Oct 04, 2021 Editorial
Kaieteur News – We talk a lot about numerous reform programmes in this country. But of one kind of reform, Guyanese powers and Guyanese citizens do not speak of at all, but tiptoe around gingerly. We point to the most urgent need for leadership reform in Guyana, only to find ourselves to be alone and with no takers.
We support the need for constitutional reform. But it is now clear that constitutional reform only finds solid ground and loud voices, when the traumas of elections brutalize us, and leave us with the understanding of how pathetic we look before friends, neighbours, and the world. The problem is that many obstacles remain before genuine constitutional reform can come about, and they all originate with leaders being bent on crafting reforms that suit their purposes, and provide them with alleyways in which to run and hide, or to leverage for political and other mischiefs. Our crooked-minded leaders stand in the way.
Alongside constitutional reform, there are calls for serious campaign finance reform that means powerful interests in business and other pivotal sectors in Guyana’s landscape can no longer give so much so secretly to leaders and political parties that those leaders and groups are beholden to. Our raging 2020 elections provided a hotbed of details of how much was given, and the tainted people and areas from which countless millions were accepted by the two major Guyanese political groups. The post-election environment, a mere year later, confirms that leaders in Guyana’s Government are so indebted to their donors, that they have already bent over backwards to repay, to the detriment of citizens and the state. It is not that our leaders in government are repaying multimillion dollar monetary donations made during last year’s elections season out of their own pockets or party coffers. They are doing so with lavish gifts of land and delivery of valuable areas in the rich resources of the state. Those gifts empower recipients to become still bigger Princes and Dukes in their own rights. To engage in legitimate and impactful campaign finance reform with limits, conditions, transparencies, and penalties attached is a commendable exercise. But none of these can occur to the degree necessary, when other than for some cosmetics and nothing more, the people to make such possible are warped political leaders in the government and opposition, who leave no stone unturned to maintain things just the way they are.
It is the same situation with judicial reform and, as usual, any such reform is not about what is wholesome for all Guyanese, but what could prove invaluable in times of crunch. That is, when the reforms are so skewed, and the people benefiting from needed judicial reform turn out to be more cronies, more of those lacking in independence, and those who can be counted on to decide or rule along partisan lines. One of the most troubling and embarrassing example of this is the longstanding one, which involves the acting appointments of the two highest judicial offices in this country, meaning those of Chancellor of the Judiciary and Chief Justice. Some situations have to be called out in the frankest of terms for what they are. When judicial officers of one crucial level or another have to be appointed, there are these endless delays and blaming across the political leadership divide about who is in the wrong, and who is preventing the process from moving along to higher ground. The hang-ups, from the perspective of one leader and side or the other, could be those to be considered are the wrong color, presumed to be about wrong politics and which leads to the automatic conclusion that they would be the wrong choices. It is not about the law, or what is best for country, but what serves leadership visions and their party’s interests the most. In sum, the record is that unreformed leaders are the biggest stumbling block to any reforms planned for here. Our political leaders are compromised and crooked, frauds and falsifiers and given to pretending and misleading citizens. Our leaders must be reformed. Their characters must be reformed. Their sense of honor, fair play, and integrity all must be reformed. Without those, Guyana goes nowhere.
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