Former Auditor General Anand Goolsarran last evening said that he has decided against the formation of a political party to contest the scheduled May 11 polls.
In a statement following a report in Stabroek News on Wednesday that he was considering entering the political fray, Goolsarran said he welcomed the current talks for an opposition alliance between APNU and the AFC and appealed for persons to vote at the upcoming elections on the basis of programmes rather than ethnic sentiment.
He said that the selection of candidates on the basis of ethnic considerations has “devastated this country for over half a century.”
On the formation of a new political party, Goolsarran said, “I do not believe that the current appetite is in favour of a fourth political force. Besides, the limited time between now and the 11 May, does not permit for any such force to germinate and grow in order to make any meaningful impact.”
He said his view was if the three existing political groups contest the upcoming elections separately, the results would be the same as in 2011 – an Executive controlled by one party; and the Legislature controlled by the combined Opposition.
“The new political configuration that arose from the last elections was a glorious opportunity for our elected representatives to work in harmony, and in the spirit of goodwill and compromise for the good of the Nation. We, however, squandered this opportunity and have allowed narrow partisan interest to take precedence over the national interest. Indeed, the last three years have been a disaster for the country because of this attitude,” he declared.
He welcomed the dialogue between APNU and the AFC to form a coalition and said it was his hope that they “find accommodations in the interest of the country. With only two groups vying for political power, there will be only one winner and one loser. Whoever wins will not only form the Government but also controls the Legislature based on our present electoral system.
This is not a desirable outcome since an Opposition-controlled Legislature can provide for a significant degree of checks and balances on possible abuse by the Executive. However, given our experience in the last three years, we have no other choice.”
He also called for citizens to vote on the basis of programmes, rather than on sentiments. “This scourge of electing public officials on the basis of ethnic considerations has devastated this country for over half a century. That devastation has placed us second lowest in the Caribbean economically and in several other respects, despite the vastness of our natural resources. We were once the breadbasket of the Caribbean, and Georgetown was the garden city. We need to restore our past glory, and the only way to do so is to elect the right leaders. Meanwhile, I retire into the background to continue with my column in the Stabroek News and any other professional work that may come my way,” he added.
Earlier in his statement, Goolsarran noted that he had offered his help to the government when he returned to Guyana in 2012 only to be rebuffed.
“Since my return to Guyana in February 2012, I have been trying my best to be of service to my country within the area of my technical and professional competence. My first task was to write President (Donald) Ramotar offering my services, and I cited my interest in being a member of the Public Procurement Commission or the Integrity Commission. I received a mere acknowledgement from the Head of the Presidential Secretariat. Last year, I met the President at Mr. Yesu Persaud’s farewell function, and in passing, I enquired about his recollection of my letter. His reaction was that I have since moved on to other endeavours!” he disclosed.
Goolsarran also expressed revulsion at the manner in which government officials behaved at the one session of Parliament he attended in 2012. “I was extremely alarmed at the degree of animosity that the ruling party displayed, especially towards the members of Parliament from the Alliance for Change (AFC). It was evident that this animosity came about because the AFC had gained enough of a foothold in the ruling party’s stronghold to cause the combined Opposition to gain control over the Legislature. The skills of at least three members on the Government’s side were on full display, that of heckling and trying to disrupt every Opposition member that spoke. One gets the impression that these persons were selected as MPs for that particular skill only. Even the scene of a fish market was far more saintly and serene than that which occurred on that day in the highest decision-making body of our dear land. Moses Nagamootoo and Khemraj Ramjattan were shouted on and insulted by the Minister of Finance for seeking simple clarifications on the budget, while Carl Greenidge was not spared of the Minister’s venom for the simple mistake of referring to the incorrect section of the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act,” Goolsarran noted.
He said he has chosen not to return to witness such a spectacle and vowed if he ever did it would be as a legislator in the hope of bringing dignity, decorum and respect to the work of the National Assembly.
Goolsarran noted that he also became involved in the work of Transparency Institute of Guyana Inc, during which he had to bear “the brunt of character assassination and personal vilification from the State-owned and pro-Government media houses for speaking out on issues relating to governance, transparency and accountability.”