Any Guyanese President’s most sacred duty is to safeguard the Constitution of the Cooperative Republic. But President Granger’s actions and words have raised many questions about his commitment to the Constitution and the rule of law. First, he allowed several cases of violation of the rule of law. One just has to observe how his Minister Mr Bulkan flouted the law with respect to the establishment of the Local Government Commission and how he illegally hijacked the elections for the Mayor in Mabaruma by not following the rule of law. Then there are the many cases of procurement without due process being followed. Need I talk about the $605 million drugs deal or D’Urban Park or the Sussex Street bond? Collectively these three deals involved over $2 billion. And these are just three deals.
I am arriving at the conclusion that President Granger really believes he has a licence to do anything because he is President. This conclusion begs the question, is President Granger fully committed to constitutional democracy? Why does he ignore the media and refuse to hold a second open press conference with the Fourth Estate? Rather than being beholden to the media, is he expecting that the media should be beholden to him?
But if you look carefully, all over the country people are in a restive state and many are even prepared to go to court to challenge Mr Granger and his policies. This is where the Guyana Human Rights Association comes in. What is the state of its membership? Why in such an oppressive political and economic environment is this organisation so dormant? What about the Guyana Consumers Association? Is it still alive? Since Ms Eileen Cox passed, it appears that the Consumers Association also passed. Who is representing the people in this exploitive environment where the regime is taxing the people to the hilt, which leaves the majority of shoppers with less money in their pockets?
If President Granger accepted the letter and spirit of the Constitution, then he would have adhered to one of its key principles which says, “We the Guyanese People forge a system of governance that promotes concerted effort and broad-based participation in national decision-making in order to develop a viable economy and a harmonious community based on democratic values, social justice, fundamental human rights and the rule of law…” and he would have governed very differently.
Take for instance the case of only one permanent secretary under President Granger out of the seventeen to represent 50% of the population (Indian and Indigenous). Under President Ramotar, I was advised that in 2014 seven of the then 17 permanent secretaries represented that 50%. Isn’t that a more broad-based participation in national decision-making? A government cannot favour or disfavour any group of people.
In such a situation, I call on the young people to step forward and announce themselves to be on the local government list whether their own list or if they can, one of the establishment lists in 2018 and run for office in their local areas. When young people stand up and demand to be counted, Guyana will never elect presidents like Donald Ramotar and David Granger.