Director-General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Joe Harmon, had the temerity to exit a ‘Cabinet’ meeting held 325 days after his party’s government fell to a no-confidence vote and question whether former President Bharrat Jagdeo could serve as a Vice-President in an Irfaan Ali administration.
Harmon said: “It is testing the patience of the Guyanese people and their tolerance for lawlessness, because clearly there is a decision by the Caribbean Court of Justice that says that this gentleman [Jagdeo] cannot be the President or Prime Minister. That is really getting through the backdoor”- the irony of his statement was lost on him.
Later that same day, Jagdeo held his weekly press conference and fielded a barrage of questions on diverse issues such as the renegotiation of the Liza PSA; how continuous registration differs from house-to-house; what’s his take on relations with CARICOM going forward- a smorgasbord of would/should/could on every national issue.
President David Granger is never asked these questions, for he rarely holds press conferences and the few interviews Granger has allowed have been notable for the paucity of new information and lack of specificity on any issues- Granger sloganeers, Jagdeo, in contrast, provides minute details.
It has become clear that the Office of the Leader of the Opposition is the hardest working, most cognizant and effective arm of government.
The Kaieteur News front-page headline for example, ‘Jagdeo selective on oil contracts renegotiations’ is a result of reporters subconsciously channeling the will of the people, a primal scream for help.
There is a collective consciousness in Guyana that we are not getting the leadership, which we need at this crucial juncture.
There can only be a handful of people who believe that the Granger administration can run a ‘cake shop’ and even those who do, expect it to be with the aid of a battalion of highly paid foreign consultants.
The only projects undertaken during the Granger administration have been the continuation of past PPP projects such as the CJIA extension (bungled); the East Coast and East Bank road projects (behind completion deadlines); the Hinterland ICT hubs provided for and funded by the LCDS.
Granger could have stuck with and even expanded the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), an innovative, world-leading conservation initiative.
Instead, Granger abandoned a programme that earned US$250M and had the potential to earn even more, in favour of an idealistic, incomprehensible consultant provided Green State Strategy.
For most Guyanese, this is the various methods we use to ensure our last remaining (green) $5000 bill is not spent before the next payday- it is an avoidance of the ‘broke’ state.
The majority of our population would benefit for the aforementioned Ogle Bypass road, a project that had US$50M in financing and an approved design sitting on David Patterson’s desk when he assumed office in 2015- it is now 2019. Patterson has not completed a foot of that essential new road. He has delayed, procrastinated and prevaricated in every possible manner.
The road has been redesigned, expanded, and fiddled with endlessly, the cost moved from the $50M grant from the Government of India to $120 M and beyond.
It has cost us millions of US dollars to date but not one yard of the road has been built to date.
As Guyanese sit with growing frustration in the East Bank traffic jams daily, they should consider the same level of incompetence has no new Demerara Harbour Bridge design approved as yet, again, many millions spent with nothing to show for it.
One trillion, two hundred million in budgeted expenditure (excluding loans) and no progress is a failing report card.
Granger did not foster talent and capability in his administration.
The genius bureaucrat who got the Berbice Bridge, the Marriott Hotel built and who would have had the Amaila Falls Hydro pushing 168 Megawatts of power into our electricity grid by 2018, Winston Brassington, was arraigned on ludicrous charges of selling land at less than market value to the investors of the MovieTowne mall.
The same mall where there was a seeming APNU/AFC convention on opening night.
Granger and his cohorts know nothing about building.
They were a poor opposition, failing to read project documents and instead relied on newspaper reports to make judgments.
The country lost years of progress when APNU/AFC became the majority in Parliament; it lost its way when they became the Government.
Irfaan Ali has taken up the mantle of leadership in the PPP.
His style is team-oriented, and he will expect those who work with him to deliver results based on a well-planned manifesto of promises.
Granger and the AFC are huddled in back-rooms dividing the ministries of the nation’s government as if they were spoils of war, instead of the commitment of service to the nation. APNU/AFC has delivered nothing because they lack the integrity, work ethic and capability to conceive of and deliver projects on any scale.
The country is crying for leadership with vision, capability, and ability to deliver. Elections are on the 2nd of March 2020.
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