The role of the opposition is to question the government and hold them accountable to the people. A responsible press does very much the same. But while most journalists adhere to the principles of their noble profession, there are those who are forced to compromise their integrity to protect their jobs from the wrath of a vindictive government that is determined to deceive the nation. So the burden is on the shoulders of the People’s Progressive Party, the opposition, to compare the public pronouncements of government to its actions, which are often deceptive and superficially attractive in appearance, until they are examined more closely. As Dem Boys would seh, de Granger administration prapa mamaguying de people. In fact, this APNU+AFC charade is window dressing for good governance.
The Granger administration operates at two levels consistent with its duplicitous character. It utters all the right buzzwords about governance for public consumption, but in reality, it practises something very different.
The government invites the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to work on a Green strategy, but it is destroying the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) by not implementing it. Although President Granger promised that Guyana would have a 100% renewable power supply by 2025, they are now talking about a 50 megawatt fossil fuel power plant which is something totally different.
They involve the United Nations and the Carter Center on constitutional reform, but do everything to delay efforts to reform the constitution.
A United Nations Advisor, David Robinson, is at present in Guyana, to help the government fight corruption. This advisor has already drafted an anti-corruption work plan which sets out activities to strengthen Guyana’s anti-corruption regime.
The truth is, this government is only interested in fighting corruption if it can somehow be traced to a PPP official or former minister. The Special Organized Crimes Unit (SOCU) has been used as part of the government’s campaign to harass and intimidate former President, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo and members of the PPP, but chooses to ignore the highly controversial and corrupt pharmaceutical drug bond deal. But like my colleague, Bishop Edghill wrote in a recent letter, “I caution these experts and international agencies that they must not be used as a fig leaf.”
I therefore urge these international bodies to look beyond the witch-hunting exercise that they will be guided towards, and investigate the true source of corruption plaguing the nation, the Government of Guyana. After all, the credibility of the United Nations and the British government are at stake here.
As a strong advocate for ethnic unity, I was pleased with the establishment of the Ministry of Social Cohesion. But how serious could the President have been when he selected the most divisive person in the form of Ms Amna Ally to run that ministry? And although she is no longer there, how could this government ever achieve social cohesion among our racially and ethnically divided people when
- 1,972 Amerindian Community Service Officers were fired because of their association with the PPP.
- Former PPP ministers and officials are targeted and harassed by SOCO as part of the APNU+AFC ongoing witch-hunt campaign against the PPP.
There are several documented instances where the President and his ministers have misinformed the nation that the PPP left the treasury empty. But the questions remain, how can the treasury be empty when they gave themselves a 50% salary increase mere weeks after taking office?
In the last budget, the theme was, ‘The Good Life Beckons.’ Yet this government introduces austerity measures in the same budget that takes away any hope of ordinary Guyanese ever enjoying that “good life”.
The President tells residents at the West Berbice Expo earlier this year that Region 5 has established itself as “a bastion of Guyana’s food security”, yet allowed MMA to evict 41 cash-crop farmers from the lands they cultivated there and took away their livelihood.
This administration talks about the need for better education, yet there are no jobs for young, highly qualified graduates because job opportunities are only available to retired military personnel.
During the 2015 election campaign, the mantra of the APNU+AFC coalition was all about transparency and accountability. Yet they refuse to publish the contract signed with ExxonMobil, using a nonexistent nondisclosure clause to prevent the nation from knowing the truth, and have raised suspicions about the true motive behind this cloak and dagger arrangement.
The PPP were accused of corruption, yet the Ministry of Health disregarded procurement laws and processes and directed the Board of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) to give a $632 million contract to Ansa McAl for the purchase of drugs.
This government speaks with a forked tongue, and simply can’t be trusted. The Guyana economy is suffering because corruption and incompetence seem to be permeating every part of this government. But President Granger seems either unaware or incapable of addressing the failings in his administration. It is time for this coalition to stop blaming the PPP for everything that goes wrong in Guyana. They are now in government; they must fix it. By 2020, the APNU+AFC would have achieved very little for Guyana and her people, and they would have wasted five long years trying to prove their perception of PPP corruption in the courts at great expense to our taxpayers.
Harry Gill, MP