Reasonable men and women would find nothing unreasonable with these demands
There are times in a nation’s history when men and women of reason, statesmen and states women must step forward. Putting aside partisan political agendas they must be guided by their conscience and work for the national good. Listening to the inaugural address to the nation of the 7th President of Guyana, on Saturday 3rd December 2011, I thought that Donald Ramotar might be one of those men.
Mr. Ramotar in that address said “it was time to cast off the partisan cloak and put on the national garb…..the new arrangement in parliament will no doubt test our maturity as political leader.” But the President said that he would use all of his energies and the influence of his office as president to make Guyana a better place. That was just about six months ago, and my optimism has slowly turned with every move made by this president to one of abject pessimism.
Barrack Obama at his inauguration very elegantly articulated a situation that I find very apposite to our present dilemma, where the PPP seems reluctant to be reasonable and its leaders unable to grasp the reality that power now has to be shared.
The US President said; “to those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”
Those words are very prescient and one wonders what it would take for the executive branch of government in Guyana to unclench that fist. The early rhetoric from President Ramotar was encouraging and signaled a new way forward, but every move since then has placed party above nation.
Anyone who is paying attention to the political debates in Guyana today, can testify to the culture of no that the PPP has adopted since losing the legislature in the last elections. Many of the parliamentary majority recommendations would be considered reasonable, yet these recommendations are negatively spun for political mileage by an administration that has lost touch with the wishes of the ordinary Guyanese man and woman. How can lowering the toll of the Berbice river bridge to $1000.00 be unreasonable?
How can an immediate lowering of VAT by 1% be unreasonable? How can a 10 percent increase in the wages of all state employees be unreasonable? How can demanding that Guyana have a public procurement commission that is transparent and devoid of political interference be unreasonable?
Why is the administration so bent on keeping the workings and the profits of NICIL a secret? Is it unreasonable for the taxpayers through their parliamentary representatives to demand an accounting of NICIL, GGMC, the Lotto funds etc? I believe that reasonable men and women would find nothing unreasonable with the current demands.
The challenges we face in Guyana are real, they are serious and they are many, yet it is evident that the PPP has chosen discord, rather than attempting to reach for unity of purpose. The very narrow constituency of the very wealthy who control most of the wealth of this nation is not a true representative sampling of Guyana. The PPP must know that Guyana cannot prosper if they (the PPP) only act on behalf of the already prosperous. Opportunity must be extended to all willing and able bodied Guyanese men and women, not out of charity, but because it is the only true path to national development. It is interesting that President Ramotar in his after budget speech to the nation, considered the increase in the old age pension as political goodwill and not a moral and economic necessity.
Mr. Editor, William Lloyd Garrison famed American Abolitionist and Journalist, is credited with saying the following; “with reasonable men, I will reason, with humane men, I will plead, but with Tyrants, I will give no quarter, nor waste arguments where there will certainly be lost…” One would have hoped that the new dispensation would have challenged the PPP to be men of reason, or even humane men, but by their new culture of no, they have abrogated their right to be a part of this new era of responsibility. The working poor, the youth and student of this nation voted for change and gave the parliamentary majority a mandate to change the status quo and political culture in Guyana. This is not a season for Tyrants, but a time for reasonable men.