Home Letters This charade is window dressing for good governance
The role of the Opposition is to question the Government and hold them accountable to the people. A responsible press does very much the same.
But while most journalists adhere to the principles of their noble profession, there are those who are forced to compromise their integrity to protect their jobs from the wrath of a vindictive Government that is determined to deceive the nation.
So the burden is on the shoulders of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), the Opposition, to compare the public pronouncements of Government to its actions, which are often deceptive and superficially attractive in appearance, until they are examined more closely.
In fact, this A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) charade is window dressing for good governance.
The Granger Administration operates at two levels consistent with its duplicitous character. It utters all the right buzzwords about governance for public consumption, but in reality, it practices something very different.
The Government invites the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to work on a Green strategy, but it is destroying the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) by not implementing it. Although the President promised that Guyana would have a 100 per cent renewable power supply by 2025, they are now talking about a 50 megawatt fossil fuel power plant which is something totally different.
They involve the United Nations and the Carter Center on Constitutional Reform, but does everything to delay efforts to reform the Constitution.
A United Nations Advisor, David Robinson, is presently in Guyana, to help the Government fight corruption. This UN Advisor has already drafted an anti-corruption work plan which sets out activities to strengthen Guyana’s anti-corruption regime.
The truth is, this Government is only interested in fighting corruption if it can somehow be traced to a PPP official or former Minister. The Special Organised Crimes Unit (SOCU) has been used as part of the Government’s witch-hunt campaign to harass and intimidate former President Bharrat Jagdeo and members of the PPP, but chooses to ignore the highly controversial and corrupt Pharmaceutical Drug Bond deal. But like my colleague Bishop Edghill wrote in a recent letter, “I caution these experts and international agencies that they must not be used as a ‘fig leaf’ to cover the current cesspool that exists in the bowels of the current Government’s bureaucracy.”
I therefore urge these international bodies to look beyond the witch-hunting exercise that they will be guided towards, and investigate the true source of corruption plaguing the nation, the Government of Guyana. After all, the credibility of the United Nations and the British Government is at stake here.
As a strong advocate for ethnic unity, I was pleased with the establishment of the Social Cohesion Ministry. But how serious could the President have been when he selected a person in the form of Amna Ally to run that Ministry? And although she is no longer there, how could this Government ever achieve social cohesion among our racially and ethnically divided people when:
* The Granger school buses are always too filled to stop for children as they pass through the Indian communities
* When Indo-Guyanese and those Afro-Guyanese who were perceived to be supporters of the PPP/C were either fired or forced to resign after the 2015 elections
* When 1972 Amerindian Community Service Officers were fired because of their association with the PPP
* When the Government removed 6000 solar panels that were purchased for the Hinterland Household Electrification Programme and used instead at the Ministry of the Presidency and State House.
* And when former PPP Ministers and officials are constantly targeted and harassed by SOCU as part of an ongoing witch-hunt campaign against the PPP.
The more I think of the Social Cohesion Ministry, the more I am convinced it was set up as a slush-fund in preparation for the APNU/AFC re-election campaign in 2020, but we’re keeping an eye on this.
There are several documented instances where the President and his Ministers have deliberately and knowingly misinformed the nation that the PPP left the Treasury empty. But the questions remain, how can the Treasury be empty when:
* They gave themselves a 50 per cent salary increase mere weeks after taking office
* When they urge Guyanese to use the Georgetown Public Hospital to avoid paying the 14 per cent VAT imposed on private hospitals, and shamelessly send Ministers to Ireland for medical treatment at taxpayers’ expense
* When they splurge taxpayers money on trips overseas; on private jet charter flights; on 0,000 a month house rental for junior Ministers and .5 million a month to rent a house for a senior Cabinet Minister.
* When they criticise the PPP for spending million on dental work for a former PPP Minister, but spends over million in medical bills on toenail surgery for one of their own.
In our last Budget, the theme was, “The Good Life Beckons.” Yet this Government introduces austerity measures in the same budget that takes away any hope of ordinary Guyanese ever enjoying that “good life”.
The President tells residents at the West Berbice Expo earlier this year that Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice) has established itself as “a bastion of Guyana’s food security”, yet allows MMA to evict 41 cash-crop farmers from the lands they cultivated there and took away their livelihood.
The APNU/AFC propagate that the PPP is a racist party, yet only two of about 60-70 employees working at the Ministry of Legal Affairs are Guyanese of Indian descent. The others were all fired or forced to resign.
This Administration talks about the need for better education, yet there are no jobs for young, highly qualified graduates because job opportunities are only available to retired military personnel.
During the 2015 election campaign, the mantra of the APNU/AFC coalition was all about transparency and accountability. Yet they refuse to publish the contract signed with ExxonMobil, using a non-existent nondisclosure clause to prevent the nation from knowing the truth, and has raised tremendous suspicion that the true motive behind this cloak and dagger arrangement may be one that is riddled with Government corruption.
The PPP was accused of corruption, yet the Health Minister disregarded procurement laws and processes and directed the Board of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) to give a 2 million contract to ANSA McAL for the purchase of drugs at a price much higher than the market value.
This Government speaks with a forked tongue, and simply cannot be trusted.
The Guyana economy is suffering because corruption and incompetence seem to be permeating in every part of this Government. But President Granger seems either unaware or incapable of addressing the failings in his Administration. It is time for this coalition to stop blaming the PPP for everything that goes wrong in Guyana. They are now in Government, they must fix it.
And the witch-hunting of my colleagues in the PPP must stop. Because by 2020, the APNU/AFC would have achieved very little for Guyana and her people, and they would have wasted five long years trying to prove their perception of PPP corruption in the courts at great expense to our taxpayers.
PPP/C Member of