By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – In a moment of history where thousands of persons flocked the streets of Georgetown, some in tears and some with the brightest smiles on their faces, retired Brigadier of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) David Arthur Granger was sworn in as Guyana’s eight Executive President by Acting Chancellor of the Judiciary, Carl Singh.
For many, Granger’s swearing in signaled the dawn of a new era as it is the first time in 23 years that Guyana will see a change from a People’s Progressive Party/Civic Administration.
A number of diplomats, international observers and members of the private sector attended the swearing in ceremony. The only member of the PPP/C present was former Minister of Labour, Dr Nanda Gopaul.
President Granger in his inauguration speech said that with the election of a new President, Guyanese have “fortified” their right to democracy.
“I shall be a good President for all the people of Guyana,” said the President to screams from thousands of persons.
The new President also extended a hand of friendship to Former President Donald Ramotar and other members of the PPP/C for inclusionary democracy.
“Inclusionary democracy is the best way to overcome our divisions,” said the retired Brigadier.
As his first act as President, Granger has appointed Joseph Harmon to act in the capacity of Head of the Presidential Secretariat – a post commandeered by Roger Luncheon for the past 23 years.
It was also pointed that the PPP/C and the new APNU+AFC government has agreed to formulate a transition team what will see the smooth transference of government.
Granger attended Queen’s College, where he was a member of the Queen’s College Cadet Corps. He then joined the GDF as an officer cadet in 1965 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in 1966. He received his professional military training at the Army Command and Staff College in Nigeria; the Jungle Warfare Instruction Centre in Brazil; and the School of Infantry and the Mons Officer Cadet School, respectively, in the United Kingdom.
Granger – a University of Guyana Valedictorian – founded the Guyana Review news magazine in 1992, and served as its Managing Editor. He has researched and published on military, historical and media themes, and is also the author of Guyana’s state media: the quest for control, and A Preliminary Study of Women Soldiers in the Anglophone Caribbean.
Sixty-nine-year-old Granger was the Presidential Candidate of the APNU+AFC – a coalition of six of Guyana’s major political players – the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), the Working People’s Alliance (WPA), National Front Alliance, the Guyana Action Party, Justice For All Party and the Alliance For Change (AFC).
Accompanied by Prime Ministerial Candidate Moses Nagamootoo, Granger led a campaign that called for national unity with the hopes of bridging Guyana’s racial divide in this his second Presidential bid.
Another fundamental tenet of the APNU+AFC’s “It Is Time” campaign was the call to end corruption and end race-based voting which has characterized elections in Guyana, since the Country gained independence from Britain in 1966.
He was unsuccessful in 2011 after losing the elections to the People’s Progressive Party/Civic’ (PPP/C) – Donald Ramotar.
APNU+AFC won the 2015 election after it managed to acquire 207, 200 votes while the PPP/C acquired 202,694 votes – a clear indication that the majority of Guyanese wanted change.
Out of Guyana’s past seven Executive Presidents, the PPP/C bred five – Dr Cheddi Jagan, Janet Jagan, Sam Hinds, Bharrat Jagdeo and Donald Ramotar.
The APNU+AFC victory at the Monday May 11 General and Regional Elections ended the 23 year reign of the PPP/C – which is by and large a Party that has mainly indo-Guyanese supporters.
For many this is the first time that they will be able to experience a different administration and there are hopes that the change will yield good results.
The coalition has produced a 100 day plan that entails the review of taxes, increase of salaries and old age pension, an anti-corruption fight, liberalization of the Telecommunication and ICT sectors, several task forces on crime and security, and benefits for Guyana’s small miners.