently re­dis­tributed to a few known sup­port­ers of the APNU+ AFC Coali­tion. This set­back brings into fo­cus the ob­ser­va­tion I made ear­lier --- “old” scan­dals are col­lid­ing with “new” scan­dals even more fre­quently as the term of the Coali­tion pro­gresses. This is pit­ting the Govern­ment against more and more groups of our pop­u­la­tion and the com­bi­na­tions of the ag­grieved groups in any given week keep chang­ing. The de­duc­tion is log­i­cal --- the APNU+AFC Coali­tion is in a hos­tile “fac­ing off” with nu­mer­ous in­ter­est groups in our wider so­ci­ety be­yond the ex­pected con­fronta­tion with the par­lia­men­tary op­po­si­tion, the PPP/C.

SCHOOL “CLEAN­ERS” PROTEST

The lat­est group to join the ranks of the or­ga­nized ag­grieved is that of the jan­i­to­rial staff of the schools na­tion­wide op­er­ated by the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion. These per­sons -- more pop­u­larly re­ferred to as “clean­ers” -- are ALL poor peo­ple. They are over­whelm­ing ( if not to­tally) sin­gle par­ent moth­ers and grand­moth­ers. By all ap­pear­ances, a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of them are sup­port­ers of APNU+ AFC. This is a group, which, by virtue of its ex­tremely low sta­tus on the eco­nomic lad­der, will have no al­ter­na­tive but to fight back. And the re­cent or­ga­nized peace­ful protest demon­stra­tions staged by them out­side the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion con­firms this.

It is fair to deduct that this group of

POOR GOV­ER­NANCE AT ALL LEV­ELS - THE CITY

As I posited in the last edi­tion of Get­ting It Right, the cri­sis in the Coali­tion gov­er­nance ap­pa­ra­tus is at all lev­els. The re­newed ref­er­ence to MAPM un­der­lined the cor­rect­ness of this de­duc­tion. The re­fusal to al­low a full and com­plete perusal of the con­tract for the in­stal­la­tion and oper­at­ing of the “green mon­sters - the park­ing me­ters - is once again tak­ing cen­ter stage. The se­crecy at the level of the City govern­ment is born out of the cor­rupt man­ner in which the con­tract was ini­ti­ated. The city mayor has from the in­cep­tion placed the con­tract con­tents “un­der wraps”. In other words, a paid elected pub­lic of­fi­cial is deny­ing ac­cess to a con­tract to man­age pub­lic re­sources -- the streets and park­ing spa­ces in the Cap­i­tal.

This par­tic­u­lar scan­dal will def­i­nitely not go away. It will keep reemerg­ing and “min­gling” with the new weekly scan­dals from time to time, as hap­pened in the past week when the Re­port of the “ne­go­ti­at­ing com­mit­tee” for the Park­ing Meet­ing Project was dis­cussed by the M&CC.

The em­bar­rass­ment had been put on the back burner while this “Metered Park­ing Ne­go­ti­a­tion Com­mit­tee” was con­vened by the City Coun­cil in the wake of the pro­tracted peace­ful protests of the MAPM. The dis­cus­sion of its “Re­port” is bound to re­open the simmering scan­dal. The re­prieve from the wrath of the MAPM and city cit­i­zens was only tem­po­rary.

What will next week’s scan­dals be like? Which of the nu­mer­ous simmering scan­dals at the var­i­ous lev­els of APNU + AFC govern­ment will “reemerge” to com­pound the dis­com­fort and pain of the “new” scan­dal?

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