Las elecciones marcaron el fin de una era en la historia política del país – Diario Guyana Chronicle, Guyana

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May 11 elections marks end of an era –in Guyana’s political history

THE May 11, 2015 General Elections in Guyana marked the end of an era in Guyana’s political history. For the first time, neither of the two founding nationalist parties, the PPP nor the PNC are in power. The APNU+AFC coalition is a coalition of parties and ethnic groups that won the elections on a unity platform in a way reminiscent of the 1953 nationalist PPP. The people of Guyana have spoken, and the call is for good governance, security, peace and national development. The people of Guyana have spoken, and the call is for the rooting out of corruption and the transformation of the country’s image as a kleptocratic and failed state. The people of Guyana have spoken, and the call is for employment opportunities for young people, improved education and health services. The people of Guyana have spoken, and the call is for strategic utilization of national resources for the nation’s well-being rather than as gifts to shady investors for corrupt kickbacks. The people of Guyana have spoken, and they want transparent and accountable government shorn of nepotism and cronyism. The people of Guyana have spoken, and they are demanding leadership that is inclusive, intelligent, informed, trustworthy and bold to lead them into the future. It is my view that David Granger and Moses Nagamootoo and their colleagues are capable of this task.

The electoral victory by the APNU+AFC coalition is remarkable in many ways. It took much negotiations and putting aside deep seated political and other differences. It took astute leadership, love for and putting country first to accomplish. It is an historic victory in many ways and heartiest congratulations to this national coalition!

Congratulations to President David Granger, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, their respective parties and the newly formed government. Even as habits die hard, to succeed in rule, APNU+AFC must shift from the politics of opposition and agitation to the politics of rule and good governance. The PPP/C never stopped acting like an opposition party while they ruled. They ran the government for 23 years blaming the former PNC government for everything they (PPP) were doing wrong. The new government must accept the authority of office and all the responsibilities that come along with it. The new government, however, probably does not have the legitimacy to either forgive or forget the misrule of their predecessors in office and instead must set about quickly making things right as they move on.

Corruption and the theft of national resources should not go unpunished. The Guyanese people voted to undo widespread corruption and the use of the governmental offices for venal ends. The new government officers should themselves resist the compelling temptation to put their hands into the public coffers and horse trade with national resources. They should resist nepotism and cronyism and act impartially, but fairly across ethnic constituencies. David Granger, as President of the Republic, now has the opportunity to slay the Goliath of corruption in the nation. As a former commander of the Guyana armed forces, he was known for good leadership, integrity and fairness. He worked closely with two former Guyana Executive Presidents and is no stranger to rule at the highest levels and even to the Presidential Secretariat where he worked as National Security Advisor. Now he is returning as President. As a highly trained and reputable historian Granger should remember to learn from the mistakes of the history of previous administrations or else be condemned to repeat them. Draw on the strengths and goodness of his predecessors in office and eschew their missteps.

Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo is first and foremost a patriot, a lawyer and a good man who has shown that he can put principle above party, and passion for his country before ethnic chauvinism. Both Granger and Nagamootoo are fine and exemplary husbands and fathers and cherish the family as the foundation of the society.

The friendship and trust between the Prime Minister and the President are essential for the coalition to succeed. Both men must put Guyana first. Both are equally capable of so doing. The terms of their agreement ought to be adhered to and respected by all parties, and importantly by these two leaders. They should listen to their respective advisors but always listen to each other. In so doing they can lead Guyana to greatness.

Guyana’s government will only be democratic, transparent and accountable if the omnipotent powers of its executive presidency are reduced and the office and its incumbent made accountable to the people, the amended constitution and to the laws of the land. This is a campaign promise of APNU+AFC coalition that should be kept and kept soon. The powers of the executive presidency as currently exist have proven to be corruptive to the incumbents of that office.

President Granger will develop as a charismatic leader and will feed on the adulation of the masses. This can be quite intoxicating power which, if not handled with humility, trustworthiness and practical policies may lead to idealism and promises about an El Dorado that will flatter before it disappoints. Listen to the Guyanese people of every race, color and creed and learn about their needs, fears, hopes and aspirations in order to lead effectively.

The principles and practices of good governance can be taught to government ministers and officials and the Granger Administration should not assume that the people they appoint will readily understand what their role expectations are and how to exercise the authority of their offices effectively and impartially. Political Scientist and University President Dr. Ivelaw Griffith stressed this point in a recent conversation with me and expressed the hope that the new administration will arrange, as a matter of urgency, for such training to be done in retreats or workshops so as to set the right tone for governance.

The women of Guyana should be given prominent roles in the new administration. Women are vital for the developmental transformation of Guyana. In recognition of their role in the nation, a qualified woman should be given for a start the number three office in the Granger/Nagamootoo Administration. The youth of the country should also be given a prominent voice and presence in the new administration. They have unique capabilities and great ideas for the future. Our youth should be made leaders of today. The young nation cannot afford for them to wait for tomorrow.

Finally, please do something now about the University of Guyana. The PPP government has starved this national flagship institution of resources, converting what was once proudly referred to as “Jagan night school” into “Ramoutar cow pen”. David Granger was twice the best graduating student from the University of Guyana, and Moses Nagamootoo is one of its distinguished alumni. Restore this national University for our youth and build the nation of Guyana. This is your task. This is your promise. Pull up your sleeves gentlemen and very best wishes with the task of leading our nation to a promising future!

Guyana Chronicle