The response to the unconscionable pay hike for government Ministers should never be to proffer the larcenous, pilfering, predatory, rapacious, acts of the previous government, for comparison.
What this government should be doing is assuring its people that the political marauding that was made legal by the reforms the PPP government, introduced into the constitution in 1996 for the express intent of committing illegalities and claiming immunity by virtue of political appointment, is going to be addressed by the committee designated for Constitution Reform.
The Constitution of a country reflects its nature and character.
The fact that Guyana, now listed as the third poorest country in the Western Hemisphere Constitutionally protects the $6.3 million aggregate pension of Sam Hinds, Bharrat Jagdeo and Donald Ramotar is a shameful frame of reference and should not be flaunted as a point of redemption for the fifty percent pay hike the current government has approved for its ministers.
Actually, it is an admission of how ineffective the Opposition has been since 1992 and particularly under, Robert Corbin, whose parliamentary representation as leader of the Opposition, was always seen as being diminutive, atrophied, with just enough tone to register presence at the opposing line but never enough substance to convince those who depended on him that he was bona fide.
And with that came speculation of how much of his soul was owed to the PPP at the expense of those who depended on his representation and many of the murmurs were put to rest when he was medically evacuated to the US for life saving medical attention – an option not afforded to at least 99% of the country. It’s not that people are angry that his life was saved by a MedEvac, they’re just repulsed that the opportunity to receive life saving treatment is reserved for those who have access to the people’s money. And there is dour sentiment over his retirement package which was negotiated with the PPP in an amount that several say would pay several Ministers’ monthly salaries, handsomely.
What this response – this headline that insensitively screams the millions that three public servants voted out of office are paid, in a country with some forty percent unemployment – attempts to do, is pit one atrocity against another then ask the electorate which is worse, not unlike the options offered the masses in oppressed societies.
It presupposes that their choices range between the comparative and superlative so worse and worst are the only two options that are available to them. It assumes that people have been so trampled into docility that the Granger government could exhume the ills of the PPP regime to provide cover for the fact that this Coalition has not only reneged on its promise but has secured the lion’s share for itself.
If the headline were meant for gainful consumption, it would have lead with an inverse statement like: ‘Former presidents take home $6.3M monthly …can pay 10 senior ministers, 13 juniors’…. for priority review by Constitution Reform Committee’. But it wasn’t because its introductory paragraph set the stage for comparison between the rapacious and the double cross.
The one thing this Administration needs to keep in mind is that politics is a sport of transactions and navigating through parliament is the smaller part of the process. The larger and more complex part is voter satisfaction. And when a nation has spent twenty three years waiting for change, fiercely participated in ensuring that change and the government reneges on a promise as visceral as wage increase, while giving themselves a pay raise, the prognosis for regaining their attention will become progressively dim with headlines that are designed more to manipulate than to inform.
Now, the President has finally responded to the nation’s angst over the subordination of their pay raise of a promised 15% to the preferred 50% for government Ministers and has endorsed it citing efficiency and commitment ….the best way of ensuring that the work of the cabinet will continue… suggesting that money will fuel efficiency of the people he appointed after the was elected to appoint efficient people…
…the innocent being led by the unknown… doing the impossible for the ungrateful…having done much with little for so long….now qualified to do anything with nothing… (Konstantin Josef Jirecek)
This quote comes vividly to mind.