Better must come

It is the strangest sight to watch a newly elected government do its damnedest to make sure it will not get re-elected. In the political world, it must be a novel phenomenon but with the Granger Government working assiduously to fail, this is exactly what Guyana is witnessing.

How else to explain the haplessness, ineptitude and bungling, and the absolute deafness to all public criticism? The supersized Cabinet with salaries to match, and the gaggle of advisors and consultants should have been a clue that the intent was to grab as much as they can since they know their time in office is limited.

In that sense, they are rather enjoying themselves. It must be freeing to not worry about sticking to democratic conventions, to not care about fulfilling campaign promises, and to spend with abandon on “sport” and non-priority items.

President David Granger continues with his unilateral decision-making on renaming and refashioning spaces like D’urban Park, and has now set about to remake Carifesta Avenue with a median and rebranding it as the “Avenue of the Caribbean”.

This is next on the Granger road show – literally this time – which is to be readied for commissioning on Caricom Day. What will the President settle his eyes on refashioning next?

Perhaps, we should hold our collective breath and hope that his authoritarian manner is satisfied with rebranding buildings and airports and restyling parks and roadways and will not ever extend to passing down edicts that will truly turn the society and economy on its head and create even more disasters than have already been done with rice and sugar.

Government’s ineptitude at the recent Jubilee celebrations after the year-long hype and hoopla is unforgivable. The bungling of the seating arrangements for the Opposition for the grand flag-raising was further iterated by Junior Minister Nicolette Henry’s inability to issue an apology; a “but” in an apology amounts to a justification for the very reason the apology was intended.

In a letter to the press Ms, Marilyn Trotz roasted the Government for a “cultural extravaganza” which “failed to recognise that Guyana is a multi-ethnic society.” It was, she wrote, “for the most part Afrocentric”. I quote Ms Trotz because coming from me, the observation would be condemned as racist:

I did write to the press two weeks ago to question why only ACDA was featured in a state-funded advertisement for UNESCO’s celebration of World Cultural Diversity. Since no apology is forthcoming from the Social Cohesion Department, it has to be concluded that the exclusion of every other ethnic group in Guyana was fully intended by the Government.

It is obvious that African Guyanese are in favour once again as they had been under the PNC dictatorship. Then, the discrimination was viewed and is still remembered as institutionalised racism.

There are four more years until the next general elections and since Government has lost the 11% Indian vote that gave it its slim victory, the “ethnic arithmetic” will not favour a PNC victory; and given the Coalition Government’s record thus far the electorate will hardly support a cosmetic third party again.

This makes the Granger Government’s self-destructive actions very puzzling unless they are viewed in the context that their haplessness and ineptitude arise, perhaps, from a child-like cluelessness about managing a government. Simply put, they cannot do better because they do not know how.

Perhaps, this is why Granger busies himself with so much refashioning: it makes him appear busy; it distracts; and it shows him as a decision-maker even if the decisions are not the policy ones that are so desperately needed to get a stagnant economy moving.

Still, many are hoping that Government will remain in this holding pattern which will prevent them from doing too much irreversible damage to the society and economy until the next general elections when they can be voted out.

Many more are worried, however, that the ABC meddling which propped up the destructive PNC dictatorship will prevail once again for the sake of US interests in controlling our offshore oil find.

Even more are worried that the PPP has learned nothing from its electoral loss and, with no reforms in sight, will proceed with the same arrogance and highhandedness as before if returned to office.

While we look on with both dismay and amusement at the bumbling tragic-comedy that is the Granger Administration, the future is none too clear.

For 50 years there has been no administration that has delivered clean, honest government so all we have is a hope and a prayer that better must come.