President Granger has restored democracy in Guyana

El peronismo ya se prepara para gobernar, y también para ser oposición

LET us face the reality of politics in Guyana, especially under the former PPP administration and its despotic leaders who had hijacked the presidency after the death of President Cheddi Jagan.

It was crystal clear, even to a young child, that the leadership of the party was never concerned about the continuation of democracy after the defeat of President Hoyte in 1992, and, subsequently, the death of President Jagan. It would seem by virtue of the actions and policies of the PPP, its modus operandi was to ensure that Guyana became semi-communist country.

There is sufficient evidence in the public domain to substantiate the argument that the years under Mr. Jagdeo, were mostly undemocratic, brutal and scary in every facet of life. In fact, it could be said with hardly any disagreement from even the most devout PPP supporters that, Mr. Jagdeo’s style of leadership, now that he is in the opposition and has taken total control of the party, closely resembles (of course, in a more washed down and wishy-washy version) that of Stalin. Like Stalin, Jagdeo was born into a very poor family (at Unity Village, ECD) and later joined the Progressive Youth Organisation (PYO), which is the now defunct youth arm of the PPP.

Like Stalin, Jagdeo’s term in office was oppressive and evidently signs of repressions, ethnic cleansing, mass murders, high unemployment rates, judicial killings, tortures, jailing of political opponents, and other forms of brutalities that are too numerous to mention within this column. At least, by now, everyone should get the gist of what this column is really about. Surely, it is not to reflect on those horrible years when Jagdeo and his political gang held Guyana in political, economic, and moral bondage, as they operated as if it were their personal property and bank account. But rather, it is meant to highlight and remind readers about the facts, that under President David Granger, Guyana is not only a safer country to live in, it is now well respected around the world, the crime rate has drastically reduced, freedom of the press is the order of the day, freedom of expression, etc., are all alive and well under this government.

However, as the Russians would say– Khorosheye izbavleniye ot plokhogo musora (Good riddance to bad rubbish), something I am sure that a certain person, who has spent a few years at ‘The Patrice Lumumba University’ in Moscow, would be quite familiar with. Mind you, that said individual, upon his return to Guyana, was employed for years under the PNC government, without any form of discrimination.

Looking at what President Granger has done to restore democracy in Guyana, citizens can examine what is currently happening at the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), where he has put the country above himself, instead of putting his party or the government first. Instead, he has opted to rely on what is constitutionally and legally required. This is one aspect of restoring democracy to the land – by ensuring that apart from GECOM not being controlled by whomever is sitting as President, as was the case prior to 2015, President Granger has given the elections agency the opportunity to breathe again, and function independently, as is constitutionally required.

THAT’S DEMOCRACY! Another aspect of the restoration of democracy has to do with freedom of the press, where broadcasters and journalists are not being chastised, locked up, jailed or killed for their views. Also, opposition media houses are not being starved of or denied government advertisements, as was the norm under Jagdeo and the PPP. In fact, the evidence would prove that for the most part, the government seems to be giving more ads to media houses that are blatantly anti-government, while reluctant to spend advertising dollars with those that are either balanced, or sympathetic towards the coalition government. In other words, opposition media houses have absolutely nothing to complain about. That’s DEMOCRACY! On the issue radio and television licences, this government has demonstrated its willingness to operate in a fair and equitable manner as it pertains to the granting of licences to citizens, irrespective of their political views.

Sadly, under Jagdeo and the PPP, only their families, friends, ‘lagoo bagoos’, and ‘conoo monoos’, were given access to own and operate radio and television stations. An important point to note is that while some folks may think that it was as easy as ABC for me to have been given a radio licence under this government, the road wasn’t easy at all. And now, citizens are free to talk, shout, yell or slam President Granger (most times without justifiable reasons) and the government, without fear of repercussions, or other forms of political violence being meted out to them by the government. That’s

DEMOCRACY! In conclusion, as this subject could take days to finish, let’s take a look at how President Granger has restored respect upon this still-young nation. Firstly, members of the diplomatic corps are now comfortable to perform their duties in a professional atmosphere where they are not going to be ‘cussed out’ by His Excellency the President, ministers or any government official, as was the case during Jagdeo and the PPP’s years in office. That’s DEMOCRACY! Note, Guyanese would never forget the ‘crass-like’ and unnecessary ‘cuss out’ and disrespect meted out to the then US Ambassador Hon. Brent Hardt, at his official residence. Yes, those horrible and fish-market-like days are long gone. Moreover, no drug lord is allowed to threaten diplomats and their wives, or orchestrate kidnappings in order to negotiate their names being taken off of the extradition list. Thankfully, under President Granger, persons wanted for crimes in the US have been extradited, and more will soon follow.

That’s DEMOCRACY! Secondly, Guyana is no longer blacklisted for refusing to be compliant with international Anti-Money-Laundering and Combating the Financing Terrorism (AML-CFT) regime. Under the Jagdeo/Ramotar-PPP regimes, they refused to comply, for obvious reasons. However, with the removal of the PPP from office, President Granger and his government, have ensured that Guyana is on the right track, and legitimate investors and businesses can breathe again. That’s DEMOCRACY! Thirdly, the Commissioner of Police and all members of his departments are allowed to function without any publicly-known political interference and promotions are mostly based on merit, qualifications and honesty. Yes, more can be done in this regard, but even with the horrible mess inherited by this government (with some bad apples still lingering in the force) citizens can, for the most part, rely on the police to protect and serve, without being sent to Monkey Mountain, or to bathe dogs, as a form of punishment for doing his/her job. Thus, with the (hopefully permanent) removal of the PPP, the Office of the Commissioner of Police has been restored to respectability, compliments of President Granger and his government.

That’s DEMOCRACY! So, I hope that the naysayers and, especially, those politically-bitter, vindictive and unpatriotic Guyanese (especially the likes of Charrandass, and his newfound few defenders) would recognise that decency has been restored and, to be a bit more precise and to the point: President Granger has restored democracy in Guyana.