Frustrated at its messiness and sloth, Winston Churchill once remarked, “Democracy is the worse form of government – save for all the others!” There’s a lot of truth in his witty remark. So, until we can invent a better way of governing our societies, we just have to do our best to make sure we grease the wheels of democracy.
The essence of democracy, of course, is ‘rule by the people’. And towards this end, we’re exhorted to involve ‘the people’ as much as we can in making decisions that affect them. The premise, of course, being they know – best of all – where the shoe pinches. So democratic governments try to bring their operations as close to the grassroots as they can – without using a grass mower! Their preferred instrument is “local government”.
Here in good, old mudland, there was much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth by the Government when they were in the Opposition that there were no Local Government Elections for over two decades under the PPP. New legislation was crafted and passed to make the system supposedly more responsive to “the people’ – and finally, the blessed event happened! Local Government Elections were held in 2016.
But a funny thing has happened since then – nothing! Ask anyone in the country – whether in NDCs or Towns – as to what’s it like under the new LG regime and they’ll tell you “It’s the same ole, same ole!!” And that’s due to any number of factors but the main one is – as usual – political! The problem is – for the Government – since they allowed political parties to contest the LGE the PPP won most of the NDC’s while the PNC won the big municipalities, including Goergetown, Bartica and New Amsterdam.
So while the Government’s been doling out the big bucks to their municipalities under all kinds of subterfuges like “greening” and “independence bonanzas” – the NDC’s have been starving. They were just given a subvention of million each – far less than the million the PPP had disbursed. The Government hasn’t even shared out the slick brochures they printed to explain all the new powers that have been placed in the hands of the locals. Is it because they figure “knowledge is power”??
For instance, the LG organs can now raise money on their own initiative and get into services like garbage collections – for which they can collect payment. But who’s to provide training and organisational advise. The Opposition? No funds!
Maybe they can lift themselves up by their own bootstraps?
But how to do that when they don’t even have boots?!!
So, after receiving sustained flak from some quarters for rushing to Buxton to hunt for the four hardcore prison escapees – and so stereotyping those poor souls in our historic village – the Joint Services switched their operations to Port Morant over in Berbice. Yup!! You read that right!! The birthplace of the father of the nation – nations can have more than one father, ok?! – Cheddi Jagan!! In fact, the cream of our Army and Police actually scoured Babu Jaan – where Jagan was cremated.
Your Eyewitness is still trying to figure out the logic of this move. And the only explanation that makes sense is they want to show they’re not picking on any one group! After all, surely the Forces couldn’t have concluded the bandits thought they’d blend in in Port Morant, could they?? Maybe Rose Hall Town…but CERTAINLY not Port Morant!
So, with equal opportunity and all that, will our defenders of the realm next conduct a search of Paramakotoi, or Konshen?
Can’t tee off our Indigenous brothers and sisters!!
A hat tip from your Eyewitness to our doughty STEM Robotics team, which took on 160 other countries – including every developed country in the world – and emerged in 10th place.
We really need something to cheer about!