THE People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) administration has re-commenced an earlier governance style of Cabinet outreaches, the most recent of which was done in Region Two. Led by President, Dr Irfaan Ali and including ministers of government and other senior officials, they interfaced with residents and communities in a direct or face-to-face manner with the view of responding to issues of concern in an expeditious and timely manner.
This tradition of Cabinet outreaches has now become a characteristic governance modality of ruling People’s Progressive Party administrations dating back to the period of colonial rule when Dr. Cheddi Jagan vowed to take Parliament to the people and the people to Parliament following his historic victory in the 1947 elections.
In the case of the Cabinet outreaches, it is a case of taking government to the people and people to government. President Dr. Mohammed Dr Irfaan Ali has repeatedly said that his administration is pursuing a pro-people approach to governance, one in which people are put at the centre of development. It is this approach to development that sets it apart from the previous A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) administration. The President and his entire Cabinet are much more accessible to citizens which allows for the removal of unnecessary bottlenecks and timely solutions to problems facing the citizenry.
There are several advantages that could emanate from such outreaches. Firstly, it provided policy makers with a first-hand opportunity to, as it were, feel the pulse of the community, understand and share the concerns of people and together come up with solutions.
The citizens, for their part, have a much better understanding and appreciation of the macro-picture and the budgetary constraints of the administration. Very often citizens expect immediate solutions to community problems, which sometimes are much more complex from a decision-making perspective. The ’personal touch’ of national leaders in the resolution of problems can and doe have a soothing effect on members of the wider society.
Such interactions are also useful in terms of budgeting and planning.
The President and his Cabinet must be commended for the people-oriented approach to development. The days when ministers were seen as arm chair generals are now over. The high levels of energy displayed by the President and his team is most reassuring and bodes well from the perspective of good and accountable governance.