Guyana’s Republic Day musings

PRESIDENT Dr. Irfaan Ali made his case for a united Guyana under the ‘One Guyana’ platform on Guyana’s Republic Day Anniversary this year.

President Ali also examined 10 key areas that he said are critical to making Guyana prosperous in the future if Guyanese appreciate and understand their roles and responsibilities.

Among the key areas that the President dealt with were character, attitude, value and belief system, achievable targets, country positioning and governance system.

Ali, from the outset, said his government was open to constructive criticism and ideas from society.

But here, he noted that any criticism must not be based on selfish agenda, biases, perception, propaganda, and feelings.

The President stressed that they must be rooted in facts, truth and reality to cause a rapid positive change in Guyana.

Firstly, President Ali’s address hit the nail on its head. It was good to see him not shying away from saying what needed to be said strongly and truthfully about Guyana, Guyanese, the present and the future.

It certainly hit the naysayers and the people who are impediments to Guyana’s progress and forward movement.

Similarly, his address stripped some public commentators, human rights bodies, civil society organisations and politicians of their credibility, thereby exposing their tendency to show double standards, biases, and selfish agendas.

These bodies need to get the truth first, examine it, and then meet with the government about their concerns.

This is the way under the ‘One Guyana’ platform instead of putting out false narratives based on their perception of situations and projects.

Secondly, President Ali’s speech was pellucidly clear, patriotic, stern and optimistic about how Guyana would transcend the ‘One Guyana’ vision.

In comparison, politician and soon-to-be Opposition Leader, Aubrey Norton, appeared to be pessimistic, negative and dull-drum.

Norton even said that should the PNC/APNU+AFC’s team become the government that it would remove the burden of Guyanese paying personal income taxes.

How did Norton plan to do this? Why was this great plan not expounded upon further?

Why did the PNC/APNU+AFC Government not do this? What are the implications and studies done on the removal of personal income taxes at today’s figures, if any? Norton offered no insights or answers!

Maybe, this was just done to score cheap political points on Republic Day, just like social cohesion, shared governance and national unity talk that former President David Granger talked about so well but remained elusive concepts.

He then sought to praise the legacy of former President Forbes Burnham while he struggled through the remainder of his scripted Republic Day message that included several errors of fact.

Besides the poor lighting, he could not have made contact with his audience through the cameras because his eyes were glued to his script.

Norton’s presentation lacked truth and facts to be taken seriously.

It was poor in content and did not even offer Guyanese a counter plan.

It was a disappointment and fell short of gripping the attention of the Guyanese people that had high hopes ahead of Norton’s reintroduction into Parliament to hold the government accountable.

It is clear as day that Norton is no Opposition Leader material and maybe a polarising PNC-politician.

Thirdly, Guyana needs a new political culture and a system to restart building trust and confidence among the main political parties if the dream of having ‘One Guyana’ is ever to become a reality.

The paper titled “Towards greater inclusive governance in Guyana – Building trust to achieve genuine political co-operation” presented by then President Bharrat Jagdeo in 2003 is still relevant.

It can be remodelled to suit the reality in 2022.

Its framework has the tool necessary for the formation of ‘One Guyana’ that is free from the allegations of racism, discrimination and disharmony.

Unless a clear pathway is established for dialogue to take place in Guyana that is acceptable to both parties, there will continue to be suspicion. Likewise, motives will come under the microscope. Added to that, policies and resources allocation will be judged on distorted criteria.

President Ali should take up this as a salient matter in our society on his ‘One Guyana’ platform towards achieving higher levels of inclusivity and good governance.

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