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GUYANA – ALI AWARD

PoliticsGUYANAGUYANA - ALI AWARD

Irfaan Ali received the Global Leadership Award for transformational leadership from the Prime Minister of Mozambique, Adriano Maleiane in January of 2024.

This came in spite of a fevered letter writing crusade to Ghana to protest the conference of their award upon Ali for a multiplicity of reasons that stemmed from Guyana’s local politics- which seemed to take especial umbrage to the cluster of words ‘Africa and Leadership’, as it relates to Ali.

Not that the political might invested in protesting the proposed Global Leadership Award to Guyana’s Irfaan Ali was without some measure of merit.

But, it is certainly secondary to the efforts that should be expended to keep Guyanese informed about the shifting fortunes of their 83,000 square miles and what it means to their protracted existence as Guyanese. And, it is equally as subordinate to getting the Opposition to work with the ruling Party to ensure equitable standards of political benefits, that is promised to all citizens, irrespective of creed or color.

The thing is, the conferring body is a private one with a stated vision of promoting the continent “beyond aid”. They are, therefore, in networking overdrive and as its Award Page shows, bestowing them has no international standing but is merely a vehicle to invite external interaction.

The Global Leadership Award is not the Nobel Peace Prize and comes with no international elevation; only some symbolic membership in an Organization with ties to United Nations Development Program; which means its another Western arm of control through aid.

It’s disheartening how these issues tend to corral organized effort and the grind of daily politics, which requires unmitigated commitment, remains short of requisite rigor from informed observers like the signatories to the letter to Accra.

And we say this as we watch every other country and their political media/institutions comment on the ongoing tensions surrounding the Guyana Venezuela border crisis.

We had to read in El Pais of Spain that the US is escalating military assistance to Guyana; in Agencia Brasil that Brazil has deployed 28 armored vehicles to their Roraima State and from El Pais and US State Department Readout that U.S. deputy national security advisor, Jon Finer, and Western Hemisphere senior director Juan González, met with authorities in Guyana about improving defense capabilities.

If the Guyana State News Paper, Guyana Chronicle, carried this information, we apologize if we missed it. And if the Guyana Government advised the nation that it met with the US Principal Deputy National Security Advisor, Jon Finer, to discuss regional security we must have missed that too, sarcasm intended.

In a Democracy – which we still have by virtue of our resident international diplomats – the Government has an obligation to keep the nation informed, especially on matters that threaten sovereignty. The ruling arm should be the primary informant but the Opposition, which is its check and balance, has a duty to pick up the slack, especially since it is comprised of shadow ministers.

The voices of clannish support for the leader of this arm of Government would accuse that citing this debilitating failure is some sort of disloyalty and shaded bias for the ruling Party. It’s their staunch approval of this Opposition of the 12th Parliament that has gotten this arm of Government absolutely nowhere since 2022.

Now, Norton’s people are showing their disenchantment on picket lines in front of his office…about one year too late and way past the time of him giving the international community enough evidence to conclude that the nation’s Opposition makes no effort to assert its role, promotes a platform of grievance as politicking and has not shown, through policy or practice, that it is the government- in -waiting.

Our journalistic responsibility is to keep our Guyanese subscribers informed and aware of what evidence proves is not going in their favor. And their two -arm Government is keeping them neither informed nor aware of matters critical to their national security….with the urgency, frequency or in the media that is both unbiased and easily accessible by all.

Failing to apprise the population is not keeping them calm. It’s a gross dereliction of duty.

The most important responsibility of government is to keep the nation secure. In 1966, the Defence Ordinance that was enacted and signed by Governor Luyt, referred specifically to military readiness. It reads like a blue print on administration of the Military.

The Party – the PPP- that was the ruling arm for the longest period in the country seemingly never established an overarching security policy document, as detailed by War College Instructor, R. Evan Ellis who was once smitten by Irfaan’s youth and technocratic ideas. And, per records, its founding father, Cheddi Jagan, saw the Guyana Defence Force as “a body that should embark on revenue earning enterprises…training civilians in craft and industrial skills.”

We’ve been unable to find any law/policy documents written after then that would preempt advice/warning to citizens of impending territorial invasion. We’re looking to see how the government – both Ruling and Opposition – pledges to keep its citizens abreast of looming threats to their national safety from external aggressors through swift and orchestrated methods, that would be contained in such a document.

Our conclusion is that there is none.

And, no. This has nothing to do with United Nations membership. This is Guyana’s obligation to its citizens.

Local Politics has gotten away from its cause. Politicians under-serve as a matter of style with a coarse kind of flamboyance that they name ‘standing up’ and see as ‘clapping back’. Social media has made stars of many but idiocy and prejudice are hardly innovations. The sad part is that it is easier to appeal to vulgar tastes which require mere reflex and not thoughtfulness.

Fighting local issues abroad has replaced old fashioned politicking, when political ideologies did not exclude robust negotiation and sensible concession.

The 34 seat domination of the ruling Party is only an obstacle because the Opposition has not assumed its role nor is it showing its successors how to leverage its alternate ideology. And this is a duty that the Opposition has to assume. It cannot outsource it, implicitly or complicitly, by never disavowing what actors claim to do in their name, particularly when it stains them.

The democracy that the Constitution dictates still exists but just barely; with the one -Party domination of national policy because of a lagging Opposition that needs a whole lot of guidance…which brings us back to the scribes of the Ali Anti-Award letter, who seem to want to see a better Guyana…and have the organizational range to do so.

The conversation has to change from its current tone of rancor and attitude, has to elevate to one of patriotic civility. It is a social conduct that seems less common where democracy is supposed to dwell… like in Parliament and the National Assembly, where the 34 seat domination will not be overcome by the tactics of the current Opposition Leadership.

We’re grateful that the foreign checks- and -balances remain in place to prevent the absolute overturning of Guyana’s filleted Constitution. But it’s still hard to contemplate general elections without due anxiety if the Opposition remains an inviable contender.

The PPP is dominating not because it is strong but because the requisite Opposition governing push back is weak.

We don’t think that it’s preposterous to think that things can be otherwise.

The prospect of the ruling Party continuing with its crushing political dominance because it has carved a 33 + 1 seat in Parliament and the National Assembly should engender the formation of several groups with the organization and commitment of the ‘Ali Award Letter Writing Team’.

And if you need further motivation just look at the Georgetown skyline and remember what it used to be…when elected governing bodies respected law and order and set national example by following their guidelines and adhering to their dictates.

It may seem offensive to call for better qualified politicians, those with an understanding of public service, more intellectual honesty in promises to a desperate electorate and a conscious practice of civil discourse in representation of the people.

But there is a HOLDER OF THE LISTDavid Granger– who picks/oversees these operatives and has a duty to satisfy a higher bar than them ‘having been in the trenches’. These selectees operate at national level and have to bring attributes that go well past party politicking.

There has to be conclusion, if not consensus, at this upper level, that the Opposition has neither mission nor national purpose. Goals and Outcomes are measurements of organizational success. If the Holder of the List and the Opposition Leader feel they’ve hit these markers, we ask them to show us.

Ignoring that the status quo is only benefiting the ruling Party sounds too deliberate to be an honest endeavor.

And now its more than just a failed Opposition.

It’s national security.

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