Govt.’s dismissive posture emphasises bad governance in Guyana

May 13, 2011 | By | Filed Under Letters 

The report from the research team contracted by the Norwegian Agency for Development and Cooperation (NORAD) in its evaluation recommends that the major political opposition, the PNCR, be meaningfully involved in the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) project.
This, and other recommendations made, seem to throw the government of Guyana in a mad rage, which see them launching a vicious attack against the research group and questioning the soundness of the group’s evaluation.
It is very unfortunate, to say the least, that the government of Guyana had to be told that such an important project must, as of necessity, be undertaken with genuine bi-partisan co-operation and involvement. The research firm which conducted an evaluation for the LCDS project on behalf of the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD has stated in its evaluation report, sound rationales for such an approach.
It cautions, “Excluding the Peoples National Congress Reform (PNCR) from direct involvement can affect the transition of the project should the incumbent Peoples Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) lose power.” This is a sound, practical and obvious reality that should have caused the government to take off their political goggles and focus on what is best for the interest of Guyana, and by extension the world.
The Low Carbon Development Strategy cannot be a project that the PNCR can afford to terminate, when it gets into office, simply because that project commenced under the PPP/C government. While a PNCR government may have the right to review some aspects of the project, it will not be in the interest of Guyana and its people for the party to undo this project. The research team also noted that the exclusion of the PNCR would have the potential to exclude a large number of rural poor, particularly Afro-Guyanese who forms the base of the PNCR support.
Question, did the government of Guyana really needed NORAD funded, research team to tell them this, isn‘t this an obvious reality which they should be aware of, like every Guyanese is conscious of. Alternatively, was this the intention of the government, to do just that; exclude the rural poor, and the PNCR supporters? Many in Guyana are firmly under the belief that the LCDS and the Norway agreement constitute a project that is specific to the Amerindian communities and is exclusive to all other.
The actions of the government, I must say, structure this kind of thinking as no effort is made to educate the entire Guyanese population as to the overall objective of the project and how our total involvement and appreciation of same will affect us all. The rural poor, whose life style will also have to be drastically adjusted, has not been strategically targeted or meaningfully integrated in the entire scheme of things, where the LCDS is concerned.
In the minds of most Guyanese, the LCDS, for them, is Bharrat Jagdeo courting Amerindian votes. Many Afro- Guyanese who comprise a significant section of the rural poor may just decide to reject the LCDS because they see a deliberate attempt by the government to shut them out. This situation can have severe negative impact on the overall success the project. Further, the aim of reducing emission will be affected as no effort was made to educate these people of the consequences of certain actions they may be engaged in and the possible consequences of those actions with regard to reduction of emissions.
With the report of the NORAD evaluation team the government of Guyana, via, the Minister of Agriculture Mr. Robert Persaud, adopted its usual posture, usually demonstrated, whenever the PPP/C government feels that its hidden agenda has become exposed. Therefore, Robert Persaud launched a scathing attack on the research group and suggested that the group was ill equipped and advised to even think that the opposition should be involved or have any input in the LCDS. He opined that the framework of the parliament is already there for the PNCR to be involved, and that, mechanism is the legitimate means for the PNCR to be involved.
Persaud in questioning the soundness of the report commented; “I sense that a comprehensive review has not taken place in the preparation of this report.” He reaffirmed the PPP/C’s position that any political involvement in the LCDS can only take place at the level of the parliament.
These comments came even in light of NORAD’s careful analysis of the total situation. However, none of us should be surprised, since the government has already decided that the money coming from Norway will be used for political propaganda, I refer to President Jagdeo’s comments a few days ago, when he announced that Amerindians would benefit from the Norway funds in June. The president lamented, then, that by doing things for the Amerindians and all people the government expects that they will get the support of those people.
Persaud’s comments, therefore, are reflective of the general posture of the PPP/C government when it comes to taking a bi-partisan approach on issues to benefit the people of Guyana. This same, ‘parliament reason’, they advanced against shared governance, stating that the Sect oral Committees of the Parliament have already taken care of shared governance, which they referred to as inclusive governance.
There are numerous examples of the PPP/C policy ensuring that the party is paramount to national good or the interest of the people. So let us reflect on some of these situations. Therefore, when the Opposition Leader, Robert Corbin called for a meaningful collaborative effort on the part of all stakeholders, to work on a common agenda to tackle the crime situation the government responded with bold restraint and magnanimous hesitation.
It argues that it can control the situation today we are continuing to reap the damning results of their ability. Then when in 2008, the United States Southern Command in collaboration with the U.S Embassy in Guyana hosted its Crime and Security conference in Guyana, the PPP/C government refused the invitation to participate. The Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon held a news conference to tell Guyanese that the government of Guyana will not participate because the organisers did not let the PPP/C government fashion the programme.
Question how can a government, which demonstrated that it has no idea to tackle the crime and security problem, fashion the programme, further, this was a project undertaken by the US Embassy and its associates. Another example of this government’s retarded approach to development was demonstrated when the PPP/C government reneged on the billions of dollars agreement, Security Sector Reform Programme which they signed on to, initially, with the British government. In that scenario, Dr. Luncheon held a press briefing to tell Guyanese that the government of Guyana has opted out of the agreement because, in his words “the UK wants to run the government show”, a blatant lie.
In fact, what the Guyana government took umbrage with was the UK’s demands that the billions of dollars security sector project must be subject to parliamentary oversight, and stakeholder’s involvement. Clearly, the PPP/C could care less about the security of the citizens and their vulnerability to almost daily violent criminal attacks. Projecting their insipid posture was more important that taking action to ensure Guyanese safety. So, today the same posture is exhibited with respect to the NORAD evaluation report.
I see many of the PPP/C letter writers, mainly government ministers under disguised names, have already taken the cue from Mr. Robert Persaud and are already hinting that Norway is trying to direct the government of Guyana’s action, with the call for the opposition to be involved in the LCDS project. This is certainly not a surprise as similar strategies were also unleashed when Transparency International pronounced on the rampant level of corruption in the Guyana.
After releasing their findings, the government lashes out claiming that the research done by this international body cannot stand scrutiny and that the company is a fake. They asserted that those who conducted the research are an incapable and unformed bunch.
So now with NORAD’s advice that the PNCR’s should be involved with the LCDS must the government immediately decided to challenge the recommendation, their insistence that the PNCR involvement be restricted to the parliament chambers, is a calculated stage act.
The PPP/C knows, fully well, that the mechanism that exists at the level of the parliament would make it extremely difficult for the opposition to be meaningfully involved in this important project. Their strategy in the parliament has continued to be nothing short of alienation and exclusion, which have become institutionalize through the specific use of their parliamentary majority. So calling for there to be involvement only at the level of the parliament is nothing but a deliberate attempt to hoodwink the NORAD and the people of Guyana, but “we the people” will not be fooled.
Lurlene Nestor

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