The government and opposition should co-operate

Dear Editor,

This letter is an appeal to both my government and the opposition to take their roles seriously. I do not have a problem with the opposition performing a role in which they are trying to hold onto their supporters. The role of the opposition is to question the government and hold them accountable to the public. They have to challenge the policies of the government and substitute different policies which they feel can work beneficially for the country. The opposition should put the spotlight on serious issues and force the government to resolve them, but they are not doing that; they have their own agenda. However, at times the opposition must agree with the government and this is one area which needs improvement. Therefore, it is clear that for the past two-and-a-half years the opposition has been busy fulfilling its role by getting the government to dance to their tune.

My government needs to focus on their agenda and not be derailed by the opposition which gains political mileage all the time. They must focus on their mission. The recent battle for political mileage in Parliament worked in favour of the opposition. The government has everything to lose, not the opposition. The government could have come out unscathed and looking good if the Speaker had not allowed these types of behaviour on the part of the MPs since 2015. In fact the Leader of the Opposition is now bolstering his claims of a dictatorship government in the making. The government loses and the people lose. This is counterproductive to the role of our government. The government must prove to the people that they have their interest at heart and are doing everything to achieve that objective.

On the other hand, the government must manage the affairs of the country to ensure economic stability and growth. They must ensure that the citizens are protected, their health and education are taken care of and they live a ‘good life’. Therefore, the government must ensure that they implement monetary and fiscal policies which can result in economic growth, full employment and stability.

Therefore, I want to remind our ministers, other government officials and government agencies that they have serious challenges to face in 2018 and they have to stop being unnecessarily bogged down by the opposition. The opposition is fulfilling their function and are going up in the public’s ratings, while the government is busy engaging them to their detriment. The government must ensure that each sector is growing and contributing to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country, and this is where the subject ministers need to be more vigilant to ensure that there is proper monitoring and evaluation. Monies are just being spent without due regard for the three Es ‒ economy, efficiency and effectiveness.

There are many examples where departmental heads have failed, even at the budgetary planning stage. Inflated bills of quantities are common, and this has always been the feature of all the governments, including the previous government. Corruption is ingrained in the engineers’ estimates through the tendering, right into the execution of the works. This eats away our value for money. My estimate is that as much as 25% of contract costs are shaved off by varying levels of corruption leaving contractors no alternative but to do sloppy work. This is a festering sore for a few ministries which needed to be addressed since yesterday.

When I first joined the RDC as a APNU+AFC councillor I was met with an aggressive opposition side, and I would normally take offence at that type of behaviour, but gradually I learnt that if I focus on fulfilling my role which is aimed at promoting regional and community development, then the approach of the opposition councillors would change. It did, and I now have a very harmonious relationship with everyone. Why is it that the government’s side of the House has continuously failed to achieve harmony by executing their roles for the benefit of the people?

It was said by a great man that you don’t get harmony when everybody sings the same note, while it is also said that the only thing that will redeem mankind is co-operation. I appeal to both the opposition and the government that as they undertake their diverse roles let there be harmony and co-operation so that we as Guyanese can redeem ourselves as ‘One People, One Nation, One Destiny’.

Yours faithfully,

Gobin Harbhajan

Regional Democratic Councillor

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