Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Government needs to bend

Kaieteur News, editorial, Friday 03 January 2009

The Government needs to bend
January 3, 2009 | By knews

It is a new year, and people have made numerous wishes, all seeking to live
better than they did last year. Some, if not the majority, would have wished
for fortune, and others, for health. There are those who would have wished
to migrate, because in their book every other place is better than Guyana.
That has been the trend for years, but over time there have been measures by
the politicians to have people remain at home, since the country desperately
needs its people if it is to go anywhere in this world.
The New Year dawned with the people doing a variety of things. There were
those City Council employees who were not paid, so they had a little less
than a good Christmas. They were paid yesterday. However, to their credit,
some stuck to the task, safe in the knowledge that while many would be out
of pocket, having spent excessively for the Christmas, these workers would
have a few cents, unless they borrowed heavily to be a part of the Christmas
For the greater part, though, Guyanese would be wishing for so many things,
not least among them good governance, which many say seems to be missing
from this country. Indeed, the Government insists that it is working in the
interest of the people, but the opposition parties say that they have been
excluded from just about every aspect of national life. In this issue,
Raphael Trotman of the Alliance For Change anticipates violence in the
National Assembly.
This would be unheard of in the history of independent Guyana. Parliament
may be a forum where there are heated exchanges, where tempers flare, and
where barbs are traded; but except for the odd occasion, one being when then
Opposition Leader Dr Cheddi Jagan threw down the Speaker's Mace, there has
been no violence.
Trotman says that the Opposition has been reduced to nothing more than a
rubber stamp, because even the most mundane amendment is ignored by the
Government. We know that the Government is often reluctant to heed any
proposal by the Opposition simply because some hold the view that the
Opposition wants to accede to the seat of government through the back door.
There have been times when the Government side would allow some Bills to go
to a select committee; but more often than not, proposals by the Opposition
are ignored and are mere items to be recorded by the press.
One wish, then, is that there be a greater movement towards dialogue. Guyana
has a population of less than one million people and there should be no need
for the kind of division that exists. Every section of the society has a
view; the cradle of knowledge does not reside in any one political party.
Government issues apart, there is also the question of flooding in parts of
the country. Flooding always disrupts life, and there are Guyanese who,
because of the excessive rainfall, have been virtually removed from national
The Government had announced that it had spent $1.7 billion to alleviate
flooding. From the looks of things, this expenditure seems to have failed to
provide the desired results. Alternatively, one can conclude that, had there
not been an expenditure of such magnitude, the situation would have been
much worse. That is not a pleasant task.
The Government, after conducting a feasibility study, said that it would be
creating another waterway to ease the pressure o the East Demerara Water
Conservancy. It is surprising that no work has started. There will be more
rains in the not too distant future, given the global warming that is
threatening the planet. Perhaps in the New Year there will be some work on
that waterway.
Already the rains have caused some schools to keep their doors closed.
Guyana cannot afford this, especially with the perception that education is
continuing to decline.
There is the new Skeldon plant, which seems bogged down in construction
details. Will these things improve in the new year? That is a question only
the Government can answer, and it will need the support of the Opposition

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