Our Political “Trustees” – and Public Trust

-His Excellency – an Officer and a Gentleman

…But still an unlikely, military politician

So you are some category of Guyanese – and over eighteen years. You can vote at Guyana’s elections as you become a member of the electorate. (Incidentally, do you know the laws which govern elections and your act of voting?)

But this portion simply has to do with those persons you cast your vote for. Just why did you support that person? One, or multiple reasons? And how much did you actually, really know about your favoured candidate? I promise a brief “sermon” to provoke thought – amidst all of your life’s routine challenges.

Many societies and cultures hold that periodic elections constitute a vital bulwark of democracy. (I understand that “democracy” is the system that insists that the people determine who governs and manages institutions and resources in their interest. How well does that work?)

Politicians – those who “practice” politics- the vying for group representation, power, government – solicit your support/vote. They form governments and become effectively administrators, managers, arbiters, ultimate decision-makers at national levels. (The more political in governments then employ professionals, experts in numerous specific fields to assist them to manage our resources – our lives!)

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“Trustees”? Trust

But governments also act as trustees, as representatives for all the people. Not trustees in a strict legal sense whereby the “property”, the country’s resources are committed – in a trust – to them. But trustees in that they were elected to act sensibly on the people’s behalf – at all times! Long ago there was the concept of a loyal opposition – wherein the opposition was considered a component of government even though they held themselves out as an alternative government.

So in good old Guyana how well do we trust our (political, governmental) trustees? Trust refers to reliability, reliance, faith, confidence. Now tell me: could the public place complete trust in the abilities and intentions of those in power? No! Only on conditions which allow for sustained, expert, independent scrutiny and monitoring of our “trustees” and their management and governance. Public trust is in very short supply in our Guyana. Justifiably!

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His Excellency as a politician

I’ve read all the more analytical scientific and academic assessments of our current president’s political acumen. Or lack of such.

So I ask your permission to record my layman’s, man-in-the-street commentary on the Brigadier-President’s ascension.

The president could lay claim to humble beginnings but as he entered his twenties, thirties the Grangers could not be considered as typically poor. They excelled in academia and the military. David Arthur became an officer, a gentleman, publisher, historian, writer. An old PNC “comrade” offered me one version of His Excellency’s rise to PNCR power. The still active senior comrade claims that “the Party” asked the retired Brigadier/Defence adviser – himself then a respected party sage – to assist in finding a successor for RHO Corbin. The elder comrade claimed that “Granger decide to tek on de leadership eself!” True or false?

I know (for sure) that Hugh Desmond Hoyte was a reluctant politician. I know of Dr Reid’s telling of Forbes’ skills in making Dessie political. Then death thrusted Hoyte to the presidency. (Over Hammie! Ho-ho!)

But our His Excellency – even amidst congress gunshots – became PNCR Leader, APNU Leader, Opposition Leader, Presidential candidate, then President! Nothing reluctant about that! The former Army officers were obliged to qualify themselves. His Excellency now has them as senior public servants around him. Surrounding him. Oh, he’ll never admit it but I bet he has found that to “command” the country is far, far different from an army command of the Infantry, Air Wing or Marine Corps. The democracy demands attention to a contentious political opposition and an open, inquisitive wider society. Poor Brigadier.

His Excellency’s reluctance towards regular press conferences and his recent extensive interview with journalistic Soul Brother A.A. – A.A. revealed why His Excellency would prefer presidential silence. His political faux-pax were many. His pronouncements revealed contradictions towards other partners; covering-up for political and ministerial missteps – oftimes by junior colleagues and also the poor acumen to confront Dr Jagdeo successfully.

(Only in Berbice last weekend did he show valid political aggression against Opposition campaign strategies.)

Frankly Speaking, to me – who voted reluctantly for him in 2015 – His Excellency is tending and trending towards don’t-care-a-damn characteristics in terms of his personal governance. I’m wrong? Discuss…

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Just imagine, ponder…

1) One evening about two years ago a gentleman introduced himself to me after viewing my television feature that Saturday morning. We went to a little night club.

He turned out to be a Guyanese – Cleveland Beresford – living in and CEO of the international airport in St. Maarten – that duty-free port that is still under Holland’s/Netherland’s authority. Recall St Maarten suffered tremendously from a hurricane last year but apparently some Guyanese still wish to be Dutch citizens of the island.

Mr Beresford is Guyana Consul-General there now. He is inviting those Guyanese to go in and renounce their Guyanese citizenship if they still want to become “Dutch” St Maarten citizens. As required by the Netherlands who says you can be a citizen of only one state!

How interesting. Even though born in Guyana you must give up your “born-Guyanese” status. I ask some young journalist to help me explain this further.

2) Our MP’s obtain visas, other job opportunities, business openings, gun licences, more blessings easier than I can.

We entrust our ministers and their experts with local policies, international agreements etc. they then decide when we should know. Trust?

3) Caution! The Guyana Review’s content is not Stabroek News position(s).

4) Name 5 countries/governments where Coalition Catherine would have been invited to resign.

5) Try not to use “stakeholders”, “proved futile” and “valued customer” for 2 weeks.

’Til next week!

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