Robert Louis Stevenson gave the world the Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde story, which from a more philosophical standpoint, and which readily pops up from online research, can be seen as a result of man’s conflict within his inner nature and how he deals with this dichotomy premised on the soul being paired with both elements of good and evil.
That basically confirms to what is generally accepted, that in each of us there are elements in pairs; good and bad, strengths and weaknesses and other traits that have become to make us who we are as fallible human beings. Circumstances may determine the manifestation of each trait, and the tendency for humans to change, whether voluntary or forcibly, adds a crucial dimension.
While change is inevitable, sometimes it’s driven by the circumstance of convenience, many times for the purpose of self-preservation at the expense of others as seemingly reflected in general politics. A glaring example would be the manner in which the current government now operates as compared to how it boasted it would while in the Opposition; the growing disparity is beyond mindboggling.
One can posit that Brigadier (Rtd) David Granger reached the presidency with much goodwill despite not being as politically experienced as his predecessors. That aside, he and his team made numerous promises during the run-up to the 2015 elections. While such is expected, many voters were convinced and foster belief in some of them.
Foremost was the promised fight he and his government would take to crime. That resonated with many, bolstered by the presence of experienced security operatives, including former Heads of the Army and the Police. There appeared little or no reason to doubt aided by the fact that Mr Granger, a Brigadier, was part of the leadership of the Guyana Defence Force.
A good life; lower VAT and the Berbice Bridge tolls; pledging to weed out corruption, nepotism and cronyism; to uphold the rule of law; for accountability and transparency in governance and a government for the people, were some other promises by Mr Granger and his team that voters were drawn to. Fast-forwarding to four years later, barring and prior to his illness, he seemed completely disconnected from governance and the people.
After taking the oath of office, he named the largest Cabinet in recent history here, raising concerns over excessiveness which necessitates more financial resources as against what can be made available for social and infrastructural development. He was not bashful in his preference for former Army officials to be placed in strategic positions in Government and appointed a family member as a Minister while after he would have accused the previous Government of nepotism.
A senior member of his Cabinet boasted of a preference to hire persons affiliated to the party she heads. Loyal politicians have been appointed to head branches of the State media after accusing the previous government of politicising same. Cronyism is reportedly now rife within his government. He avoided engaging the press and, similarly, is not conspicuous within communities.
Under his watch, numerous allegations of corruption have been and continue to be levelled against some of his Ministers. The infamous Sussex Street Drug Bond, sole-sourcing of pharmaceuticals, the Durban Park construction, the Demerara Harbour Bridge feasibility study, the CJIA expansion, contracts awarded to friends and family members of officials, conflict of interest through ownership of companies by some officials and who received Government contracts, are just a few areas where corruption was alleged.
With little or no action taken, condoning becomes an unavoidable interpretation. Crime is now rampant as confidence has been eroded in his government’s ability to ensure the safety of Guyanese and allegations of a burgeoning dictatorship have surfaced. With all the promises to ease economic burdens and the provision of a good life, the cost of living has now skyrocketed and citizens are reeling from the numerous new taxes implemented under his tenure. The economy has slowed as some businesses and industries closed causing thousands to be jobless.
Ironically, Government spending on itself has vastly increased through alleged extravagance at the expense of the citizenry. Within the very short period of four years, things have drastically changed from what it actually was under the previous Administration and what he, Mr Granger, promised. That change has not been for the betterment of the people despite his campaign slogan of “It’s Time” (to change).
To date, he is yet to fully address those issues despite the concerns raised in the public domain. From what is now evident, there appear two manifestations of Mr Granger and his government reminiscent of the Jekyll and Hyde scenario: one which may have intended well and one that inflicted economic hardships, seemingly oblivious of people’s plight.
While all will at times grapple with duality, it may not be an option for him and his government given the impact on people and country. Sometimes, it becomes extremely difficult to assess which characteristic actually manifests in a person in the present; Jekyll or Hyde in the context of duality and not necessarily good and evil. It begs the question: has the one now evident – Mr Hyde – now taken over permanently?