There is a moral responsibility to speak out about the painting of state properties in any party colours. This practice would have been unacceptable under the PNC, PPP/C and it is under the APNU+AFC. The painting of state properties in the shades of the green and yellow of the coalition cannot be countenanced.
Society is cognisant of the clamour for the separation of party and state/government’s business and this is not without merit. The state/government has to function as a non-partisan unit and all-inclusive as prerequisites for welding the diverse forces together and ensuring the rights and opportunities for all. This is a fundamental responsibility of government and in the execution of governance.
The party or group elected to
government must govern in the interest of all and recognise that state properties are not theirs but belong to all the people. When in office they are custodians of the people’s properties and for the period of occupancy they must ensure proper upkeep. You cannot desecrate state properties by painting them in partisan colours. These properties are acquired for the benefit of all the people and are maintained with the tax dollars of all the people, which cuts across party lines.
The problem is not only seen on buildings and fences but also furniture as in the case of a school in Victoria, East Coast Demerara where the benches have been painted in green and yellow. Government and their supporters must engage in acts to earn the respect and confidence of the people and this painting programme is divisive and counter-productive.
As the coalition paints Office of the President, State House, etc in its colours it needs to take note that the PPP/C has political control of some Regional Democratic Councils, Town Councils and Neighbourhood Democratic Councils. Should the PPP/C decide to paint the public properties in the areas with its party colours, the coalition and supporters will condemn the action. This would be the right thing to do but its application must be across the board, not partisan. As the coalition moves to renegotiate the Cummingsburg Accord the partners must visit this issue and state their position in black and white.
The presence or absence of law does not make something morally and ethically acceptable. Slavery was considered legal. It was and remains morally reprehensible and wrong. Whether the National Trust Act or any other Act is silent or vocal on the colours a building can be painted, what is more important and must be respected, is the moral and ethical law of neutrality and welding the nation’s people together.
A green economy or Guyana going green is not about painting the people’s properties in green or only planting trees. A green economy is an economic policy that seeks to pursue development (cultural, political, social, civic and economic) consistent with protection of fundamental rights and freedoms and the environment via sustainable approaches. The society awaits Government, in partnership with stakeholders, developing a structured national programme to give effect to this policy.