THE PRESIDENT NEEDS HELP
It is time for the President to act. He has before him serious allegations of maladministration, at the least. He himself has expressed some sentiments on this issue; it is now time for him to show that he means business.
It is by no means an easy task facing the president. But it has to be done because his political future is at stake.
If he undertakes an objective survey of attitudes towards the PPP he will find that even the most ardent supporters of the PPP are disgusted by what happened during the final years of the Jagdeo administration.
The president will discover that the supporters of his party despise what they perceive as corruption under the previous administration and more so because they believe that the tentacles of this corruption reach very high in the government.
The president must not deceive himself into believing that because the opposition has shown its true colours in parliament that his supporters are simply going to rally behind the PPP at the next elections. He must not believe that it is automatic that the supporters of the PPP will restore the PPP’s majority simply because of the attitude of the opposition or because he, the president, be seen as incorruptible and sincere.
The supporters want him to do something about the corruption that denied the PPP a majority in parliament. They also wish him to do something about the attitude of certain Government Ministers, including those who cannot control their drunken behaviour, their womanizing and talking down to the public. In short what the supporters of the PPP want from the president is for him to act on corruption and to urge greater personal discipline from erring members of the government.
Then there are also the issues of wastage, squandermania and inept management. The public is displeased by the silence of public officials instead of those public officials responding to criticisms of damning reports in the media. The government cannot simply ignore adverse publicity even if the reports are not true. They have an obligation to respond.
To the president’s credit since he has taken over there has been a greater move to be more transparent about government deals. However, whenever criticisms are made of certain arrangements there is a tendency for the government to become defensive.
The president has however been very forthcoming. When he was told recently about the cost GPL incurs to rent generators relative to the cost of importing a new one, he was reported to have said that if the reports were true then it is a matter of concern.
If it is a matter of concern and if he is one who has said that it is a matter of concern, then it is incumbent on him to take the necessary steps and to announce to the Guyanese people that action is being taken.
The president seems to shun the limelight and seems to prefer to do his work quietly and away from the public glare. But unless his supporters see that he is taking decisive action to deal with certain issues, he is not going to be reelected, snap polls or no snap polls.
The supporters of the PPP do not wish to go back to the nightmare of PNC rule. But they are also not simply going to overlook the failures of the present government.
Unless the government acts and act swiftly, the supporters will simply vote with their feet by migrating or staying at home as many did on November 28, 2011.
The president therefore has to act and to be seen as acting. The president has to act but before he acts he must understand the nature of the system that he is dealing with.
He has to seek help. He cannot ask persons who were part of the same rotten system for their take on the allegations that are being made. He has to seek independent counsel, including from opposition parties, and then act in his own deliberate judgment.
Trying to however deal with the problem all by himself is going to be a task that will break the president’s back. Corruption and incompetence is formidable within the government. The president cannot chip away at this solid wall of corruption because as he chips away, those involved are backfilling at the same time.
The backfillers are powerful, too, and they have the support of their influential paymasters.
The president therefore has to understand that the task he faces is too much for him alone and that there are not many within the government that he should rely upon. As such, he has to seek assistance from persons outside of government who are willing to help without feathering their own nests also. There are many such persons.
There are many persons who believe that Donald Ramotar is a decent, honest man and that it will take such a man to deal with the problems of this country. But these persons also know that it will take more than decency and honesty to set the system right because the forces that are aligned against any campaign to root out corruption, wastage and squander mania are small but extremely powerful.
As such, the president cannot do it alone. He needs help. But before persons are going to come forward and help, they need to see some action from the president beginning with the rental of the GPL generators and the purchase of that hydroclave to dispose of medical waste.