If I were President I would promote more integration of the races
Stabroek News
April 15, 2002

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Dear Editor,

If I were the President I would commit myself to the following :

I would suspend the current constitution, which was done in a "lat-pat jat-pat" manner and reinstate the 1980 constitution with some emergency provisions in effect.

Next, I would create a National Police Force, National Army, National Guard and National Youth Corps. The Police, Army and Guard will reflect the population at large. All males attaining the age of eighteen will be conscripted for a period of service to the nation for three years at the minimum. This will be voluntary for females. Anyone can sign-on to remain as a professional in his preferred branch of service.

The National Youth Corps shall comprise of all school children beginning from the age of seven. A goal of the National Youth Corps will be to bridge the chasms that exist among the races. These chasms are a direct result of the separation of the races in most communities across the country. School holidays will be rescheduled to suit the needs of the various communities. For example, schools in rice farming areas will have their holidays during the time that farmers need the additional help. Similarly, schools in the sugar belt will have their holidays set according to the planting and cutting of the canes. The communities will select the schedules with the government as the facilitator.

There will be greater emphasis on inter-community activities, like games, debates, quizzes and athletics in the schools. Children from one class in a school will be team members with the same class from a school in another community. The different means of livelihood in the communities will be looked at in a modern and scientific manner with discussions on promoting continuous improvement in various possible ways. This interaction will enable the children to understand others from another community in addition to other benefits.

Next I shall meet with my Council of Ministers and have them provide for me, in thirty days, a list of five major areas that the public would like to be satisfactorily addressed. Each Ministry will have five "function-based" departments each of which will be headed by a Deputy Minister. The Permanent Secretary post will be abolished. Each Minister will develop a Work Plan with my approval. The Minister and his Deputies shall do the same. The Deputies and Heads of Departments will do the same. This process will continue until the "bottom" is reached.

As President, I shall select certain crucial Ministries for special and immediate treatment. For example, Home Affairs, Education, Communications and Agriculture. I shall have a working breakfast with each Minister once a week to discuss progress on their "Work Plans". They will do the same with their Deputy and so on down the line.

In the meanwhile, I would have an Appraisal Form for each Minister. I shall meet, as needed, each of his Deputies and Heads of Departments, etc. At the end of six months, I shall give and discuss with each Minister an Appraisal based on his/her "Work Plans". Successes will be noted and so too will be areas for improvement. The Minister will do the same for each Deputy, who in turn will evaluate the Department Heads. Consistent "Non-performers" simply will have to go some place else to serve.

Yours faithfully,

Balwant Prasad