Kaieteur News – It is now becoming increasingly obvious why David Granger lost the Presidency. The litany of improper conduct, renegade behaviour, mismanagement, incompetence and personal aggrandizement, which was being practised within his government, conspired to alienate large sections of the population and detracted from the work of serving the people.
It now appears that many of those in senior political positions were more interested in serving themselves first, rather than giving priority to those who elected them. Instead of concentrating on delivering the promises made to the people, some Ministers were busy doing their own thing.
The gifts’ scandal show just how rotten things were from the very inception. This is not simply an issue of government departments lavishing their superiors with expensive gifts. This is malfeasance in public office for which there should be sanctions.
All of this abuse of power was taking place while the government was pussyfooting with development. But at least it explains why the APNU+AFC government could not get a proper grip on the affairs of government. Some of its personnel were busy feathering their own nests.
Not a single major infrastructure project was conceived under the APNU+AFC. Five years elapsed and the Coalition government had nothing to show in the area of major infrastructure projects; all that was done was to complete the projects, which were inherited.
The construction sector was in shambles. It is only now being made public as to how many large contractors were receiving hundreds of millions of dollars who it is now being alleged were delinquent in their work.
Secretive land deals were being made. Prime lands were being given out and in some instances even before full payment had been made and without the consent of the beneficiaries.
Now, the bombshell revelations have emerged that Ministers were being given expensive gifts, including jewellery, electronic items and home furnishings. It is even being alleged that there were demands for certain gifts to be sent on a particular date.
The charges are scandalous. There is nothing wrong with people giving or receiving gifts. But if I am the Director of a company and I receive super-expensive gifts from my staff, I would want to know that it is not the company’s money which was being used. I would never find myself having anyone request any gift on my behalf much less to dictate what that gift should be and when it should be delivered.
Staffers like to show their appreciation. They would usually buy gifts for the boss’s birthday. Nothing wrong with a handbag, a tie or a box of handkerchiefs with the boss’s initials engraved on the hankies. But a cricket band, bed sets and home furnishings, laptops and tablets? If the staff is spending their own money, that is okay. But not the company’s funds!
If any of my staff ever gives me a gold bracelet, I would want to know where the money came from to procure same. You cannot take the company’s money for such extravagance. Perhaps a bouquet of flowers or a pen may pass muster but not expensive jewellery and definitely not beds and other household appliances.
The charges of abuse of public funds, which are now being levelled against the Granger administration, are scandalous. They represent a stain on Granger’s presidency. He is known as an upright man. But these charges are not as contemptible as the AFC’s disgraceful attempt to defend what was taking place.
Certain conduct is indefensible. Leaders have to put distance between themselves and those involved. If the acceptance of expensive gifts does not impugn the integrity of the receiver, then what is to stop a contractor from being extremely generous with government officials, including paying for medical attention in New York?
David Granger was let down by his government. They failed him and are primarily responsible for him becoming a one-term President. He has been betrayed by many of those around him, including those who went jetting to the far corners of the world with powerful business interests; those who were the masterminds behind land giveaways and those who would have signed contracts in violation of the procurements laws unknown to him.
A good leader always should have persons who have an ear to the ground, not to feed him gossip but to let him know what is occurring within his administration. A leader cannot know everything but there are some things, which cannot be kept secret. A strong leader will hold those responsible, including after-the-fact.
David Granger is no longer Leader of the Opposition. But he remains Head of the APNU+AFC’s list. He has the authority under the Constitution to recall or remove persons from that List.
He now has a better idea of who were the vagabonds who led to his downfall as President. He knows also what is now expected of him.
(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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