‘Politicians must work to create an environment of trust’
--says Fadia Gafoor
Guyana Chronicle
February 17, 2003

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ON SATURDAY, February 9, before a large gathering, President Bharrat Jagdeo outlined with precise clarity, his Government's position for a more inclusive system of governance. This is useful for the general Guyanese populace because for too long we have been bombarded by various positions and proposals on the issue of governance coming from different sources who have private agendas. For me as a Guyanese, the bottom line is, what is best for Guyana and her future at this time and how do we get there.

What really impressed me was the emphasis that the President placed on the need for building trust between the two main political parties. This is absolutely true! Guyana is currently at a crossroad and it is time that the politicians in a "carpe diem" gesture seize this moment with both hands and work towards creating an environment of trust and confidence within which all Guyanese can feel comfortable. Without trust, no relationship, whether personal or political can succeed and at this juncture, the opportunity has been created for our history to be rewritten. Our governance system needs a fresh infusion of confidence and goodwill among all the stakeholders. This is what is best for Guyana.

But how do we get this? Well, as the President outlined, the parties can collaborate on those areas which are of vital importance to the everyday running of the country and which essentially de-politicises the system. These include: the appointment of the Rights Commission; the appointment of the Service Commissions; the appointment of the Parliamentary Management Committee; and the appointment of the Standing Committees.

It is important to note that the appointment of these entities will activate the process of inclusive governance as allowed by the Constitutional Reform Amendments. We also need the politicians to sit down together and discuss the issues that have an impact on the citizens of this country, even/or especially if there are differing opinions. There has to be cooperation amongst the stakeholders. Surely, the end result of progress in these areas is of vital importance to Guyana because every Guyanese will ultimately benefit. This will be an act of goodwill by the politicians since it will be a move towards solving national issues, building trust and improving the relationships among all the political parties. This country needs to have every political force in its rightful place, doing work on behalf of the people.

The President on behalf of the Government through the contents of this position paper has once again extended yet another symbolic friendly hand to the opposing political forces. The entire country wait with a hopeful, expectant air for the acceptance of the proposals that have been put forward. This is the means through which Guyana can move forward. It is a step, after which (and I quote from the position paper) "further arrangements for inclusive governance can result after consultation with (the) constituents and the electorate".

After all, building a structure is a step-by-step process, a foundation has to be laid down, and then the pillars erected and the walls built etc. Similarly, in Guyana, there has to be season of building trust, which will serve as the foundation for development. Trust will generate confidence, thus increasing cooperation and goodwill, all towards ensuring progress in this beautiful land. It is a new season and Guyana is moving forward in unity and hope.

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