Seems threat of defeat makes Granger think 'inclusion'

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Seems threat of defeat makes Granger think 'inclusion'

Gail
Teixeira

Thursday, May 21, 2020

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I was incredulous after listening to the Benschop interview of David Granger on May 18, 2020 and reading the May 19, 2020 Guyana Chronicle report of the same interview headed up, ' 'I am confident' — President Granger not expecting a landslide victory but confident'.

Here was Granger, the former military officer, again at work. When all his minions were botching up their public relations narrative, here the man himself stepped forward to set things straight for his supporters.

I would not be wrong, nor anyone else in Guyana, in assuming that Granger, as head of the A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Coalition, is fully aware of the results of the statements of polls of the March 2, 2020 general and regional elections in his party's possession that showed that not only did it not win, even by a margin, but that it was a resounding defeated by approximately 17,000 votes. Yet he continues this masquerade to fool his supporters.

For him to say, 78 days after the elections, that he did not expect a landslide victory, but now advocates that “We have to aim at a form of government that is inclusionary…let's not bother with landslide…The parties are near equal. By formula — as has been laid out by my colleague Rupert Roopnaraine — people who win 51 per cent of the vote must not behave as if they won 100 per cent of the vote, and people who only got 49 per cent of the vote must not be treated as if they got no per cent of the votes, and I live by that... I would like to see an inclusionary form of government…one where we can sit down in a mature environment and discuss the issues facing our country. That is the only way forward...” This is nothing but a bad joke or a farce.

Other than laughing uncontrollably at this farce being perpetuated on the Guyanese people, I am flabbergasted that Granger would expect the majority of Guyanese to conveniently forget what his Administration stood for, and still continues to stand for since the May 11, 2015 election.

His assumption of office was predicated on a less than one per cent (4, 000-odd votes) victory at the said polls. With such a hairbreadth difference, this eureka moment with regards to an inclusionary form of government clearly eluded him when he assumed office. Who can forget the “ah we first” and “we time now” policies of his Administration? Just to name a few:

• terminated 1,872 Amerindian community service officers;

• terminated thousands of public servants for their ethnic and/or political affiliation;

• terminated 99 per cent of Guyana's representatives at our foreign missions;

• terminated CEOs and high-level managers in all State corporations;

• terminated 99 per cent of all permanent secretaries and regional executive officers;

• replaced and stacked State boards with APNU+AFC activists;

• ensconced APNU+AFC activists as advisers in the Ministry of the Presidency and in every ministry;

• held up appointments of judges for almost a year;

• revoked farmers' land leases;

• closed four sugar estates leading to the 'collateral damage' of 7,000 sugar workers being put on the breadline;

• neglect of communities that were aligned to the People's Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C);

• aborted the commission of inquiry into the assassination of Dr Water Rodney;

• ignored and/or attacked any civil society individuals or bodies that were critical and didn't fall into line;

• turned the State media into the rag sheet of the APNU+AFC Coalition;

• gave himself and his ministers big increases in salaries, benefits and allowances;

• introduced anti-working people tax measures, thereby increasing levels of poverty;

• introduced anti-business tax measures;

• appointed the chairman of Guyana Election Commission (GECOM) in violation of the constitutional provisions until forced to correct this by the Caribbean Court of Justice ruling and orders;

• excluded contractors and businessmen in the procurement process unless they were seen as “politically correct” a la APNU+AFC Coalition;

• violated the constitution on repeated occasions, most recent article 106 following the defeat of his Government with the no-confidence vote;

• established a partisan national task force on COVID-19 in a time of a national health crisis;

• has done nothing to stem the astounding levels of corruption in his Administration, which continue unabated to date.

In the National Assembly, a place in parliamentary democracies where there is some modicum of 'give and take' based on long-standing norms and conventions, his Administration hogged it all from June 2015:

• defeated every motion brought by the parliamentary Opposition, even those which were non-partisan; eg, suicide prevention, rice farmers, sugar industry, interior roads, crime;

• defeated every amendment brought by the parliamentary Opposition on any Bill;

• suspended the standing orders to rush through large and complex Bills at first reading, such as the Cybercrime Bill, amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AMLCFT) Bills, and the anti-terrorism Bill;

• ignored the findings of the auditor general reports and took no corrective action.

Even as I write Granger's caretaker administration continues unrelentingly with the same polices of political and ethnic discrimination, exclusivity, high-handedness, and “party paramountcy” started in May 2015.

Is it because defeat is now staring him in his face that he has chosen to pander to “an inclusionary form of government”?

In 2015 the two parties were 50.3 per cent versus 49.7 per cent, Granger had the golden opportunity to prove his commitment to an inclusionary government. Why should anyone trust Granger now?

The Granger Administration has taken this country down a treacherous path of political division, economic collapse, undermining the rule of law and the constitution as it merrily went along, confident that its time would last forever; five years too late.

Whenever the recount is finished and the new president, Dr Irfaan Ali, is sworn in, then the work will begin to reconstruct our country, to repair the damage of the APNU+AFC Coalition, and to start the process that is truly inclusive.

Gail Teixeira has held several ministerial positions and presidential advisor in succcessive People's Progressive Party/Civic in Guyana. Send comments to the Jamaica Observer or teixeiragail@yahoo.com.


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