Brown Paper Bag: Slow March after 23 years on the Drill Square

This week The Brown Paper Bag features the thoughts of a young Guyanese on the new government's first 100 days in office.

Brown Paper Bag:  Slow March after 23 years on the Drill Square

It is not unnatural to dream of leadership. It is not unnatural to imagine what it would be like to govern and put forth policies that have lasting positive consequences on those under your purview. Where the difference lies is in how much we believe it is possible that we are going to get the opportunity.

For the past 23 years, Guyana was under the rule of the People’s Progressive Party. Many would argue on a wide spectrum the extent of contributions that were made in those years under several different presidents, regardless of length of tenure.

Far less would argue the contribution made in the last ten years. But if I were a government in waiting, for 23 years, it is my firm belief that I would have gotten off to a far better start. For at least part of those 23 years of dreaming of being afforded the opportunity to serve my people, I would have pages and pages of worked and reworked plans, back up plans and even a back up of back up plans. I would carefully measure whom I could see in my cabinet, a balance between what I want and what the people of the nation need. After seeing promises fall by the wayside from the last government, I would ensure my promises were ambitious but attainable because after all, it is all about the first impression.

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Maybe I am insensitive to the difficulties of taking over the presidency at a time when the Petro Caribe fund is empty, the treasury feels like shattered glass where each shard is an account somewhere in varying size, the police cannot seem to catch the thief, the ‘newspapers’ are highlighting a lot more crimes, my neighbours have stopped asking me for rice but instead just want my house, replacing archaic and undeserving civil servants with qualified appointees is seen as witch hunting or dare I say ethnic cleansing, the man caught with the lil’ greens gets jail while the woman who clearly misplaced a number of vehicles not remembering that she left them by her different friends’ houses, accidentally misclassified her RV as basically a golf cart and cannot remember what she has done with enough money to give the pensioners another 8% increase in monthly payout, (takes breath here) gets BAIL!

But even if I were to let all that pass under the excuse of delicate matters that need time and diplomatic solutions to resolve, I can’t help but feel like someone who bought into an over promise, but has seen under delivery.

I can’t help but feel like I am just a foot soldier who is on a need to know basis. I can’t help but feel uninspired by a mantra of change that I want to help create but cannot see a role for myself if I do not know what is going on. However friends or at least, readers, 100 days out of approximately 1850 days of a full term, is just 5% of the way there.

I may be insensitive to the difficulties of taking over the presidency after having no idea of its status for so long, but it is imperative that I continue to throw support behind the government that I helped elect. It is more important that I continue to criticize them at every deserving instance to let them know that at least one of us is not going to stand by and watch them become comfortable with saying that they are transparent and want to be held accountable but have no measurable action behind those words.

Most importantly, we all need to do our part in working with each other to ensure the growth of our country by not tolerating any malicious actions being taken by any side of the aisle. In fact, we have a responsibility to smarten up, educate ourselves and deduce what is valid from what is very clearly not.

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In conclusion, after an inspiring start to the presidency, a budget that was prepared quickly and saw accolades coming from across the aisle, whether the other side wants to admit it or not, and the proactive work being done by the Minister of Education and Minister of Health in particular to get our vital systems back on track and working again, to keep this energy, I need to hear from my President. I can feel many of you agreeing with me as you read that last sentence.

It takes more than just words on a paper to get people moving. We elected the leader we did because of his vision and the charisma he used in conveying it to us. No offense to Minister Joseph Harmon (I never understood how the “No Offense” thing worked) but, he does not possess that ability to get Guyana moving the way we need, yet we hear from him so often. I know that if we the people are to stay the course in this new presidency, we need to hear more often from our President.

We did not vote for this President because of some bullet points created a few weeks before the election, we voted for a President that would offer more visibility, communication and fairness. With humbleness and sincerity, I hope that the Honourable President gives the public a chance to communicate with him, whether through the media or at public appearances, on a more regular basis so that we can be kept abreast with his vision and we can know how we can play our part in promoting the strong and stable growth of the country.

Lastly, with the same humbleness and sincerity, Mr. President, we really do not know you like that to blindly put faith in you because you say we should. I have never walked up to a girl and said, be my girlfriend and trust me and had her say “ok, sure”. Without needing a coalition, I am sure I am in the majority with that one.

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