During his testimony before the US House Intelligence Committee, the former FBI director said that ‘those who do not know are talking, and those who know are not talking”. It seems that he may be reading Freddie Kissoon’s articles in the Kaieteur News. One feature entitled “When you comment on Granger, think of Mrs. Jagan,” which appeared on the September 5, 2018 edition of your paper illustrates my point.
Mr. Kissoon attempts to make the argument that being incorruptible does not necessarily make President Granger a good leader. He went on to compare Mrs. Jagan with the President. He even ventured to suggest that President Granger has ‘authoritarian instincts’. Then he closed his column with a rant about how the Halim Majeed appointment to Cuba ‘was the most outrageous placement in the history of Guyana’s diplomacy’.
But since the main subject is around President Granger’s leadership skills, I shall confine this letter within the scope of presenting a few points that ought to be considered in assessing such skills. While I admit that those who are in the cabinet and who have more direct view of the President’s leadership skills are in the best position to speak on this, I will nonetheless provide a view from the vantage point of someone sitting on the outside and looking at the broader picture.
In assessing President Granger’s leadership skills, we must remember that he is leading a Coalition Government comprised of many competing interests. There are competing interests and beliefs among the members of the various APNU parties, and there are also competing/conflicting interests between APNU and AFC. To keep such a Coalition functioning the way it has over the past three years takes enormous leadership skills. Before the 2015 elections, I was convinced that Guyana needed a leader with David Granger’s temperament, and now after seeing how he has led his Administration, I am even more convinced that he is the right leader for Guyana at this time.
Those of us who have managed large private sector organizations know how difficult it is to get everyone on the same page and moving in the same direction. But leading a private sector organization is not nearly as difficult as leading a Coalition Government. Just look as some of the many challenges with coalition governments in places such as Israel, Germany and even in the UK. Many of them struggle to make significant progress because of the conflicting interests. Guyana is no different, and President Granger must be commended for the work that he is doing in keeping the Coalition together despite pressures from every direction, including a sometimes-hostile media.
Let us look at just a few of the things that have been accomplished during this Administration. First, the police force has, for the first time in decades, begun to be respected by unbiased citizens. They see for example that a woman attempting to bribe an officer investigating a murder case being charged. That was unthinkable during the administration of the incorruptible Janet Jagan. Secondly, the business climate in Guyana has been dramatically improved, with the ease of doing business gradually moving in the right direction. Measures to improve the customs clearing process are major contributors. And finally, no one can argue that the flow of illicit drugs through Guyana has been dramatically reduced. This in itself is a major accomplishment since it involves putting some very powerful people out of business.
So, while the President may not be doing everything that experts like Freddie Kissoon would like, it does not mean that he lacks leadership skills. Furthermore, skills such as leadership and management are often unique to the individual and the circumstances. President Granger has clearly found a method that works for him, and the results should be what matters. Not his style.
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