As it should be Editorial
Guyana Chronicle
January 8, 2002

DR. KENNETH King's appointment as Guyana's new Ambassador to Belgium and Permanent Representative to the European Union is a timely reminder of the kind of national and noble outlook Guyana needs from people of goodwill.

The nation can only benefit from tangible demonstrations of the willingness to see beyond narrow political confines and to reach out for the greater good of the country.

As a former Cabinet Minister with the main Opposition People's National Congress (PNC) when it was in government, Dr. King was bound to face the question of whether his political outlook, which does not necessarily coincide with that of the current Government, would create functional difficulties.

In other words, could he work comfortably with a government to which the party he has been associated with is opposed?

It is unfortunate that in this society questions like these still arise and that it is difficult for some people to appreciate that others could be motivated to act in the cause of the greater good, even to the point of going outside what is considered one's `group' to work with an administration others feel should be given only a `hard time'.

Others before Dr. King have shunned such blinkers and have acted in the national interest and we are sure more technocratic appointments similar to his are not too far off.

Guyana has suffered too much from divisive politics and the national psyche and spirit must be bolstered and given more hope when people show courage to stand up for principles.

Dr. King, affable by nature, had been tipped for appointment as a technocrat minister in the new Cabinet President Bharrat Jagdeo was planning after the victory of the People's Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) at the March elections last year.

His name was often mentioned among the expected appointments in the policy of inclusion the President adumbrated at his inauguration but that did not materialise. He had, however, shown his willingness to serve in the broader national interest with his involvement in the National Development Strategy (NDS) which has been subjected to criticism by some in the Opposition.

As he saw it, however, his involvement with the formulation of the NDS afforded him a wonderful opportunity to acquaint himself with the developmental needs of Guyana, especially in the rural and hinterland communities.

This will "definitely serve me in good stead, during my duties in Europe, in terms of seeking appropriate technical aid and investment," he said last week.

The Private Sector Commission (PSC) yesterday warmly welcomed the appointment, congratulating the Government for obtaining the services of Dr. King.

While loyalty to a group or party counts at times and cannot be easily skirted, qualifications, experience, skills, ability and loyalty to the state and a dedication to performing and giving of one's best ought to be among the priority criteria for crucial national appointments.

These are demanding times that call for the availability of the best talents among us.

Dr. King said his decision to accept the appointment after being approached by President Jagdeo, was influenced by a commitment to serve Guyana, to make a contribution to the development of all ethnic groups, and "to become an example to demonstrate that (although) someone belongs to a particular group he/she can serve the interests of his/her group and at the same time serve Guyana.''

"In fact, that is how it should be," he added.

That really is how it should be.