Peeping Tom
Kaieteur News
April 26, 2007

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One of the more shocking revelations that have arisen in recent weeks was that a number of things were put on the backburner, including Government outreaches, so that the government could concentrate on the hosting of the Rio Summit and Cricket World Cup 2007.

What was more shocking was not so much that this happened but rather that it was admitted to. I never expected that any government would be barefaced to own up to such a travesty because of the negative image that this presents of the country and the embarrassment and poor light it sheds on the government.

We all know that the Rio Summit was an important event. We all know that it was the largest international summit ever hosted in the country and that all systems had to be primed to ensure its success.

But did it entail such an enormous effort that it had to take the full attention of Government?

We all know that Cricket World Cup 2007 was a major challenge, but the government cannot complain about a lack of national support. Everyone was on board for this important event, including the Opposition and therefore there was no shortage of manpower, managerial skills or goodwill.

The government could have drawn and sourced the support of the private sector, the non- governmental community and the Opposition which gave their backing to the event.

In fact, even when the government went to the National Assembly to have a supplementary provision approved, a provision which included advances to hotels being constructed, the Opposition did not raise a storm over this issue.

The government was therefore not without national support when it came to Cricket World Cup 2007. If anything, it was not the shortage of support that caused the many foul ups that botched Guyana 's hosting of the tournament.

It was not the Opposition's fault that the conveyor belt at the airport was still being installed two weeks before the tournament was about to begin. It was not the fault of any group outside of the government that traffic lights were not up and running.

It was not because of the lack of public support that Guyanese and the thousands of visitors here were told that it was not safe to drink the water even if it was boiled.

It was not for the lack of goodwill that one week before the matches began in Guyana , the Local Organising Committee received a letter expressing disapproval with developments at the stadium and a vote of no confidence in certain personnel involved in this mega event.

We had plenty time to prepare for this event; seven years in fact. We still managed to bring off the event despite the problems. The question, however, is whether in trying to host this event we exhausted and utilised all the energy of the administrative arm of the State because it would seem from recent comments that hosting CWC 2007 and the Rio Summit entailed having to place a number of things on the backburner.

A country cannot be successfully managed if the governmental apparatus is totally occupied in running a two-day international conference and a week-and-a-half major sporting tournament.

I am disappointed, therefore, when I hear talk about how now that CWC 2007 is over, we can get down to doing many of the things that could not have been done before. What is it that we are running? A country or a cake shop?

I am not accepting the excuse that the pause in the political dialogue process was because of the preoccupation with successfully managing the Rio Summit and Cricket World Cup 2007. The PPP won the elections in August of last year and preliminary discussions under the Enhanced Cooperation Initiative took place with various political leaders last year.

How does one explain that in the many months since, not a single follow up meeting was called, at least not until last week?

The Peeper is not accepting that the recommencing of the political dialogue process has anything to do with the freedom provided by the conclusion of the Rio Summit and end of Guyana 's leg of Cricket World Cup 2007.

The Peeper believes that the decision to recommence the political dialogue arose out of political necessity because of two overpowering factors. The first I will deal with commencing tomorrow and concerns the view now being nurtured within the international community that Guyana 's development is closely linked to its institutional culture which, I should mention, includes political climate.

The second has to do with the present predicament that Uncle Bob finds himself in. There is a mini-storm brewing within the PNCR which the PPP fears may force that party once again into the streets. Thus, the PPP has opted to open the political safety valve of convenient dialogue.

I am not confident that there is political will on the part of the government to take this process forward. I am not even certain if come September we will not be told that the dialogue will have to be put of the sidelines because of the hosting of the Commonwealth Foreign Ministers Meeting. But I am hoping that good sense will prevail; it must.

Given the way in which single events and issues dominate the time and energies of the government, we can excuse the absence of the President from the memorial service for Sash Sawh as being due to having to deal with the many issues that arose from the restarted dialogue, never mind the fact that he found the time the same day to commission a cremation site in West Demerara.