The more President Granger expands on his way of thinking about important things in the country, the more difficult it is to fathom his mind. It is either Mr. Granger is unaware of his contradictions or he doesn’t care.
Let’s quote the president; “I’m in favour of reform but we must adopt the architecture, we must adopt the procedures which are in place for other constitutional commissions… We can consider the reform of GECOM. We still work under the Carter formula which clearly appeared to have exhausted its usefulness….It is not a formula for consensus. It is almost a formula for gridlock so there needs to be a change.”
If the Carter blueprint is anathema to fostering agreement and achieving consensus then what President Granger did was more unstable and dangerous. Let’s examine the Carter formula. It stipulates the Opposition Leader advances a set of names, and the president chooses one that he/she is comfortable with to be the chairman of GECOM. The most salient characteristic of this mechanism is that there is a level of agreement.
What President Granger did was to dissolve that characteristic thereby creating animosity and suspicion. In fact, when he discarded the traditional Carter method for the acceptance of the GECOM chairman, the Opposition Leader was so incensed that he declared immediate non-cooperation with the government. If as Granger said that the Carter approach is recipe for gridlock, then our vibrant press should ask Granger if his unilateral appointment of a chairman hasn’t expanded the gridlock process.
Here you have a president that departed from a procedure that despite its weak areas has worked since it was born in 1992. His rejection of the tradition has created a tense environment yet he refuses to see that his approach has exacerbated the politics of suspicion and disruption. Any analyst who is competent will tell you that the ditching of the Carter formula for selecting the GECOM chairman is going to be used by the PPP during the upcoming local and national elections to devastate the AFC.
It is only a self-deceiving person that will admit that the PPP’s lamentation of what Granger did will not adversely affect the AFC’s electoral chances. In leaving this discussion of the Cater formula, it is necessary to stress the words of the President, “I’m in favour of reform.” What he did was not reform but deform.
Mr. Granger also said at his press conference last Friday that; “There is no proposal on the table for power sharing, whatever that is but certainly in terms of inclusionary democracy, I would continue to engage the Leader of the Opposition to ensure that important elements in society and the economy are discussed and we share ideas; it is better to say there is an idea-sharing proposal rather than a power-sharing proposal,”
This statement is coming from a leader who arrogated to himself the privilege to fill an extremely important state vacancy in the energy sector with two types of criticism leveled against him.
First, the government consultant of petroleum, Dr. Jan Mangal, told the media that there was agreement in March this year to globally advertise the position. Secondly, the Stabroek News quotes someone from the group of five ministers that were overlooking the energy sector as saying the group was not consulted on the choice of the president.
One wonders how much sharing of ideas, President Granger engages in when he insisted in interpreting the constitution the way he wants to.
He was inflexible that the words “any other fit and proper person” in relation to the criteria for appointing the GECOM chairman denote that such a person must have a background as a judge or have judge like qualities. But the people who interpret the constitution for the society – the courts- ruled that the words carry no such meaning. Mr. Granger had his way. He chose a former judge. It was not the moment when he thought of sharing ideas.
It was this same president that shut out any discussion of the idea of changing the section of the law to lessen the penalty for possession of small amounts of marijuana. When told that countries are moving in that direction and the idea was put to him that Guyana should do also, he rejected studying the idea. He simply said that Guyana must be careful what it adopts from other places.
The amendment to the law was drafted and put on the order paper of the House two years ago as part of the AFC’s doing. It doesn’t appear that Granger and the AFC shared the same idea back then.
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