In Guyana it seems that the government is playing with fire in that it has failed to honor its promise to be transparent, accountable, reforming the constitution and respect for the people and the media. And there is no redemption or change on the part of the government. Many in the cabinet believe that they are doing a better job than their predecessor, which is true, but to make such comparison is naïve and ridiculous.
The PPP administration under Jagdeo mismanaged the affairs of the state and used the country’s resources to enrich themselves, relatives and friends. At the time, corruption was so rampant at all government departments and agencies that Guyana became the second most corrupt government in the Caribbean after Haiti.
Therefore,it is unwise and highly irrational for the opposition leader to accuse this government of corruption. He should be the last person in Guyana to do so, given what they did to the people and the country.
However, despite the drug bond scandal, the controversial trip to China and the 50 percent increase in salaries for some ministers, the government signed a lopsided contract with the US oil giant, ExxonMobil and released it a year after. Such actions have betrayed the interest of the public and could have very serious consequences in future.
After three years in office, there has been a faint attempt to reform the constitution, which was a major campaign issue during the election.
As reported, the president has stated that reforming the constitution could weaken his authority to govern the nation effectively. This was the familiar theme of the previous government which stated that the constitution should not be tampered with. But now in opposition, the PPP has called for changes to the constitution just as this government did when in opposition
In a true democracy, leaders are supposed to give interviews to the media on the state of the nation, but the President has been accused of only doing one in almost three years. This is an accusation that is not new. It has been bandied around by the media, including this publication for more than two years.
It is not an accusation that is related to his leadership, but one that is clearly questioning his capacity and integrity to lead the nation. It can be easily put to rest if the President has nothing to hide and decides to have more press conferences. Such accusations cannot be brushed aside or ignored because it could mushroom into a fiasco for the administration.
Leadership has played a pivotal role in post-independence Guyana and we have been blessed with a few excellent leaders. Despite some human flaws they might have had, or instances where some controversy might have surfaced, they were never found to be individuals who shunned the media, even though their credibility and integrity were brought into disrepute.
Former US Secretary of State, Colin Powel said: “Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers who can cut through argument, debate and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand.”
The President might have his detractors, especially where his leadership style and his ability to communicate are concerned, but he should not shun the media or else he would lose credibility and public trust.
In his seminal book, The 48 Laws of Power, Robert Greene warned leaders “not to leave their reputation to chance or gossip, because it is their life’s artwork, they must craft it, hone it and display it with the care of an artist.”In politics, this is crucial for effective leadership.
It is true that the government is not enjoying its greatest popularity, and even though it maintains a strong political base, it cannot take the people for granted or leave any stone unturned in its effort to remain in office.
A week is a long time in politics, and the government has two years to put this issue to rest. It owes this not only to its constituents, but to the entire country.
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