The GNCPP: A torchbearer for civil society?
-and who is Philip Mozart Thomas?
I’ve been persuaded to participate in introducing to the wider Guyana, a new Non-Government Organisation (NGO).
The Guyana National Council on Public Policy (GNCPP) promises to clothe itself in a national persona, quite fundamental but scholarly and distinctive, which will rigorously promote the participation of civil society in every aspect of national life and development. It also pledges to be the most active civil society leader which evolves, fashions, articulates and manages the real and urgent interests of the national constituency. It is to be the demand side of the political/civil system even as politicians and government are supposed to represent the “Public Service/supply-side of the Sovereign State”.
Noting the historical, consistent failures of the political/governmental system to meet the needs of Guyanese society for decades (by itself), the GNCPP’s Policy Paper and Mission Statement speak of “occupying and utilizing the political space between the individual and government.” This Public Policy Enterprise and Execution will be operationalised by its own membership, its partnership with other local NGO’s, social groups, associations and organizations, which may, among other activities, advocate even political positions on behalf of their members.
Yet another NGO?
Sure folks, those still interested would be pardoned for thinking. “Oh-oh. here comes another, well meaning or ambitious person and group; an NGO looking for space, recognition, even funding; a backdoor, disguised political outfit – or surrogate”.
Frankly Speaking, I myself harboured some of those sentiments as I first sat with the “founder” and one of his associates.
But the sincerity of Dr Philip H. Mozart Thomas kept shining through, even when, initially, I discovered his one-time People’s National Congress (PNC) linkages. More than that alone, an initial study of the GNCPP’s Policy and Programme Documents, soon to be released, and the open, transparent manner of the basic organizational planning combine to impress me that, of now, this grouping will be different, consistent and, hopefully, effectively influential.
So let’s wait and see, even as I allow you just two more peeks into GNCPP’s Planning Documents: “GNCPP’s is a platform for its members, who include all of Guyana’s civil society, wherever they may be, such as educators, students, journalists, businesses, professionals, ordinary citizens, religious organizations and public officials, believing in a democratic, free and peaceful Guyana that does not end at its borders.”
“The GNCPP will be structured as the pre-eminent Guyana and Caribbean Think Tank and civil society democratic policy programme institution.”
To that latter end, the organization intends to establish Programme Departments which will mirror, parallel and scrutinize government ministries and agencies. Even strategic civic society desks are proposed. But what’s this about a “Think Tank”?
If you caught this past Sunday’s CNS TV6 discussion featuring Dr. Thomas, you would have heard what his concept of this local Think Tank will be. (Catch the programme throughout this weekend on various stations).
Essentially, Think Tanks are comprised of carefully – selected experts who offer research, analyses and recommendations with respect to specific areas of work, issues and projects undertaken by governments, corporations or other high profile agencies. In the USA the Rand Corporation and the Centre for Strategic Studies are just two premier Think Tanks with researchers and analysts in demand by the American military as well as other wide-ranging areas of expertise.
Ready, willing, able
– and financial?
Poised to be launched publicly and to insert itself into (firstly) Guyana’s Civil Society, the GNCPP, through Dr. Philip Thomas, is busy assuring its identified trustees, specialists and first member–intake of its readiness to lead our local Civil Society in matters of public policy, governance, electoral review and related matters affecting Guyanese society. On the first television presentation Dr. Thomas openly referred to the GNCPP agenda, reasons for it and the bases for GNCPP’s promised existence and operations – the better parts of the Guyana Constitution and the Caricom, Commonwealth, UN, OAS Charters of Civil Society fashioned and signed on to by Guyana.
There is also a GNCPP pledge to offer assistance and resources to such NGO’s as the sometimes-active Human Rights Association, the (new) Transparency Institute (Guyana), the Roman Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, Red Thread and others worthy of both theoretical and practical guidance.
Eyebrows must have raised, eyeballs popped out and ears doubted, when Thomas, along with mentioning numerous potential American affiliates, explained how “the first $500m” will be utilized by the GNCPP. Yes! He indicated that the GNCPP had access to funds which would let society know that this emergent Think Tank was not subject to “shoe-lace or cookie-jar” levels of immediate need —- and was in a position to execute its programmes as soon as agreed-upon.
Enter Dr. P.H.M. Thomas…
But just who is this Dr. Philip Handel Mozart Thomas?
Frankly Speaking, he comes off as slightly intellectually eccentric. Already, I’ve been hearing some former political colleagues of his utilizing sarcasm when telling me about him. After about three months and doing my own research, I’ve decided that, like me, they’re worried about his idealism to the extent that they either think he’s (politically) upset or suspect. Others tend to write him off because they seem envious of his academic and professional standing – globally.
Like Enrico Woolford, I’ll not enumerate his arms-length long list of qualifications. (He has Doctorates, Masters and Degrees from various American schools, including the National Defence University, National War College, Berne University, Mercer University School etc. etc. etc.)
He runs an outfit which offers strategic global legal and business consultancy services and is versed in and is/was responsible for a multi-million Euro Clean Development Mechanism Fund arising out of the UN Kyoto Protocol.
Like some former doubting PNC Comrades did a few years ago, anyone can check Thomas’s verifiable credentials world-wide.
So why back home to establish and manage a “different” NGO –Think Tank? Well, Dr. Thomas feels passionately that Guyana’s NGO’s have been compromised, have been rendered only mildly effective because of lack of funding, expertise and the will to utilize all constitutional and judicial avenues open to them. He is here to assist with correcting that.
His “real” agenda? I don’t know anything other than what he says. (People, like my friend Komal Chand, will surely be interested).
Known to Odeen Ishmael, Jimmy Carter, Hugh Desmond Hoyte and the old PNC hierarchy, the local judiciary, Janet Jagan and Chile’s Bachelet, Philip Mozart Thomas will take some knowing indeed: (No wonder Margaret Lawrence asked him just how he “De-politicised” himself!) After all, Thomas was once touted to succeed Desmond Hoyte as PNC Leader. R. H. O and his posse would have none of that. Then Hoyte up and died. Stay Tuned!
How come no umpires were ever fingered in Cricket match/Spot Fixing?
`Til next week
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