Shortly after he had sworn in his ministers, President Granger asked all members of the cabinet to sign a code of conduct which would hold them accountable if they act outside of the law. As elected members of the governing coalition they not only possess power, but more importantly, have control of the nation’s purse, and therefore must act responsibly.
Accountability is the foundation of good government and the true test of one’s integrity and character. As such, the governing elite must be held to a higher standard. They have to choose between standing up for principle and being honest, or surrendering to the tempting lure of lying to either gain unlawfully or deceive the public.
There is tremendous political capital in embracing and upholding the truth. The saying that “honesty is the best policy” always rings true.
In Guyana, at this juncture, the people are eager for honest and sincere politicians who are respectful of them. For decades they have endured dishonest and abusive behaviour from those who have ruled. Honesty, it seems, was not a priority of recent administrations, which thrived on propaganda, distortions and secrecy.
It would have been that much easier, and perhaps much better for them to have been reasonable and forthright with the people. If those in the former administration were prepared to admit their errors and wrongdoing more frequently instead of avoiding truth, the citizenry would have been more trustworthy and understanding, as well as less critical of them. The people are always willing and ready to accept self-confessed flawed leaders because they know that no one is perfect. They also know that to err is human.
We reiterate that the nation is ready for sincere politicians. Most of us are aware that dishonesty is hard to stop; once the lying starts, it keeps increasing until it gets out of hand. Lying is also very difficult to sustain and invariably creates trouble in the long term.
The new government must convince the people that it is serious about eliminating all the vestiges of corruption, recovering any stolen state assets and assessing if the awarding of contracts by officials of the former administration to friends and relatives amount to criminal acts.
Upon being elected to office, President Granger and his cabinet solemnly declared to do the best to their ability to carry out their duty without fear or favour. This declaration, one can safely assume, cannot be taken seriously if criminal sanctions are not taken against those who violated the laws, plundered state assets, or were involved in corrupt practices.
It is apparent that the government has discovered malfeasance in most government departments and state agencies that warrant criminal prosecution of those involved, including senior functionaries from the previous administration. While some actions involved the blatant practice of nepotism, which are not criminal in nature, there is no reason why the offenders should not be publicly admonished.
Citizens should insist on higher standards for politicians, whether they are perceived to be in breach of the law or not. The reported instances of corruption are clearly contrary to morality and decency. It cannot be that the only standard of conduct the people of Guyana can expect from their political representatives is continuous flouting of criminal law.
President Granger must insist that those under his watch are compelled to conduct the affairs of the nation fairly and to the best of their ability. They should never be allowed to deviate into the unpleasantness of corruption, nepotism, vindictiveness or indifference. If that ever becomes their intention, they should withdraw from representational politics and, indeed, from holding public office. Guyana can ill-afford another lengthy period of poor governance.
When ayuh will wake up?
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