The style of governance since political independence has not been conducive to development. It is ill-suited for modernisation.
Given the expansive nature of relations and issues which governments have to address, there is a need for greater devolution of power. Centralised government can no longer cope with the multiple, overlapping and multilayered aspects of governance.
Governments today are dealing with ten times the number of issues that was dealt with, say thirty years ago.
At the same time, the size of the government bureaucracy in most developed states is shrinking. Part of this shrinkage is due to the adoption of modern technology which is displacing workers and cutting costs.
Guyana, however, is going in the opposite direction. The more modern the bureaucracy, the more swollen and overstaffed it becomes. The more complex government becomes, the more centralised is decision-making. The greater the demands on resources, the bigger the bureaucracy.
The public bureaucracy is now a cancer. It is sucking the life out of public administration. Merely keeping this inefficient and revenue-guzzling monstrosity alive is costing taxpayers in excess of 500 million dollars per day.
This is wanton wastage. That money could have been put to help boost private sector development to create jobs for the thousands of young people who are unemployed. The more the government implements technology, the more inefficient it becomes.
It is all part of what is known as cake shop management. Take for example the situation on our roads today. There is a major problem with congestion into, out of and within the city. The authorities do not have a comprehensive plan to deal with this issue. They have had over four years to develop such a plan. They have not.
Correspondingly, there is a need for expanded infrastructure to address traffic control, regulate public transport vehicles and reduce accidents.
Now these are multiple problems, which means that the responsibility for dealing with these problems should be devolved to lower levels so that decisions can be taken and many things done at the same time. An integrated approach is needed with simultaneous action on many fronts and at all levels. Instead, what is taking place is that decision-making is centralised and one decision is being made at a time.
Guyana is going to continue to be left behind the rest of the world. The country will retrogress and we will always be in a fire fighting mode rather than ensuring forward thinking and planning.
A country today simply cannot be run like a cake shop. The world is too modern, and too many things are taking place to allow for such a style of governance.
Once the policy is made by the government, the mechanics should be left to lower level officials who should be held accountable for ensuring its implementation and who should be held responsible for any failures.
Things have got to change in Guyana and this change has to begin at the top because this is where the main problem is.
There is a great deal to be done; there are the resources to do most of it. What is required is for faster decision-making so as to allow for multitasking. Guyana cannot go forward with the stone age way of doing things..
If Guyana wants to become a modern developed society, it has to dump traditional ways of doing things. You cannot overtax the business sector and still expect jobs.
You cannot hassle Cubans, for example, who are coming to Guyana and expect that they will continue to keep the business sector afloat. You cannot push around potential investors and expect them to invest in the economy.
Plantain chips and breadfruit chips and other small businesses cannot make the economy grow. It cannot generate the massive jobs needed to impact on unemployment. It will not lift large numbers out of poverty. This is a catch-hand approach to helping poor people.
Cake shop management cannot run a modern economy. Never has; never will.
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