by Vidyaratha Kissoon
Apologies and arcches..
11 May 2017 . Two years after the elections which brought the coalition Government to power. The day was Social Cohesion Day. Citizens travelling on the East Coast were not feeling the social cohesion. They vented about about the traffic jam caused by Ansa McAl and the Ministry of Public Infrastructure. Ansa McAl was giving an arch to Guyana. They had to hurry up with the installation because big ones were going to be in Guyana.
According to a Stabroek News article , Ansa Mcal and the Ministry did not ‘expect this”. A lot of coalition supporters have been saying this about many other things that the Government is doing or not doing. And ‘this’ is not about pleasant surprises.
Ansa McAl and the Ministry of Public Infrastructure changed their plans and freed up the road. The damage was done already as with so many things which cannot be fixed with apologies.
The frightening thing about the episode on 11 May 207, the second anniversary of the coalition government is the apparent lack of thought into the decision. What other decisions are the nice Minister Patterson making for which he is not anticipating the consequences? Are other Ministers making similar decisions without any assessment of consequences?
Any commuter would have told the Minister and Ansa McAl not to block the East Coast and the East Bank Roads on week days. What other projects are being implemented without sufficient thought and consultation with citizens? Which Government initiatives have changed in design after ‘consultation’ with citizens?
But vanity projects seem vital to the administration. I have had to protest other Ansa McAl structures around the country with sexist messages . Cynic that I am, I imagined that the apologies were written in advance of the disruption and did not take them seriously.
Maybe Ansa McAl in redeeming itself would move to announcing which Guyanese brands and products they are distributing around the Caribbean.
And maybe Guyana will have an arch somewhere in Trinidad & Tobago soon.
Minister Patterson has been accountable to the public on more than one occasion. His apology is nice and different from the contempt showed by the Attorney General Basil Williams who refuses to apologise to Justice Franklin Holder.
Two years into the coalition government and the legacy of the chatree coolie seems to continue over at the Attorney General’s chambers. It seems as though more is to come unless the AG’s advisory council intervenes.
Citizens can expect further disruptions. There will be some apologies. Other times there will be no apology, but fascinating explanations.
Like the unexpected expansion of barricades around Parliament on the day before the 2nd anniversary. Citizens are frustrated as they had to find their buses to go home. And some are laughing. The Guyana Police Force apparently believes that somebody will attack the parliament. It might have been an All Fool’s Day Joke on the 11 May, 2017.
But the Police apparently are serious. Citizens then will soon come to resent the disruption when parliament is in session. Maybe Parliament should meet on a Sunday then. There was a threat on the President’s life. Some citizens were vicious in their rantings over who was plotting. No one has been charged as yet. The Police have been improving in some areas.
Crime Chief Blanhum has said that the police have been able to ‘solve’ more cases. His work on the Babita Sarjou murder investigation gained him public support. His boss was the man in charge of the investigation.
The trouble though is that the police is only one part of the justice system. The difficulty then comes in the convictions and prosecutions. And with an Attorney General who could refuse to apologise to the Judge, what else is going on after the police charge people? And what about the crimes which are not reported because the Crime Chief cannot be in every police station? And is how is the Government ensuring that the Crime Chief’s competence is held as an example throughout the GPF?
It would have been nice if these kinds of questions could be answered as part of a Government policy on free and open engagement with citizens. The man in charge of information is the Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Nagamottoo’s use of our GYD 984,000 .
Sunday 14 May, 2017. There are full page centre page ads paid for with the permission of Prime Minister Nagamottoo. I get some costs for advertising from three newspapers which carried the paid advertisement. The total cost is approximately GYD 984,000.
The ads say that I have been experiencing less blackouts . This is a day after the third full day blackout in the last nine months or so.
I did not measure blackout during the PPP time. I had a sense in the last few years before the appointment of the Prime Minister that the blackouts had eased. We certainly did not have long periods. GPL and not the Prime Minister is responsible for accountability on blackouts. GPL might have data on the blackouts under various Presidents.
But, Prime Minister Nagamottoo spends a million dollars of taxpayers money to construct an alternative reality. Apparently, I should feel accomplished that I can experience long blackouts because the Prime Minister tells me they are less than before.
Minister Joe Harmon had said that public sector spending was being tightened .. reusing envelopes and so on. Is the money saved on envelopes being used in this misinformation project?
Different people will have different assessments of the Government. It gets complicated when you have to weigh up Minister Patterson’s willingness to apologise with the refusal of the Attorney General to do the same. Many people would agree to praise the efforts to keep the city clean.
There used to be a spot by the city constabulary office in Bourda Market which was always had a puddle of nasty water. That puddle has gone, and it is nice to walk on clean pavements after heavy rains. I keep looking for the re-emergence of the nasty puddle. But I have not seen it.
Other parts of the country have experienced flooding in the last two years, some of the first time. The flood on Saturday May 6, 2017 might have been caused by negligence of some city workers. Camp Street and other parts of Georgetown still floods.
Many citizens are happy with the improvements in passport processing.
I like how the water pressure increases sometimes at certain times of the day. The water though varies in quality.
Two years into the coalition Government, there is a variation in quality across the Government. Two years into the coalition Government, there is no sign of commitment from the coalition to consistent quality across the Government. Otherwise, we would not be spending money on advertisements to tell us we are having ‘less blackouts’