We must shed the cloak of arrogance and isolation

Dear Editor,

The daily letters published in the newspaper continually call on government to ensure they get it right the first time with regard to the emerging oil market. Exxon and the government have both lamented the scrutiny. It is within their right to express their opinions, but the scrutiny must continue and the questions will not stop; public discourse is necessary for the advancement of any civil society. Every person that is privy to information that affects decisions on key issues for the oil and gas sector must be held accountable.

With that said, my question is why is the Minister of State, Joseph Harmon now responsible for the Department of Energy? What difficulties did they experience that led to this decision? And is it reasonable to assume then, if the oil sector was using up so much effort and time, that other extractive sectors have been neglected?  While I will not dwell on sheer speculation as to the creation of said department and why it comes under Minister Harmon’s purview, I will say, it would be harder to scrutinize the activities of the Department of Energy if it is being cloaked behind the big green fence.

I recall the cataclysmic announcement of the signing bonus issue and Minister Trotman came under heavy criticism for withholding the information. While he is directly in the line of fire over the non-communication of this, it is wise to remember the President later made a statement indicating he made a decision and that’s that. However the spin doctors want to portray it, it comes down to I’m the boss, I’ll decide what’s best. This stance engenders a breeding ground for corruption and malpractice.

Malcolm X gave a comparison between Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr and he said “Gandhi was a big dark elephant sitting on a little white mouse…King is a little black mouse sitting on top of a big white elephant.” He sought this explanation to describe the relationship between each man and his opposition and how they succeeded or failed.

Guyana is a small dark mouse, sitting on top of a big white elephant but we don’t have to be.  We can be that big dark elephant if we choose to.

But this isn’t about race, this is about our country and nationhood; this government can be successful in transforming our economy; Singapore did it. But it can only be achieved by adhering to the tenets of true democracy and shedding the cloak of arrogance and isolation.

It is wise to remember Lord Acton’s words “absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Yours faithfully,

Cassandra Persaud

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