Sigmund Freud wrote that action and motive are inherently intertwined. They cannot be separated but when they are, the mind gets into profound trouble. A simple, hypothetical example should suffice. When you pay a supermarket cashier that is the action. The motive is that you are paying her for an item you want. If you go to her and pay and there is no purchase, motive and action have been separated.
Is the collective mind of APNU+AFC in deep trouble? Let’s see if it is, by the unpalatable decision as the final hours of 2016 passed into history, to retain NICIL and keep the name itself. To argue that this is a manifestation of unimaginative politics where motive and action are disjointed, one has to go back to the name changes of the ministries.
Public Works was changed into Public Infrastructure. The only logic in that was to give the ordinary folks an acquaintance with the word, “infrastructure.” What was essentially wrong with the word, “Works,” that “infrastructure” had to replace it? I don’t know the reason and I am not aware there was ever a published one. But I am really curious to know why the name change.
Ministry of Health became Ministry of Public Health. That is misleading, and someone thought he/she was being smart and innovative. The Ministry of Health does not deal with public delivery of health care only. It regulates health care and health delivery and the world of medicine in Guyana, whether private or public. Private hospitals and private pharmacies come under the jurisdiction of the Health Ministry. So why not leave it as Ministry of Health?
After APNU+AFC got into Government, someone became fascinated with the word “public.” We have the Ministry of Public Security replacing Ministry of Home Affairs. The phrase, “Home Affairs,” may be misleading and confusing; we just lived with it for over 50 years. Nothing is wrong in changing it, but why not Ministry of General Security or National Security (as it is in Trinidad)? Why public security, when that ministry has jurisdiction over all types of security arrangements in Guyana including the private sphere?
Ministry of Local Government became Ministry of Communities. For centuries now people all over the world have come to know that there are central government and local government and the latter is about local municipalities.
One can argue that the label, “communities”, is misleading, because that Ministry is about local government; twist it or turn it. Now here comes the biggest mystery of them and it calls into question motive and action.
President Granger briefly alluded to the justification of Home Affairs into Public Security. He referred to its colonial derivative. But what about Office of the Attorney General? Is that more acceptable than Home Affairs? What about Office of the Public Attorney since someone loves the word, “public”? Why not scrap Office of the Attorney General and stick to the Ministry of Legal Affairs?
Anyway let’s look at NICIL.
I am convinced that there are unimaginative minds inside the leadership of the government and those limitations are playing into the hands of the opposition. Someone or some persons in the APNU+AFC leadership is/are deficient in the art of strategizing and the knowledge of how to use psychology in politics.
NICIL had negative connotations in the era of Presidents Jagdeo and Ramotar. Anti–NICIL rhetoric as a campaign tactic paid off for the APNU+AFC campaign. With fantastic reporting by this newspaper and other media outlets, the Guyanese people saw this outlet as a mechanism for government to escape parliamentary scrutiny. It was described as a government within a government. It was seen as a source of immense corruptibility.
The AFC, in particular, won votes from white collar Indians and decent Indian businessman because of the misuse of public funds through the manipulation of NICIL’s money. NICIL left a bad taste in the mouth of the nation. Why does the new government want to keep it? It has rejected the recommendation of the forensic auditor, Mr. Anand Goolsarran (wonder how he feels, after all he wrote against it during the reign of the PPP) to abolish it.
Well alright, it wants to preserve NICIL and its functions, but why not change the name because of its distasteful and Machiavellian role under Jagdeo. Why not take it out of the psychology of the nation? You want to retain its functions but its name does not travel well, so change it. For me, this is elementary use of psychology in political strategizing. Unimaginative minds never produce ideas that change the world.
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