The year 2016 ended with a decision taken by President Granger to revoke the lease granted to the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre, popularly referred to as the Red House.
This decision was taken in the closing days of our 50th anniversary year as an independent nation and in circumstances where Dr Jagan could be regarded as one of leading luminaries in our independence struggle.
As if such disrespect to his legacy was not enough, persons from the Ministry of the Presidency were sent to pull down the sign bearing his name, even though the forty-eight hour period given to the Management of the Centre by the President to vacate the building had not expired. And all of this despite a conservatory order issued by the court to restrain the overnment from evicting the occupants from the centre or to interfere in the operations of the centre, pending a court hearing in February.
The dust from the previous year had not been settled when another political bombshell development surfaced ‒ the rejection of the list of nominees for the post of Gecom Chairman as submitted by Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, on the grounds that none of the nominees met the eligibility criteria.
Both of these developments are indicative of a governance approach that is at best worrying especially when seen against the background of the President’s call for social cohesion and national reconciliation.
While there are some encouraging indications of some downstream prosperity from our oil and gas potential, it is important that this be buttressed by a strong democratic and judicial foundation where the will of the people and the rule of law remain the bedrock of our body politic and our societal make-up.