Gov’t has done poorly, fairly, and sometimes, commendably
Dear Editor, Three and a half years into the coalition government and the questions, conflicts, and struggles continue. Performance, corruption, and the raging debates about the degree and significance of change proliferate across the political and social spectrum. Another look is taken at government with two questions in mind: has this government delivered or hasn’t it? And if it has, how acceptable is such?
In some areas, government’s performance has been mediocre, at best. Economic affairs lurch forward with the frail tentative steps of a drunk. Though the rhetorical surges of its blood pressure are high, the body temperature is cool. Too cool and too placid; it is apathyinducing. Agriculture lacks the daring spirited incursions into the untried; untested the vast potential of this sector stays. Gold leaks from the sides. While everyone speaks with angelic innocence and pretended ignorance, the metallic riches elude a nation that can use the benefits, returns accrue elsewhere and to others. This is part of what amounts to studied undeclared critical protest; the private sector sticking it to the government: who is boss now? When pillars such as these are weak, the economic house breathes heavily, drags on its own weight. As to that budget, the best that can be said about it: uninspiring, bland to the point of boredom.
Foreign Affairs have settled into a low decibel rhythm. The Americans are here and well-positioned; they declare themselves content. The Chinese are coming: more of them, and with many more projects and deals, and dollars too. These are not of the zero percent variety either in rate or weight or the state of future obligations. Theirs are the scrappy financing terms of pawnbrokers: hard-edged, hardknuckled, hard-hearted. Today is the sweetness of courtship and gifts; tomorrow comes the jarring realities of domestic payback. Public Security has this Dante’s Hell called crime. Guns, mules, men, and money all over. All over, too, are these legacies of a torrid time, the violent detritus of what politics made possible and was celebrated before. Yesterday’s celebrations live on in the many grievances of a poor man’s wake for this government. It has grappled and struggled with a monster of an octopus reaching everywhere (and everyone), including its own.
Government Affairs are severely handicapped by another dirty legacy that gnaws and gores and guts: Fifth columnists. They are all over and under: concealing, undermining, leaking, betraying. A national network of schemers and sellers thrive; their very presence represents in sum the posthumous exercise of political power, an increasingly palpable expression of post-election reach and effect. It hamstrings and bleeds tactically and critically: whether document or development or discussion, the dams of vital confidentiality are breached, administrative energy and ability drained, if not subverted. The David Granger administration has been benevolent in multiple instances and several areas. Treachery and the disputatious has been its rewards. And so, a government grasps at discovering that finely tuned field of functionality, where it can plan and deliver authoritatively and consistently. It is still finding its way.
In race affairs, the national head