Guyana Chronicle
May 25, 2003

Related Links: Articles on 'Constructive Engagement'
Letters Menu Archival Menu

AS GUYANA marks its 37th anniversary of political independence tomorrow, it is encouraging to note that the 'Cooperation Agreement' signed on May 6 by President Bharrat Jagdeo and Opposition Leader Robert Corbin provides the framework for new approaches in dealing with problems that affect Guyanese across political and ethnic boundaries.

Such an accord has been long in coming. Its meaningful success would, however, depend on good faith by both sides in the implementation process of the many issues covered by the joint communiqué released for public information.

Expected participation by the People's National Congress/Reform in the gala cultural presentation and flag-raising ceremony at the National Park will itself be a most welcome departure from a pattern of political behaviour by that party which could not have been helpful in efforts to promote social cohesion and national unity.

Political differences as have existed in this country for too many long years cannot be expected to evaporate overnight. The `Jagdeo/Corbin Communiqué’, as referred to, is not intended to be some magical formula. But it does lay a good basis for matured, sustained political responses to some sensitive national issues.

One specific problem that cries out for a total, uncompromising assault is the curbing of the offensive from the criminals whose activities continue to pose a severe threat to governance in a stable, peaceful environment.

We have in mind Buxton village in particular that well-armed and seemingly well-connected criminals have turned into more than a "safe haven". It has degenerated over past months into a virtual state within the state.

This dangerous nonsense must be stopped. It is a direct challenge to the authority of the state, an affront to a legitimate government, the army, police, justice administration system and all Guyanese who want to, and are entitled to live in a safe, lawful environment

All stakeholders, including the parliamentary opposition PNC/R, must speak and act in a manner that could not be exploited by the criminals in Buxton, as appears to be the case.

This is not the time for double-speak. Or, more precisely, expressing support for the anti-crime initiatives being pursued by the security forces and, simultaneously, engaging in emotional outbursts against the police and army in a manner that suggest they are more concerned in destroying property and inflicting bodily harm than in cleaning out Buxton from the criminals.

New Initiatives
On a more general level, an occasion like the marking of another milestone in the nation's journey with destiny since the dawn of political freedom, offers the opportunity also for the Jagdeo administration to reflect on the need for some new initiatives to ensure better governance and encourage more confidence to attract investment and enhance capacity building for efficiency and increased productivity.

Changes in ministerial and diplomatic appointments have not been a feature of the government over the years as normally expected and occurred in administrations across the rest of the Caribbean Community.

Yet, such changes often become necessary and the proof, as the saying goes, lies in effecting qualitative changes. Especially if accompanied with a show of confidence by those controlling the levers of power as they facilitate proper ministerial functioning without a micro-management approach, though rightly demanding performance accountability.

Critical reviews to determine how well structured and equipped with human and financial resources are some of the ministries and diplomatic missions seem to be relevant to the reflective process at this time of another independence anniversary.

There are some areas of our national life in which there remains urgent need for human resources recruitment. In the health sector, this would certainly include, for example, ensuring availability of experienced cardiologists and paediatricians.

Since coming to power in October 1992, the record of performance by successive PPP/Civic administrations has been quite impressive and no amount of propaganda to the contrary can dilute the achievements.

Taking appropriate action now to enhance efficiency, effectiveness and accountability can, therefore, only prove to the credit of the government headed by President Jagdeo.

We wish Guyana well as it celebrates the 37th independence anniversary.

Site Meter