EYEWITNESS: Unfettered unilateralism…


…at UG

Why isn’t your Eyewitness surprised that UG’s Vice Chancellor, Ivelaw Griffith, has proposed that the Council that oversees his administration of the tertiary institution be drastically reduced in numbers? Well…just that every single action the bow-tied wonder has undertaken at UG since he was catapulted into his position was to promote his accumulation of power! For starters, even before he had time to settle down, the old YSM biggie was awarded a Cacique Crown of Honour!! But then, he’d just made the Army Officer’s training module a UG Diploma…and proposed the army retirement age be raised!!

The reorganisation of the senior staff? That just created a CABINET, of which Griffith’s the head!! The man created FOUR Deputy Vice Chancelleries to serve under him — Academic Engagement, Planning and International Engagement; Philanthropy; Alumni and Civic Engagement; and an Office of Strategic Initiatives!! The salaries of this Cabinet match the salaries of President Granger’s FOUR Vice Presidents!! As to what they actually do to improve the abysmal conditions of UG, don’t ask…that’s for the peons!!

The Renaissance magazine at UG, is it part of his overall Renaissance programme?? This high-priced, glossy monthly has featured an article on Griffith in every single issue!! All it does is burnish his personal crest!! After spending his entire career in the US, where money’s no object, all he’s done is to cog wholesale the programmes of universities up there. The overall “Renaissance” is based on four “Imperatives”: Capital Investment – human capital, physical capital, and brand capital; Academic Enhancement – improving instructional credentials, curricula and pedagogy; Economic Viability – fortifying the major existing revenue streams, and Alumni Engagement. What this means concretely is that Griffith gets to fly frequently into the great yonder (the US) and live high off the hog with his “Cabinet”!!

Now for the miniaturisation of the Council. The PPP had broadened this, back in 1995, to offer representatives of all Guyanese groups and strata an input into our “higher education” content and delivery. He rejected the “Ivory Tower” model cultivated by the West, which simply created a new strata of entitlement! But that’s exactly what Griffith’s all about!! Lord knows he must’ve been chafing to have to account to representatives of trade unions and farmers, for instance. These were riff raff, for God’s sake!! They weren’t ‘credentialised” by folks like him!! How dare they think they had anything worthwhile to tell him!!

He, after all, had his Cabinet – in which, like original literal cabinets of the Kings – only one voice resonated!! But your Eyewitness knows absolutely that Griffith’s will would be done…after all, his sponsor, Granger, is cut from the same cloth as he.
The Burnhamites strike back!

…on oil strategy

It also wasn’t surprising Granger hasn’t renewed the contract of his Advisor on oil – Dr Jan Mangal. Even though born in Guyana, having only worked for the US oil giant Chevron, he suffered from the misapprehension he could “tell it like it is”!! This isn’t even done in the US!! Just look at the fate of ex-Exxon CEO Tillerson at the hands of Trump. But then Tillerson did push the envelope a bit too far by calling Trump a “moron”!!

Mangal didn’t go that far with Trotman…but he did imply it when he persistently insisted that the latter shouldn’t have been negotiating with Exxon on his own! In fact, even after his contract wasn’t renewed, Mangal advised that in future negotiations over selling of oil blocks, the Government should hire experts.

Now, even in the best of circumstances, governments are touchy. But when you’ve got a government that’s vowed to fulfil the legacy of its dictator founder-leader…and is now staffed with army Brass…
…don’t even THINK about being candid!!

…on SWAT Boss decision

Dookie, the SWAT boss sent home by COP Ramnarine upon instruction of Felix — who was filling in for Minister Ramjattan — is petitioning the courts that “the decision is unconstitutional, capricious, whimsical, and irrational.”

It’s also demeaning to Ramjattan; but then, what’s new??!!


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