The majority of Guyanese, at home and abroad, as demonstrated by voters, looked forward to a change, and as the Manifesto of the Guyanese Youth Congress states, a new dispensation to allow for “Inclusiveness, Rebirth, Renewal, Reconciliation and Rebuilding” against a background of national unity.
Mr Donald Ramotar must have noticed the muted tones of the majority of the international community to his accession to office, and the daily expressions of concern related to the way Gecom handled this well-funded 2011 election process. As patriots, in spite of these negatives, we dearly wish this nation stoutly to march forward, and as Curtis reminded us, ‘’Patriotism is the vital condition of national permanence.”
Mr Ramotar has made a good start with fine, noble words, but his deeds so far belie the
fine words of good intent. Now we have this oversized cabinet, and in addition, presidential advisors – a shameful waste of taxpayer’s money.
Below are twenty things that the President and his cabinet must deal with. They swore when taking office, “to bear truth and allegiance to the People of Guyana, to faithfully execute their duties to their particular offices without fear, favour, affection and ill will and that in the execution of their duties, to honour, uphold and preserve the constitution of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana.“ We cannot afford words alone to satisfy the above promise sworn to by the President and his cabinet, we must see immediate action on the following:-
1. ensuring that the Auditor General’s office is staffed by independent and competent persons;
2. ensuring the appointment of the Ombudsman, Commissioner of Police and other security heads;
3 an independent review of all major contracts including the Amaila Falls hydro project plus road, the Marriott Hotel plus Atlantic hotels arrangements, the Supenaam stelling, the landfill site project at Haags Bosch, the One Laptop per Family Project, the unit operating east of the Castellani Swimming Pool and how much it spent, the Skeldon Sugar Factory, the airport expansion project, the NGPC contracts with the Ministry of Health, the large sums spent on ‘special drainage projects’ and why the money is not given to the local authorities and the Mayor and City Council to do these works (in certain areas the labourers are paid $23,000 weekly and others $40,000 for similar work);
4. restoring the original name of our international airport and so allow the spirits of our Amerindian ancestors to be at peace – Timehri was so named to respect our Amerindian heritage;
5. reviewing or repealing the former Presidents (Other Benefits) Act and introducing a new bill to include former ministers, opposition leaders and prime ministers;
6. immediately reducing VAT and increasing the Old Age and other pensions
7. establishing a commission to look at all credible cases of political victimization of professionals and public servants;
8. appointing a new Chairman and Chief Election Officer to restore confidence in Gecom;
9. appointing ambassadors, high commissioners and honorary consuls based on competence, diplomatic skills and the ability to sell Guyana positively;
10. seriously retooling our security forces to attract the best and pay them properly (see the Chang and other reports)
11. creating a programme to attract back home as many educators, professionals and technical people as possible;
12. restoring the status of President‘s College;
13. supporting the appointment of a commission with wide powers to investigate the killings which took place from 1992-2011, specifically that of Satydeow Sawh, Ronald Waddell and the thirty-four police killed since 1992 (the use of experienced lay persons should be agreed to speed the process);
14. the freeing up of the media – no restriction on television coverage, an independent radio and television station for Regions 1, 9 and 10;
15. allowing the city and five other municipalities to exhale without heavy ministerial control;
16. setting up an independent group to ascertain government’s role in Clico;
17. scrapping the Ethnic Relations Commission, and with the help of religious and civil bodies help promote racial tolerance;
18. establishing a permanent Youth Parliament to advise and allow government to respond to the concerns of the young people and so halt the migration pattern;
19. advertising for new NCN leadership cadre;
20. identifying what Lotto funds are to be used for.
I hope we do not have to say we are dealing with two peas in a pod, and as an aside, the PPP/C has appointed the speaker since 1992, and they should not break a lance over the appointment.
Let’s get on with the governing of the country,
Hamilton Green, JP