The late US President Franklin D Roosevelt once said that there is nothing to fear but fear itself. Roosevelt was, of course, addressing the common economic and social difficulties that emerged out of the Great Depression in 1930 and was urging Americans to be strong in times of despair. The rest is now history.
In Guyana, we have our own fears which can be aptly labelled as Guyana post-independence depression since this regime wormed itself into power over a year ago. Unlike Roosevelt, there is no sound vision to put the people’s mind at ease. Within one year, the once prosperous Berbice, for example, has become the most woe-begotten county in Guyana by a gang of despots and their loyal minions. These individuals have inflicted a blot on rural happiness by using their machete-wielding political mentality to cut the lifeline of agriculture that once fed Guyana and the wider Caribbean.
To recall, when the coalition regime was the opposition, it used a scissors to the budget. Now, it is using a chainsaw to the budget, especially in its non-supporting base. Undoubtedly and unfortunately, witch-hunting has become a norm for this regime.
The consequence is that Berbice and Amerindian communities, for example, have sadly become economic deserts. There is a real fear that the PNC style of dictatorship will return to this country not by creeping steadily through the night but by high-handedness in broad daylight. My hope is that this regime does not continue to pull wool over the eyes of Berbicians and Guyanese; it is already gloomy in Guyana.
Then there are political fears. At one level, the lives of President Granger as well as former President Jagdeo and members of the PPP/C Cabinet have been threatened on social media by Indian fanatics.
At another level, ordinary persons, especially from opposition, are careful as to how they express their feelings and frustrations for fear of retaliation. There seems to be no in between these extremes. You are with the regime or not. You do well or not. You receive decent treatment from the regime or not.
Then there is this media fear. The most extreme recently is the grenade throwing incident at the Kaieteur News, Guyana’s national tabloid. I join everyone else and condemn this cowardly act. But let me ask this: Why would anyone want to attack a newspaper known for sensational and scandalous reporting? Trouble is, the average Guyanese is not good at separating propaganda from responsible journalism. Take a look at Guyana’s educational system if you do not believe me. It has hit rock bottom, the worst in the English-speaking Caribbean by any measurement.
There is a larger problem here, folks. Our Ministers are responsible for fears sweeping across Guyana and the maddeningly slow progress. I strongly believe that many Ministers were brought into the mantle of leadership without a clear understanding of the basic concepts of leadership, accountability and transparency. Some of them do not understand or refuse to understand what a conflict of interest is. I am not going to insult the Ministers. But I question their knowledge of Guyana’s constitution. I also question the ability of the lawyers in the current regime to pass the Bar examination in the United States.
For the unaware, the Bar Examination is a test intended to determine whether a person is qualified to practice law in a given jurisdiction. I admire my lawyer Mirza Sahadat, my former classmate, and former Judge in Berbice, for passing the Bar exam. He is a rarity in Guyana.
The Ministers’ only credential they have to occupy the political positions they serve is party loyalty and affiliation. Many are simply intellectually lazy. President Granger said lazy man work would receive lazy man pay. I say lazy Ministers must receive lazy salary. I know that the latter will not happen but the President must be reminded that there ought to be a uniform approach towards all public servants including his Cabinet and himself.
I am guided by belief that government must deliver or step down. Government should not only make promises but also produce in forms of progress and development during most difficult circumstances. The current regime seems to be locked in the mode of promises while problems have surfaced in the month of June such as corruption and controversy within the Georgetown City Council, which has questioned the entire purpose of the local elections.
But if we have to look for some model to address our problems, a peek into what Roosevelt said nearly three quarters of century ago may be worthwhile rather than running/flying to various countries.
It is laughable to read that the Mayor of Georgetown and her clique went to Mexico to learn how to set up parking meters in the city. This act has revealed ineptitude rather than vision. ([email protected]).