Any academic or political observer who attempts to compare the honesty of David Granger with Presidents Hoyte, Cheddi Jagan, Janet Jagan, and
Prime Minister Sam Hinds, will run into formidable polemical waves. In his Stabroek News letter of Tuesday, May 14, Ruel Johnson took oceanic liberties in eulogising David Granger, which cannot be verified by facts.
Here is what Johnson wrote; “I believe that what we have in President Granger is what we have not had too often in politics, an intelligent and fundamentally decent leader with a genuine vision for the people of Guyana“. I acknowledge the right of Johnson to possess that opinion, but I hold a contrary one. Honest leaders in Guyanese politics are not a rare sight. I don’t know Johnson’s age, but I am assuming he was a grown up person in Guyana after 1985.
Desmond Hoyte was as honest as Granger and was more intelligent, with a more genuine vision than Granger. Cheddi Jagan and Janet Jagan had tremendous intolerance for corruption and had no interest in having wealth. Sam Hinds was a simple Prime Minister who was not corrupt. I would advise Johnson to do some research on the honesty of these people.
When it comes to political flaws, Granger is not above the two Jagans. I will leave out Hinds, because he was not a substantial president. David Granger is as cunning as the Jagans, a negative trait I don’t think Hoyte had much of. I will move off of a comparison between Granger and the other presidents and concentrate on Granger’s tenure, but some comparative notes are in order.
Of the three PNC presidents, Granger is billions of miles behind Burnham and Hoyte. Of the six presidents – Burnham, Hoyte, the two Jagans, Jagdeo and Ramotar – he is last on the list of having his hand on the pulse and an acute sense of awareness of what is taking place in the classroom of power. Of the six presidents listed above, all had prodigious exposure to power realities and the political vagaries of Guyana. Look at the experience of these six presidents before they became president. Unfortunately, Granger’s involvement in politics prior to his presidency is almost non-existent.
Here now is my analysis of David Granger, the politician. I agree with Johnson that Granger has a vision for Guyana, but I don’t think it is a stunning, transformative vision. I don’t think it is a vision that is impressive. Secondly, unlike the other six presidents (sorry to go back to a comparison), Granger has a more open embrace of economics that are antithetical to the masses and the poorer classes. I doubt if the pro-capitalist presidencies of Hoyte and Jagdeo had continued, they would have been so crudely neo-liberal as Granger.
Thirdly, I am uneasy about the multi-racial credentials of Granger. Like all previous presidents, he plays the race card. Fourthly, I suspect that Granger has a modicum of colonial values that are irrelevant to a country like Guyana. This columnist knows for a fact that he is the sole reason why the amendment to the section on the penalty of the anti-narcotics law with regards to small amounts of marijuana has not been passed. He should have the courage and decency to defend what he believes in public.
Fifthly, Granger plays incestuous politics like his two immediate predecessors. It is one thing to continue to do what your predecessors have done; it is another thing when your choices are banal and mediocre. Granger’s diplomatic appointments have been a disaster for this country. Many other high-level selections were simply wrong and they have hurt Guyana’s human resource expansion.
Sixthly, I am confused about his adulation of Burnham, when he emulates none of Burnham’s ideological endeavours, only Burnham’s one-dimensional approach to power. He has converted his private home to accommodate four foundations to perpetuate the legacy of Burnham. But he has abandoned Burnham’s economic directions. I suspect he accepts Burnham’s perspective on power retention.
Burnham’s fundamental fault is that he did not accept the plurality of power. Whether it was driven by Machiavellian philosophy or pragmatic considerations, Burnham did not accept that power must be shaped by the input of what takes place in society, but by its possessor only. My fixed opinion is that Granger wanted a GECOM Chairman to do his bidding. In another column, I will look at the possibility of a rigged election under Granger.
Finally, I would classify Granger as a president without leadership qualities, who is not the right person to lead oil-rich Guyana. The PNC is divided and denuded and Granger will be chosen. Neither he nor Irfaan Ali should lead this crying nation.
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