Several developments, both locally and internationally, have taken place within the recent past which could have implications for the wellbeing of the Guyanese people.
The first, and perhaps most significant, is the ill-advised decision by the ruling APNU+AFC administration to have a parliamentary motion moved and carried in tribute to the late Abdul Kadir who was convicted in the USA on terrorism charges. While there is nothing wrong in principle with the honouring of deceased parliamentarians, it is the nature of the charges against Mr. Kadir that is of concern to many. The US Ambassador has strongly condemned the motion with similar sentiments being echoed by the British High Commissioner.
The APNU no doubt sought to gain some political mileage from the motion which appeared to have backfired resulting in some amount of blame game as to who was responsible for the drafting of the motion and upon whose instructions. The administration sought to engage in some damage control by stating that the motion was not intended to promote terrorism but to recognize fallen parliamentarians in keeping with past tradition. This is unlikely to undo the damage done in the eyes of Guyanese and the international community.
The other issue of interest to Guyanese is the appointment of new Ministers and the reassignment of others as a result of the Court’s ruling on the issue of dual citizenship. From all indications, the move is stronger in form rather than in content. A careful look at the ethnic make-up of the persons identified to serve in ministerial posts would reveal a carefully orchestrated attempt to reflect some kind of ethnic window-dressing. The appointment of Mr. Harmon as Director-General of the Ministry of the Presidency is of particular interest since it is the first time such a post has been created which in the public service organizational structure is equivalent to that of a Permanent Secretary. As such he is structurally answerable to the Minister of State Ms. Dawn Hastings. It is clear however that Harmon would continue to serve as a leading decision-maker which many believe could render the office of the Minister of ceremonial value.
At the international level, developments in neighbouring Venezuela must be a matter of concern and ought to be closely monitored. The fact that the opposition failed to unseat President Maduro despite diplomatic and other forms of support from the USA and other western powers is indicative of the delicate balance of power that obtains in that country. My own view is that the situation warrants a negotiated solution involving all the interested powers within the framework of the country’s constitution and the democratic wishes of the Venezuelan people.