May 20, 2015 News
By: Kiana Wilburg
President David A. Granger has vowed that his government- A Partnership for National Unity plus
Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC)-would not make the same mistakes committed by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C).
The APNU+AFC had been extremely harsh in its criticisms of the PPP/C when it held office for over 20 years. The outgoing government was accused by the APNU+AFC of failing to hold its Ministers accountable for cases which suggested that they acted outside of the law. It was also accused of preventing the APNU+AFC even during the election campaign season of having fair access to the state media.
In the concluding edition (Part Four) of a very detailed interview Granger did with Kaieteur News on Saturday last, he comments on these very areas.
The President disclosed how he intends to ensure his ministers will be held accountable, how he will deal with access to the State media now that the PPP/C is on the Opposition bench and the importance of ensuring access to information.
Kaieteur News (KN): The APNU+AFC complained on several occasions about not being able to access coverage for its events through state agencies like GINA and NCN. Will you allow the PPP/C now in opposition to enjoy what was not extended to you?
President David Granger (P.DG): These agencies are paid for by the state and I can promise you that they will be made open to the opposition and government. Under my watch, there will be free and fair access to the media. I am not into seeking revenge. I am not going to suppress their voice because of their actions when we were in opposition. If I do then I would be adopting the very behaviour I spoke against or condemned. This government is about change and we will restore democracy and support the freedom of expression.
KN: Sir, your government has been critical over the years of the failure of former President Donald Ramotar to ensure that his Ministers were held accountable. How do you intend to show that your government in this regard will be different?
P.DG: Our government will be one of difference and I will be able to demonstrate that there will be accountability in my administration. To ensure this, I have drafted a Code of Conduct which they will all sign on to and be called on to adhere to it. Misbehavior would not be tolerated.
KN: Considering what you and your own designated ministers have experienced with the past administration, will we see your government committing to respecting the access to information legislation?
P.DG: Access to information is dependent on the attitude of the government and I believe that it should be available to the public even if there is no legislation. Access to information is an important aspect to democracy and if the people are informed and opposition is informed, the government can be more transparent and accountable as well as more efficient.
So that for me is central to democracy. Once government’s business reaches to a stage of being murky and the people are demanding information and you are denying them that right then you will run into problems like we did with Skeldon Sugar estate, Specialty hospital, the failed fibre optic cable project, the Marriott hotel, the expansion project for the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, and the Amaila Falls Hydro Project.
That is what happens when there is no openness. That happens when you try to hide the truth from the people. You end up with costly mistakes such as those projects so once there is more scrutiny, officials will be way more careful. I intend to run a government grounded in transparency and accountability. We are serving the people and keeping them in the know will prove that we mean what we say.
KN: And finally President Granger, what is your message to the nation?
P.DG: I simply want to say that we are on the road to building national unity and I intend to run an administration for the good of the people regardless of who they voted for and we must continue to work along this route. It is time for reconciliation.
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