Authoritarian leaders deserve not an ounce of respect

Dear Editor,

With respect to Rashleigh E Jackson’s letter captioned ‘An appeal to both sides of the National Assembly’ (SN, November 13), it is unreasonable of Mr Jackson to encourage Guyanese to respect President Granger given that he is a strongman politician who abuses his power. Mr Jackson must know that the heartbreaking situation in this country warrants that he adopts a stance to enlighten Guyanese that President Granger is destructive and that his behaviour directly compromises his ability to lead. The latest bout of political tension was sparked directly by President Granger when he abused his power to unfairly appoint a PNC surrogate as the Gecom chairman. This indicates that President Granger lacks a moral compass which renders him unfit to lead. Given this, Guyanese cannot be encouraged to respect a man who tramples on the rights of his people.

Authoritarian and dishonest behaviours permeate the Granger government. For example, President Granger trampled on the social cohesion process through his unethical appointment of the Gecom chairman. In spite of this, his Social Cohe-sion Department refused to denounce his action, and lashed out at those who stood up against his abuse of power in a protest in parliament. Both President Granger and his Social Cohesion Department need to be cognizant of the fact that unity, particularly in a diverse society like ours can only be realized in a culture where consistency, fairness, respect, and trust are valued.  President Granger’s action strengthens the widespread belief that his stance on social cohesion is a sham and that his Social Cohesion Department is a smokescreen. Editor, dysfunction within government is reminiscent of the shameful situation at City Hall, and I do not see how Mr Jackson in good conscience can ask Guyanese to respect politicians who are unethical. Any respect for President Granger under these circumstances will send the wrong message, particularly to our youths.

Mr Granger’s record has caused his supporters to dwindle in number.  It means that he does not command the support necessary to win a free and election. In spite of this, he is fixated on holding onto power. He has even divided the Guyanese people and selectively united his PNC/ APNU backers by enticing them with jobs, scholarships and infinite opportunities.  Obviously, Guyana will further deteriorate under his authoritarian leadership. President Granger has to be voted out to allow Guyanese a better life which they so deserve.

As an activist, I teamed up with the PNC/APNU supporters on the PNC/ APNU social media sites when President Granger was in the opposition to vigorously fight for democracy.  My participation was encouraged.  Now that President Granger is in power, he tramples on democracy, he tramples on free speech, he tramples on human rights and my participation is no longer allowed. Unfortunate-ly, gains made by civil rights leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela fail to resonate with President Granger and those who trample on democracy.  The people of this country need to swing power away from him to keep democracy alive.  And Mr Jackson should recognize that authoritarian and dysfunctional leaders like President Granger deserve not an ounce of respect.

Yours faithfully,

Annie Baliram

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