After spending some time reading the various comments, explanations, suggestions made about the salary increases for Members of Parliament, and other senior government officials, I would like to recommend that those who are trying to convince us the increase is just and fair, that it was transparent, that we should trust you, should have another read of GHK Lall’s succinct and cogent article – “The 50% increase is not reflective of genuine change”.
I have taken the liberty to quote extensively from this piece because it expressed so convincingly my feelings about promises of change made and already promises not kept.
No matter how Messers Harmon, Trotman or Jordan try to spin it, and claim justification for the increase at this time in the infancy of this new government, we are not buying it. And we are not buying it because that is not what you promised. As Mr. Lall has so forcefully stated, because of our past collective experiences in this land of Guyana, “The word change has come to represent the national watchword,…. This word also embodies to the core the nation’s expectations, its hopes; it registers the thorough disgust with all of the political nuances, subterfuges, and abuses that were so characteristic of bygone days. Those crippling days and interminable years of wrath and woe must now be bygone in truth and in fact. They cannot continue.”
This is how it burns in my soul. It seems that as soon as politicians get the power to rule, their thinking and thus behaviour become obtuse to the voices of the same people they promised to do so much for. At this time in our history, I was hoping for a different outcome. Since being in power, this government has not done much to impress. Granted, they’ve been only four or five months at the helm. They are growing into the job; with Junior Ministers learning from Senior Ministers and various issues cropping up daily that need immediate attention. We are prepared to cut them some slack. But, to pay themselves first before proving their mettle? Mr. Harmon’s rationale was …..
Again, Mr. Lall said it best. ….. “The interpretations and expectations of change are all encompassed by change in thinking, change in attitudes, change in vision, change in message, change in behaviour, and change in methodology. We have had the absolute worst, for the most part, of all of these in the last two decades. No more! No more! No more please!”
I believe that there should be a comprehensive review of pay scales for parliamentarians and other senior government officials. I also believe they can very well live on their current salaries, plus the other immediate benefits granted to them. Ordinary Guyanese are living on far less and most are not motivated to steal to get by.
It’s been almost four weeks since this brouhaha started. According to one writer, it should last about six weeks and Guyanese will have forgotten and moved on. I hope not! If we want to bring about lasting change, we have to let our voices be heard consistently and sustain the charge. Not menacingly, but with purpose and direction. If ‘we are the change we’ve been hoping for’, then this gives us an opportunity as civil society to organize ourselves in our communities and work with those who govern us to bring about the change we want for the betterment of our country.
With clarity GHK Lall offers up that,
….”Authentic public change derives from, is powered by, change deep within. Change cannot be an easy convenient surrogate for abstraction or political euphemism or political selfishness.
It is about what can be done to lift the spirits of the people, to empower them, and to give them that feeling in the gut, if not the soul, that their interests are paramount. That those elected will care more about them, than about themselves.
That they will move to address this abomination, now securely lodged as a bone in the throat. Now that would be surely indicative of real change, through the listening and then the acting.”
This young government has the opportunity to grow with us. Avoid making certain decisions as if you are in a cloistered environment. Consult, talk with us. Let us know what you’re thinking. Have a consciousness of conscience about us (we, the people), as you go about making decisions on our behalf. If that kind of change can be sustained during your five-year tenure, you are sure to have us on your side during the next five to ten years.
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I refer readers to my column titled, “Claudette Singh, Lennox Shuman, GECOM and tragic Guyana” of Saturday, February... more
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