And, to the one hundred day metric, commonly used to predict Presidential success, Barrack Obama appended the need to “harness new technologies to put information about their (Government) operations and decisions online and readily available to the public.”
So, it is with this in mind -especially since the Coalition Manifesto fashioned a One Hundred Day goal – people continue to gauge where they are, now that they are about one hundred and fifty days into new government.
What is conclusive is that the PPP Opposition remains positioned permanently in strike posture; commanding the media in fashion that leaves the government continuously outdone; particularly in messages and information that should be the domain of government.
And, this is unnerving many in the electorate.
Voters are already reflecting on when they had hope, when they longed for the PPP to be ejected, their systems uprooted and the dawn of a new day to glisten on their political horizon… and there was due jubilation when the government took to the airwaves with a seemingly incessant stream of discoveries of government misappropriation and misconduct…
But they are beginning to realize that the new day does not, necessarily, bring a new way of doing business and it is this module, this component of the change apparatus, that people are honing in on; understanding that unless it works and works for them, the concept of a new day would remain a notion to be viewed in abstract.
The forensic discoveries have not yielded any indictments, and though it is accepted that there is a process to filing charges, the public is not being kept abreast of the continued investigations during the process.
So, there is a mounting hum of dissatisfaction, a disquieting waning of voter attention because of bland, oblique, uninspiring, information about government progress that allows other news organs to fade government media into the background; making them the echo rather than the voice.
One hundred and fifty days into the new day, changes are sparse, scattered, remote; anxieties are elevating and nervousness has become the prism through which government is viewed.
And, though there was no real expectation for all of the one Hundred Day Promises to be fulfilled, there were two that the electorate remains anxious about – Constitution Reform and Local Government Elections.
Elections remain the premier battleground. But the battle can only be fought if elections are held and since elections are a mandate of the country’s Constitution, the Constitution has to be under the stewardship of those who are patriotic and non partisan enough to recognize it as the supreme law of land, as having primacy over ideology, as inherently subordinating every entity to country.
It was against this backdrop that prorogation was seen as a weapon that was employed to preserve powers and not serve the people; as a flagrant abuse of authority that dove tailed in to the 1996 reforms which were made by a PPP government that was retaliating against the 1980 reforms made by the, then, PNC Government, after what the PPP describes as a fraudulent 1978 Referendum.
Follow the points of the synopsis and note that the predominating factor is politics not people; the reverse of the intended purpose of politics.
Then, more politics.
That very Constitution, the one with the reforms from 1996 that the PPP approved, was repeatedly violated by the very PPP government over the course of their entire tenure, as they refused to honor the right for people to go to the polls to elect municipal leaders.
It was an extended demonstration of poor Constitutional stewardship. The PPP were breaking the tenets of their own craftsmanship after a very convoluted arrangement was made with the ornamental Mayor Green, to participate in shared Mayorship, with him voluntarily stepping down down after four years.
But Hammy is no stepper, so, he squatted in the position, neutered and mocked for the duration of his tenure, refusing to be removed because, in his words, he was protecting the small business vendors; even as Georgetown was transformed from Garden City to Slum Capital, under his watch.
Note here, too, that politics preponderated the electorate.
So, the campaign promise to reform the Constitution to make it more populous than partisan was met with superlative appreciation at the prospect of killing two birds with one stone; reforming a CONSTITUTION that would reinstate the right to VOTE…
…and people waited, basking in the extended afterglow of victory; propped up by time released false positives of uncovering political wrongdoings with just enough detail to keep them distracted from the meat and potatoes issues like the actual progress on the Constitution Reform and a date- certain for Local Government Elections.
On August 4th 2015 the Guyana Chronicle, the State news organ, reported that Minister of Governance, Raphael Trotman said that the Constitution Reform Committee was looking at the ‘modalities’ of the reform process. On August 14th 2015, the same paper said that the Committee, now under Constitution Law expert Nigel Hughes, has until December 2015 to submit a report on the ‘modalities’ of the intended reform and the scope of its work, to Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo.
Maybe the superfluous use of ‘modalities’ adds an edge of intricacy but all the electorate extracts at this point is that there is still no change to the Constitution, which is entwined with Local Government Elections, which they have not participated in for twenty years.
And it doesn’t help when those elections have been shifted from a promised November to a possible December and now, a probable March 2016.
Good government understands the importance of using media to keep its electorate informed. Smart government uses its media to lead the critical stories and craft their trajectory.
Yet, other news organs, clearly hostile to the state, are left to advise the nation on critical matters like President Granger and Prime Minister Nagamootoo both being out of the country at the same time… speculating with hunched- backed ominousness over the health of leaders; tallying the number of times that one leader goes to one specific country …. stoking speculation over health and well being…
And while the State news remains perplexed in its role, inexpert in using the media to simultaneously mask what needs to be strategically released and enlighten on continued progress, unpracticed in fending off speculation with crafted statements, their not so friendly counterparts are seizing the opportunity to inform and advise their supporters on how to capitalize on the Administration’s errors; draw parallels to conduct deemed egregious when they were not in power, with subversive dexterity.
Local Government Elections are about three months away and the Opposition has indicated that a clear win for them at the local government level is a sure win for them at the national level at the next Presidential election.
There was an expectation of State media countering this strategy as an extension of Jagdeo’s delusions; another trip in to his megalomania; re-assuring voters that regions will be contested for and that Jagedo’s claim of sweeping regions in local elections are a demonstration of vaulting ambitions; underscoring PPP dog whistle hints at ethno politics and mobilization of Indians to vote for “their”party as they highlighted the ethno composition of attendees of the symposium;dismantling every claim that Guyana enjoyed its best economic growth under PPP rule.
Instead, they carried a significant portion of narrative of the PPP symposium on October 7th, 2015 which brazenly boasted a theme of accomplishments and democracy…. as people still ponder why the full address of President Granger’s speech at the UN on the border controversy with Venezuela was not carried in narrative by the State news paper or live by the State television…
….conventional journalism that that should be considered more compulsory than tedious, if the Government news organs are to impact the political thinking of its readers.