There seems to be a new wind blowing through Guyana; a fresh wind and for now, a pleasant wind.
It is too early, much too early to pronounce definitively on its temporality: there is the folk caution that “new brooms sweep clean” that must be heeded. But we would be remiss if we did not comment on the phenomenon – even if to simply encourage its continuation and intensification.
We refer, of course, to some of the initiatives of the new government – especially the new president. Even though individually they may be small, it has been said that it is the performance of small actions that character is discerned – for individuals as well as institutions. It is very easy to make the big gesture – it is known that the world is watching and invariably the deed is studied for its effects. But recent events suggest that citizens are fully au fait with this perspective: the big gestures of mega-concerts, prospective hotels, hydro-power etc did not fool them.
The first fresh gust was the acceptance by the president that the opposition must be engaged. While some may claim that he was simply bowing to the logic of the parliamentary configuration, we have seen in the recent past the insistence of Ramotar’s predecessor to bully and intimidate others notwithstanding objective realities. An acceptance of the changed political landscape is most welcome. Progress can only be achieved through dealing with reality.
But the president went beyond the mere exchange of pleasantries as he could have easily done in this holiday season. He established a tripartite committee of plenipotentiaries to examine the way forward and another to examine the budget as it is being crafted. While we understand, and we have previously highlighted, the potential for diluting the separation of powers made explicit in our constitution, we hope that the opposition does not demand a mile now that they have been given a fathom. Consultation does not mean capitulation.
The committee to review the tax system is most significant, not least for the personnel that were selected. Clifford Reis is not just a businessman and the head of one of the largest conglomerates in Guyana, but most pertinently he is not, as we say in Guyana, “traditionally” linked with the PPP. We were surprised, after his selection, when the opposition, notably APNU insisted that they should have been asked to select members of the committee. But even more radically was the choice of Ronald Alli. Mr Alli, we should remember ran afoul of Bharrat Jagdeo when he was chairman of Guysuco and was forced to resign. His return to public service suggests that the new breeze may be here for a while.
Then there has been the reversal of the doctrine that there were sacred cows that could get away with abuses of their position at the expense of the rule of law, not to mention ordinary citizens. Charges have been laid against two former “untouchables” from the Office of the President. This was unprecedented and has offered a very noteworthy signal that there may be a new dispensation. It is remarkable, but it did not seem to have crossed the collective mind of the previous administration that allowing these little Caesars to run roughshod over people created great dissatisfaction. More than anything else, it might have contributed to the reduction of their majority.
Accepting Commissioner of Police Henry Greene’s offer to proceed on leave, while investigations are conducted into the rape he is alleged to have committed, is a powerful new breeze. The inappropriate calls by the opposition for Greene’s interdiction before charges were laid did not redound to their credit. But accepting that it may be inappropriate for Greene to remain at the head of the investigating organisation displayed a new realism of the Presidency. Justice, the cliché goes- but no less true for that, must not only be done; it must be seen to be done. The request for foreign personnel to assist in the investigation will buttress the case for fairness and impartiality, no matter how matters turn out.
Oct 22, 2019Fabian Wehl of Suriname copped the Overall Title when the Stage of Champions body building contest was held on the weekend at the Theatre Guild, Kingston. Guyanese Seranno Harris of Tower Unity Gym...
Oct 22, 2019
Oct 22, 2019
Oct 22, 2019
Oct 22, 2019
Oct 22, 2019
The PPP under the presidential candidacy of Donald Ramotar won 32 seats in the 2011 elections as against 33 seats for the... more
Haiti is in turmoil again. This time the countries of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) cannot be criticised for inaction,... more
Editor’s Note, If your sent letter was not published and you felt its contents were valid and devoid of libel or personal attacks, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]