Much has been written by many on the current elections impasse with de facto President David Granger and his party leaders refusing to accept the reality of defeat with the notable exception of Dominic Gaskin and latterly by Mr CN Sharma, leader of the Justice for All Party, who some observers feel may be trying to avoid any possible sanctions by the USA.
Can I ask through your medium whether Mr Gaskin has resigned as an executive member of the AFC since he is at odds as a matter of principle with other leaders of his party who have either remained silent or buried their heads in the sand vis a vis the truth?
At some time in the near future, this imbroglio must end, but in the meanwhile, all right-thinking Guyanese must remember Gandhi’s famous edict that non-co-operation with evil is our sacred duty and we must all do our part in ensuring that our fledgeling democracy which was hard-won is protected so that it can flourish and take stronger roots in the future.
Editor, I continue to be perplexed at the collective lack of moral courage on the part of our African Guyanese brothers and sisters (notable exception Brother Josh Emanuel), who have largely failed to condemn or disassociate themselves from the PNC rigging cabal which has brought great shame and embarrassment onto Guyana and its people and will cause us to be the subject of ridicule as we deal with people of other countries in the world as a matter of necessity in our day to day lives. Many of this cabal are regular churchgoers and have in the past criticised PPP leaders for being atheistic, but I must say I would prefer to deal with a truthful atheist over a lying/deceitful believer and note here I do not by any means imply that the PPP leaders don’t lie. I hereby call on supporters of APNU to demand that the President behave in an honourable manner and concede without further delay knowing full well that they were fairly and squarely defeated mainly because of their own ineptitude over the last five years and moreover for crooked methods used to stay in Office since the No-Confidence Motion in 2018.
Besides the aforementioned, I hereby make a plea for President-elect Dr Irfaan Ali to do as follows upon assumption of office.
1) Ensure that all constitutional commissions are properly funded and staffed by nonpolitical persons as far as possible and have Parliament approved legislation for the Integrity Commission to be able to sanction errant PUBLIC officials who do not comply with submitting their annual submission of assets. It was observed over the last number of years that this Commission and others seemed to be worse than toothless poodles.
2) The policy for the employment of Permanent Secretaries must be depoliticised with immediate effect and must be a process where we look to attract the best talent in the country to ensure our Ministries are staffed with only the best and brightest and not political hacks. Even though this may be a difficult task because of party pressures, I believe President-elect Ali must do this at the outset for his Government to be seen as progressive and fair.
3) Ministers must be held accountable to the people and taxpayers of this country, hence from the outset, they must prepare formidable work plans taking priorities into account which must be properly reviewed by relevant Cabinet sub-committees and then must be monitored closely by the President on a six-monthly basis to see if the aims and objectives of the various Ministries are being achieved. In cases where Ministers are deemed not to be performing after one year, they should be either reshuffled or replaced. The Guyanese taxpayer has been burdened for too long by various layers of parasitic bureaucracies in the Governmental system producing dysfunctional outcomes and we must receive more “bang for our buck.”
4) Regarding the use of technocrats, I suggest strongly that President-elect Ali set up a high-powered economic/finance advisory committee which should assist to inform his Government’s policies. This Committee should include at least one leading business personality preferably from the retired ranks in order to avoid potential conflicts of interest. The recommendations of this committee should be made public on a periodic basis so that the public can see for themselves what kind of independent advice the Government is getting and what actions it takes or does not take.
5) Ministers must be accessible by the public and any queries or problems raised by members of the public should be documented on the websites of each Ministry with actions taken in response by the relevant Ministry also recorded therein so that Guyanese can verify for themselves whether the Government is working efficiently for the people.
6) President-elect Ali should also consider awarding Chairmanships of some Boards to qualified, upstanding and suitably experienced members of the public in order to show some magnanimity and even to reach out to competent persons perceived to be opposition supporters.
7) Regarding the Oil/Petroleum Ministry, it would be wise for an oversight committee reporting directly to the President be set up including one qualified technocrat like Dr Jan Mangal along with one from the governing party and one other representing opposition parties again with a view of inclusivity and better accountability to optimise the use of oil resources.
8) In connection with constitutional reform, I suggest a referendum on this matter so that the people can be consulted directly on the various clauses requiring 2/3 and particularly to amend the Constitution to reduce the Powers of the President and to impose more accountability on the President to make sure he/she cannot escape culpability in the case of criminal misconduct while in office.
9) Given what has transpired in this election and with 20/20 vision, can our legal eagles advise whether it is possible for future elections that we have a pre-signed document by leaders of various party lists contesting that they will unconditionally accept the outcome of the elections and demit office once a declaration in compliance with the law is made by the Chairperson with the election pursuant to completion of all formalities extant under current law?
Editor the above constitute some recommendations, variants of which have already been adumbrated by learned observers and commentators but I believe an implementation of these and similar will go a long way to appeasing opposition supporters who may feel left out given our “winner takes all” political system.
I close with one of Mahatma Gandhi’s “Seven Sins”- politics without principle, and ask our incumbent leader and indeed all politicians to post this slogan in their offices and to always keep it in their minds.