This is the time when this column assesses the various individuals that have impacted on our national life and makes a determination as to which individual should be heralded as Guyana’s Personality of the Year. Readers will recall that last year’s award was given to Chief Justice (ag.) Ian Chang.
In any election year, there is often a tendency to give to the winner of the elections that award. Mr. Donald Ramotar won the presidency in this year’s elections but his party failed to gain what many had anticipated would have been a majority.
While his victory is a significant development in the country’s history and marks a changing of the guard as president, this column did not select Mr. Ramotar for the Peeping Tom’s Personality of the Year Award even though he was among the front runners given his electoral success in becoming the president of Guyana.
The last time there was a general election in Guyana was 2006 and in that year this column gave the award for Personality of the Year Award to Mr. Steve Surujbally. This year he was again among the front runners from having brought off another election which met international standards. GECOM once again did an excellent job and the only reason why there are now calls for his removal is because persons are still traumatized by their electoral losses and have not fully come to grips with their defeat.
Another candidate for the award this year was the outgoing president Bharrat Jagdeo who served for twelve years as President and must be credited with the social and economic progress that has been achieved in Guyana.
This country is now a different country because of Mr. Jagdeo’s leadership and he has also gained considerable international recognition for not only his leadership of Guyana but also the part he played in highlighting issues concerning the environment.
He remains, based on electoral support, the most popular president this country has ever produced, but while he is definitely Guyana’s Man of the Decade for the past decade, his last term was riddled with a number of controversies that took the sheen off his excellent economic record and therefore he did not find favor as this year Personality of the Year.
Yet another frontrunner was Mr. David Granger. Not known as a politician he emerged as the surprise presidential candidate of the People’s National Congress Reform, narrowly beat off a challenge from the former Finance Minister of Guyana, and went on the lead a partnership of the PNCR and other marginal parties in the election where they secured an impressive 40% of the total votes cast.
While the showing of APNU was below the performance of Desmond Hoyte in the 1992 and 1997 elections, the fact that APNU was able to better the PNCR’s dismal 33 per cent in the 2006 elections was itself a resounding success for Mr. Granger and his team. This made Mr. Granger a major contender for the Personality of the Year Award despite the fact that many feel that on the campaign trail he was overshadowed by his Prime Ministerial candidate Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine.
Another strong contender for the prize of the Peeper’s Personality of the Year Award for 2012 was Mr. Robert Corbin who showed what a wily politician he is. Largely blamed for the PNCR’s poor showing in the 2006 elections and the growing strength of the Jagdeo administration, this political veteran showed while he remains one of Guyana most shrewd politicians.
His decision not to remove himself from contesting any position in this year’s general election was a political masterstroke and it eventually led to the creation of APNU. Corbin remains however the indisputable leader of the PNCR and will continue to be a force within the party.
APNU gave the elections its best shot and that was not enough even against a faltering PPP, demonstrating that leadership was never the issue for the failures of the PNCR.
But while all of these frontrunners could have made the grade as Personality for 2011 award, the prize has to go to two persons who created storm waves in this country.
The outstanding development in Guyana or 2011 was the exposure that the Kaieteur News gave to what was taking place within the government. From sending scouts all the way to Miami to get a shot of the puja job from which a major contractor operated, to getting a picture of a barbershop which was located at the address given by another contractor, to exposing over priced jobs done on tax payers monies and keeping the nation alert as to the rot that has stepped in within the government, Kaieteur News did a fantastic job again in 2011.
Had it not been for Kaieteur News, this nation would have been ignorant of a great many things. For doing this, this newspaper faced an onslaught from the country’s executive. A lesser newspaper would have wilted under the pressure, but Kaieteur News is made of far sterner stuff and its courage under incessant fire was worthy of the highest medal of valor that any country can award.
Behind this newspapers success in exposing the rot within the administration and standing up to the pressures to close it down were two remarkable individuals. And it is these two individuals who jointly share the award as Personality of the Year for 2011.
This year’s award jointly goes to Mr. Adam Harris, the Editor of the Kaieteur News; and Mr. Glenn Lall, the publisher of this newspaper.
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