A Coalition in Deep Crisis
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?