By The Piper
Just last week former President Donald Ramotar suggested joint patrol of Guyana Defence Force personnel with the Guyana Police Force, noting as he did, that the practice is now world-wide, especially in those places dogged by crime.
None other than President Granger pounced on the former president, lambasting him for the suggestion which he thought was out of order. Then suddenly, we have Operation Dragnet, albeit under the cover of fighting not only local crime, but international terrorism.
Let me be blunt here – Donald Ramotar was one hundred per cent correct and rather than being bashed, he should at a minimum, be acknowledged for his constructive suggestion.
So why I am making a big deal of this, you ask. The answer has more to do with the quality of governance than defending former President Ramotar, or attacking President Granger. You see, Guyanese, even at the highest levels must learn to be civil, open-minded, and constructive. We come from a culture that, almost by default, seeks humiliation. Only very rarely would you find someone in government actually acknowledge that the opposition has anything useful to say.
Granger promised to be different but his recent behaviour on the issue noted above is a flagrant violation of his own standards.
Let me now turn to former president Bharrat Jagdeo. The ‘Jag’ is a smart man, both intellectually, and politically. If he weren’t then I would not have been surprised by his elliptical turns on the issue of a Sovereign Fund. The Jag stated that the Fund is a bad idea at least in the ways articulated by the current administration. He is right that Sovereign Funds really indicate and should be built on real surpluses. Fine. But then Jaggy went on to say that the PPP had the original idea for such a Fund, an admission that leaves me flummoxed.
How could a Sovereign Funds have been credible (under his administration) before verifiable hydrocarbon discoveries and not so now? There is an associated matter that needs to be addressed. The government should not take advance payments (loans really) from future oil revenues actually materialize. This will jeopardize the GoG, placing it in a position of weakness in any future negotiations over oil revenues.
As I noted in a previous column, Mexico tried that stunt and ended up crashing its economy back in 1982. Guyana is not blessed with men and women gifted with magnanimity; on the contrary, we are a tear-own and destroy culture. It is this context that I call on the Granger people to listen to former leaders, who despite all their faults, they did contribute something to our national development. Give it try and you will see that you will wake up the next morning.
The opposition should continue it constructive criticisms, failing which it would simply be warming the seats at Parliament.