Eyewitness: Reforming…

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana


They say “if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it”, so your Eyewitness guesses “if it’s broken, you better fix it” – or deal with the consequences!! And if you didn’t know GECOM has been broken, then you must’ve been in suspended animation on that mission to Mars for the last five years! Luckily for us, seems that one of the few things both sides of our political divide agree on is that GECOM is broken. That’s a start.

But – and there’s a “but” whenever the PNC’s involved! – they don’t want to use the old system for appointing the new CEO and DCEO. Remember the last ones – Lowenfield and Myers – were let go after being charged with several counts of “public malfeasance”. They want some “independent” panel to do the screening and hiring. Well, they should know about weaknesses of the present system, since they used it to subvert the hiring of the last Chairman, and DCEO.

Remember when Granger unilaterally and illegally appointed James Patterson to become the Chair while traducing the Constitution, and he eventually had to be slapped down by the CCJ? But as Chair and a DCEO were to be hired, he did the damage. He didn’t even use the present deadlock in the Commission, where the Govt and Opposition Commissioners neutralise each other and decisions are then made by the Chair.

When hiring, the full Commission grades the applicants by awarding them points, and then deciding on total scores. Vishnu Persaud scored the highest points, but Patterson disregarded that and appointed Myers!! The rest, as we know to Guyana’s cost, is now part of our (sordid) history! But while the PNC’s suggestion might appear sensible on the surface, realistically, it’s impractical. Can you imagine the rigmarole we’ll have to compose this so-called “neutral” panel??

We can’t get the two sides to even decide on two “neutral” judges to fill the top rungs of the Judiciary – for two decades now!! If we choose to go that route, we might have to wait as long for the panel to appoint GECOM personnel. But we got a country to run and elections to conduct. Has everyone forgotten we should be holding Local Government Elections this year?? And when the PPP don’t, the PNC will be screaming from the rooftops that they’re “undemocratic”!! Can’t win with them, can you? Even when counting votes!!
So, what to do. Well, we’ll just have to use the present system of scoring the candidates and choose the ones with the highest scores. At least the PNC can’t say the PPP has the advantage.
The Chair, who’ll announce the scores (and the new CEO and DCEO), was chosen by Granger, wasn’t she?
And we know she’ll do the right thing!

…the Police

It is with very good reason that the Police are always in the news. After all, they’re the most ubiquitous arm of the state among the people. Secondly, they’re supposed to maintain “law and order”, meaning that they have to provide the visible sanctions to deter folks from breaking the law. And since laws are only made when folks are already doing something the state figures shouldn’t be done, the Police start from a position of being spoilsports! Who doesn’t take “chances” when driving on the roads? But that’s defined as “illegal”, and the Police are there to nab you!

And with every person and institution, once you give them power, it’s susceptible to being abused. And that’s a fact, Jack! Our problem with our police began with Burnham and the PNC giving the Police power to harass citizens for all sorts of things back in the day – even for being caught with bread!!
And with that kind of power, once it’s bestowed, it’s very difficult to take back.

…the PNC

Another task that’s analogous to cleaning the Augean Stables – where horse poop had accumulated for a hundred years! – is reforming the then PNC!!
And among the candidates, your Eyewitness sure doesn’t see any budding Hercules!!