Gov’t has done poorly, fairly, and some­times, com­mend­ably

Stabroek News - - REGIONAL NEWS -

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

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