Aug 07, 2020 Editorial
The much-anticipated new cabinet is almost complete. At the crux of it, there is identification of future movers and shakers, of those entrusted to pilot forward. While, on the surface, these are the things that immediately come to mind, there is so much more that goes into, or should, in any new cabinet construction and announcement.
Though the cabinet is still incomplete, it is an encouraging blend of veterans and new and youthful faces. It is an eclectic mix of leadership familiar with the ropes, particularly in the crucial health and education sectors, along with the energy and drive that should come from the unknowns eager to prove themselves, such as in Foreign Affairs, Tourism, and Public Works. The people are in place, and now they must prove how innovative and dynamic and trustworthy they are, for the good of all the peoples of this society.
As is usual, there are sure to be the disappointed around, who would feel that they did toil in vain. Nevertheless, both old and new faces must move their respective portfolios forward from where they are, and to make much-needed and significant strides, through principled and patriotic stewardship. Our citizens are hurting badly, and they need immediate assistance.
People need money in their pockets; most do not look for a handout via some state determined stimulus. That helps, but most citizens understand that stimuli are simply stopgap measures quickly absorbed by the burdensome expenses of daily life. What Guyanese are looking for is to go to work and earn a living wage as quickly as possible, in the face of a pandemic that looks increasingly as though it is intensifying, rather than receding.
It is comforting to return to a known Minister of Health, a medical professional. We wait for a confidence-boosting Finance head to chart a path forward that instills freshness and hope. After all, much hinges on these two portfolios, and much expected to be forthcoming. The one man already named and the other (Finance) must be authoritative and decisive, with measures that speak to the practical. After the long national hallucination, all Guyanese need a swift and solid return to reality. Health and Finance decision-makers will set the tone and pave the course; nothing else will do. We think that President Irfaan Ali made a good start in most areas.
In view of the present position with our oil sector, and to a wider degree the natural resources sphere, some serious revisiting and revamping must be introduced and implemented early with what we get from foreign investors exploiting our riches. Mr. Vickram Bharrat, not a local household name, has his work cut out for him. Guyanese need to get more of everything: more returns, more jobs, more relationship respect. Our treasury, communities and infrastructures must come out ahead, along with the training of our own people. We appreciate that the wheel cannot be reinvented in midstream, but we recommend pumping some air in the tyres. To be clear, more air means more money and more of everything that is beneficial to Guyanese. We are at a pivotal stage in the natural resources sector, and the lessons from the past must be studied and applied. This is the key to Guyana’s future prosperity; indeed, it is crucial to our political and societal harmony and progress. This cannot be business as usual, with old nonchalance and lack of clarity that characterized the way we did things in the decades before.
As an aside, we cannot help but notice the pride of place that the former president and now Leader of the Opposition, has reserved for himself. As we see it, his role should be largely invisible and inaudible, if only to allow the new head of state the freedom, dignity, and respect that is due the highest of offices. Because of his past record, we confess to not knowing how such a limited role would sit with him. Quite candidly, already he should content himself with the position of elder statesman, and in-house trainer. He is well-equipped to do so, and especially with an untried president at the helm.
To the president and new cabinet, the word is: lead the way, do not disappoint.
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