OUR CARIBBEAN: Challenge facing Granger from PM
GOVERNANCE POLITICS in Guyana have been quite different – at times bizarre – from other Caribbean Community countries since the dawn of independence in May almost half a century ago.
So very different, so ridiculous some would contend, that a serving Prime Minister of the current coalition government in Georgetown that functions with a one-seat parliamentary majority in the 65-member National Assembly has now gone public with his call for the executive president and head of state to be restricted to one five-year term instead of the permitted two-terms.
It’s not as if the prime minister, Moses Nagamootoo, has had a “Damascus-like” vision for a new form of governance for the country which is dominated overwhelmingly by the People’s National Congress of President David Granger – a former head of the Guyana Defence Force – and with the PM’s Alliance for Change (AFC) serving as the junior partner.
There have been more than recurring media reports of political rumblings and disquiet involving the prime minister’s functioning with recurring reports over his diminishing line-responsibility in the cabinet for certain portfolios, including that of the Ministry of Information.
Then came the so-called political bombshell about a week ago while he was addressing a political event at a regular favourite venue of his in Queens, New York. As reported in the local private print and electronic media, the prime minister, a once quite militant personality of the main opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) declared that an effective way to prevent corruption in government was to restrict presidential candidates to “one-term as thieving always start in the second term . . .”
The minister whose recent militant stand on controversial governance contrasts with his earlier public positions of strongly defending the administration, has also suggested that, generally, governments should be changed “sporadically” and that even the two-term period (ten years) is too long . . .
Since he is the only cabinet minister of the government to publicly voice his dissatisfaction over the abuse of powers and in particular over “corruption”, it’s expected that President Granger would find it quite difficult to maintain his public silence over the specific claims and reasoning of his prime minister.
The cabinet was scheduled to have its regular meeting yesterday and it seems reasonable to assume that the serious implications of Mr Nagamootoo’s claims and arguments and the public statement against the head of state by his prime minister would be difficult to ignore.
After all, until quite recently, Prime Minister Nagamoogtoo, a lawyer by profession, has been quite agile and forceful in his defence of President Granger’s leadership of the government as well as that of his own party leader leader, Khemraj Ramjattan, who happens to be a vice-president and Minister of the Public Security in the less than eight-month-old coalition administration in Georgetown.
With so much at stake in the public domain for the integrity of Guyana’s government, President Granger, current leader of the country’s second largest political party, the People’s National Congress, cannot afford to ignore the political gauntlet thrown down by his prime minister!
• Rickey Singh is a noted Caribbean journalist. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.