Over the past week, there has been a back and
forth playing out in the media regarding ap
pointments being made to State boards, with charges being leveled against each other by the PPP government and the PNC-led main opposition party.
For its part, the People’s Progressive Party has started out on the right foot in a sense.
The inclusion of small parties, particularly those who did not earn representation in Parliament, on State boards shows a level of inclusiveness that thankfully runs counter to the party’s tendency towards hegemony and exclusion as was demonstrated when it was previously in government.
The parliamentary opposition, newly minted Leader of the Opposition, Joseph Harmon in particular, has stated that no invitation has been extended by the government so far to have APNU+AFC representation on the State boards currently being appointed.
While it is good that a political opposition should interrogate the government of the day to the fullest possible degree, the macabre theatre and rhetoric of the past five months have painted Mr. Harmon and his coterie into a corner.
In order to keep up the farce fed to its supporters that there was ‘massive fraud’ in the elections, intended to benefit the now government, the main parliamentary opposition has to simultaneously claim that the executive government is illegal while saying that the said government is being discriminatory in not using its presumably legal fiat to appoint members of the same opposition to State boards.
This is a nonsensical and intrinsically self-defeating position to take, particularly by the Leader of the Opposition whose office, constitutionally, comes under the Executive.
There is the old proverb, you cannot have your cake and eat it too.
Arguing that a government is illegal and the product of fraud and then in the same breath complaining that the illegal government is not appointing you to what are legally defined positions is illogical at best. Whether or not, as Harmon has argued, there is a statutorily defined role for the opposition on certain State boards, the very same statute gives the executive, legally elected as such, authority to make those appointments.
On the other hand, we find as unhelpful and perhaps petulant Minister of Governance Gail Teixeira’s comments that government’s refusal to offer the Coalition representation on boards that do not require a statutory presence of the opposition was based on the Coalition’s refusal to accept the legitimacy of the government.
What Harmon, the now even more elusive David Granger, and the rest of the coalition leadership engaged in for five months after the elections was despicable, yes, but that is for the law to deal with.
When it comes to appointments to State boards, the PPP only tarnishes the standard of inclusiveness, which it is setting in involving small parties and civil society by using the opposition’s postures as a rationale for excluding them from even a single State board.
The invitation to the Harmon’s office should at least have been extended as a gesture of good faith that the new government can easily afford – whether the opposition chooses to refuse it in the interest of theatricality should be left to them.
The APNU+AFC secured the votes of 217,000 Guyanese, just under 50 percent of the electorate, in the last elections – the PPP government needs to recognize this and start acting like it.
The APNU+AFC secured the votes of 217,000 Guyanese, just under 50 percent of the electorate, in the last elections – the APNU+AFC opposition needs to recognize this and start acting like it.
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