The PNCR and the AFC have failed to take advantage of the opportunity to make substantive changes to its future leadership team. If you scrutinise the national top-up list of the APNU+AFC, you will come to the conclusion that it is most likely that the present crop of Ministers will return if the Coalition is re-elected.
The list of candidates of the APNU+AFC does not reveal many new competitors for Cabinet seats. Wholesale changes to the make-up of the Executive are therefore most unlikely. Most of the present crop of Ministers, barring a few who have already been sidelined, are likely to be returned.
Granger has been handicapped by a weakened supporting cast. He simply does not have the same number of quality Ministers which Forbes Burnham and Desmond Hoyte commanded. Within the present Cabinet, there are few persons with the talent of a Sonny Ramphal, Mohammed Shahabudeen, Hubert Jack, Vibert Mingo, Gavin Kennard, Frank Hope and Fred Wills.
Quite honestly, I do not believe that some of the Ministers within the Granger government would have ever been allowed to hold high office in either the Burnham or Hoyte administrations.
There is a shortage of skills within the government bureaucracy. The government is paying persons super-salaries. And yet the Green State Development Strategy had to have been outsourced to the United Nations Environmental Programme.
The foreign organization produced a document that is more a report than a strategy. The government knows that what was handed over cannot be used as a strategy and therefore it has had to come up with new slogan called the Decade of Development.
It makes no sense having strategies and slogans unless there is the requisite implementation capacity. The government is being humbugged by an implementation deficit within government.
Poor implementation ratios have stymied the Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP). It is utterly disgraceful that at a time when young people are crying out for jobs, large sums should be returned to the Consolidated Fund each year. These sums could have been used as investment to create jobs.
The problem of poor implementation has affected successive PNC governments. The government has paid a high price for stacking the public service with political appointees, many of whom do not have clue what they are about. The result has been a bottleneck to project implementation. It is no coincidence that after 5 years, the APNU+AFC has been criticised for not undertaking any major, new developmental projects.
The greatest disappointment, however, has been government’s economic policies. The government has persisted with the same economic model developed by the PPPC. Therefore, it should not have expected different results. The APNU+AFC has continued on the path of begging and borrowing – both locally and internationally – which was made famous by the PPPC.
You cannot be doing the same thing, which the PPPC did and expect different results. There needs to be change in the economic direction of the economy but the list of candidates do not suggest that this likely if the APNU+AFC is returned to power.
Unfortunately, when you look at the names on the APNU+AFC list, it does not inspire any confidence that there will be a change. And so we can expect the same old problems of a weak supporting cast, poor project implementation and the same old tired neo-liberal policies which continue to benefit the construction class more than it does the ordinary man.
It would be interesting if instead of only naming its Prime Ministerial candidate, the APNU+AFC can also give the public an idea of just what its Cabinet will look like after March 2020. You can bet that most of the present crop of Ministers are likely to be returned.
Keep your eyes on Venezuela!
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By Sir Ronald Sanders (The writer is Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United States and the Organization of American... more
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