There are indications that the government is continuing very hard to clean up the mess it inherited. Several audit reports have revealed that there was massive corruption, thievery and waste of the taxpayers’ money in almost every government agency and department. And although many in the public have witnessed the efforts to recover stolen public assets, some continue to criticize the administration’s policies because of a number of glaring mistakes.
The appointment of 27 ministers to govern a population of only 750,000 is definitely too many. This is addition to nine municipalities and 62 Neighborhood Democratic Councils which are also part of governance in the country. The Ministries of Business, Social Cohesion and Citizenship should not have been created. Instead, there should have been a Ministry for youths, who are 65 percent of the population, and economic development, which is needed for structured advancement.
It is worthy to note that there are 30 ministers in Canada which has a population of 36 million people and a semi-robust economy. When in opposition, the government had stated that Guyana has a donkey-cart economy which could not bear the financial burdens generated by the former regime.
The 50 percent increase in salaries for ministers was considered a major mistake by the government. It came too soon in the eyes of many. It was offensive to the poor and the working class, especially to civil servants, nurses and teachers etc. who are struggling to survive. Those same persons were told not to expect significant increases in salaries. This is hypocritical and it appears that the government has not learned from the mistakes of others. It continues to ignore the lessons of history and in doing so, it is damaging its credibility.
Either it is obsessed with power or it does not listen to the people. Its appointment of 32 of its supporters in the diaspora as ministerial advisors last year and its recent appointment of a businessman as a business advisor to the government and then rescind it a day after it is revealed in the media, is poor governance. And for the minister to label the appointments as “honorific” titles is mind-boggling.
The Minister of State was somehow allowed to make decisions unilaterally without the approval of the cabinet? What academic training or knowledge do these almost three dozen ministerial advisers in the diaspora have that qualify them to advise the government?
It was instructive, and spoke volumes that the Prime Minister and Minister of Business, along with cabinet were not apprised of the local appointment.
The people voted for change and not for an exchange of government. Despite public criticism, the government continues to appoint pensioners and military personnel to senior positions, while many youths who voted overwhelmingly for change in 2015 are denied opportunities in the government. Many are frustrated and did not vote in the LGE.
Plain and simple, the government has made far too many rookie mistakes. It must have grown up by now. How for instance can it say that it is satisfied with the LGE results when in fact it took six parties in the coalition to defeat the PPP by only 4,506 votes in the 2015 Regional and General Elections but the PPP defeated the coalition by 29,000 votes in the LGE? Is this rational thinking? The government for reasons that are becoming more obvious is experiencing trouble with the existing playing field and if it does not make changes in personnel, it will lose credibility and the confidence of the people. There are mixed emotions.
Yesterday’s seizure of vehicles by GRA suggests that there may be a ray of hope in terms of transparency and accountability. The rule of law must be observed. Guyana must never again spiral out of control.
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