>>>Encouraging Events, Disturbing Developments<<<
By GHK Lall
Kaieteur News – The banner caption encouraged: “Potable water for the first time in Esau and Jacob, Mahaicony” (KN October 11). It is still surprising that, after the money spent annually, some communities are still without something as basic as potable water in their homes. Without exhuming what is dead and gone, this is heartening to me; soon those other communities without this staple of life will be clamouring for relief, too. It is encouraging that the government’s Housing Ministry moved quickly and meaningfully on this.
I read of encouraging events in Region Six COVID-19 cash distribution. That it is house-to-house, with a registration process for accountability, and National ID cards required to tighten what appears to be a solid process, with cash paid immediately. Seems like much red tape removed and an audit trail developed. It would be still more encouraging to learn of some preliminary arrangements for dealing satisfactorily with our many strapped and expectant tenants (legitimate ones). I recommend that some fixed process be finalized and publicized in time for attending to the more highly populated regions. It would be most encouraging that when this is over that the monies spent are accounted for and reconcilable.
The announcement of eight new permanent secretaries brought what was both encouraging and disturbing. On the positive side, I noticed a mix of youth, gender, and colour reflective of Guyana’s demographic rainbow. Like the cabinet, I applaud the combinations placed before citizens that will be responsible for spearheading and performing some extremely sensitive, demanding and controversial duties. The latter is now an inevitable part of public service territory. But these appointments also introduce the disturbing, which the Opposition criticized. As I agree I am intrigued that the opposition hides in the woodwork on the material oil matters of Guyana.
Those PS appointments disturb because they have to cope with, be expert on, voluminous public service rules. None of the eight have had the comprehensive exposure of years of experience and grooming in the public service itself to assume the top. I acknowledge they are young, which means they are green. I suspect that they are yellow, as in coming with a possibly jaundiced view to the job, which impinges on their independence and strength, and inhibits their courage to disagree with those responsible for their elevation. Ministers in all government are not among the cleanest tools in the shed, nor the more principled people around. This is where permanent secretaries justify their existence, as check and balance. I am disturbed to conclude that these newcomers are not best suited to represent the people’s interest foremost. What disturbs more is that the specter of them becoming doormats for political bosses to steer in crooked directions looks highly likely. The skills and backbone to resist are missing.
Also, there are things that disturb in the developments surrounding the former PS at the Tourism Ministry. At the PS level, it sounds heavy-handed to summon the police; but no PS should subject self to such indignity. As much as I empathize with returning to remove ‘personal items’ that should have been done before. I add this for my fellow Guyanese: on Wall Street, anyone asked to leave (Managing Director or junior) is escorted out of office and building immediately. They cannot return since all access is automatically blocked from the doors, turnstiles, floors, and every system. Why not?
Last, nothing disturbs more than the Opposition’s oil (professed) ignorance. This is not inspiring for supporters or citizens. If it doesn’t know, and it should, then it must move heaven and earth to do so quickly. Continuing with this charade is the height of self-serving, three-card trickeries. What do we have here for an opposition, if not a disturbing joke?
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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