Feb 24, 2017 Features / Columnists, Freddie Kissoon

frddie3

It is my opinion that the Mayor of Georgetown and the Town Clerk are either disrespectful of the President of the Republic or they are ignoring all his post 2015 exhortations on democracy because they believe it is just rhetoric and not a genuine embrace. From the time the APNU+AFC came into power, there has been a creeping dictatorship in City Hall. Let’s digress into political theory for a moment.

Some political theorists have argued that Singapore and Malaysia achieved economic and social greatness under an authoritarian system. They went on to state that if Singapore and Malaysia had open, liberal constitutionalism, maybe they would not have outshone a majority of countries and be ranked today as two of the leading economies in the world.
In fact, the term Third World may no longer describe Singapore and Malaysia. So what is the point and relevance of this discussion with City Hall in Guyana?
If one is going to run an authoritarian system and deliver development and progress, then criticism of your undemocratic rule is going to be muted because people are benefitting from your authoritarian approach. Maybe they will support you because they will tell your detractors; “I don’t care what he is and what he does; he is achieving things for me and my country.”
It is when you are a dictator and there are no social accomplishments that people will want to kick you out.
There has been one undemocratic, unaccountable, opaque implementation after another by City Hall since Mr. Granger became President and the nation does not see a forceful response from the President which ought to be for two reasons – he is ruling over a nation that welcomed the removal of the PPP oligarchy with its attendant nightmares of power madness and corruptibility and secondly his unlimited praise for the freedom and democracy that local government elections will bring.
After the cruel removal of over one hundred vendors from Stabroek Market Square to accommodate the celebrations of the Golden Jubilee (which I believe the President and the AFC leaders ought to be condemned for and which will determine how I vote in 2020), the President did say that the vendors should not have been removed without a proper alternative and after discussions with stakeholders.
President Granger also addressed a full house at the City Council in July 2016 and this is what he said; “I actually advised that every member of the Council was responsible for a particular constituency and they should visit their constituencies… My own view is that there should be greater consultation. That is the message I had felt that I had transmitted to the Mayor and Councilors. That in everything they did, they need to be assured of not necessarily compliance, but consultation with the stakeholders, whether it is the vendors or other people…”
“The President noted that while it is understood that some changes are necessary for the development of the capital city and the lives of the residents, it is also imperative that consultations be held, so that citizens feel included and that their opinions are taken into consideration,” stated a news report.
Now here is the part of the GINA report on the President’s visit that eight months after has not done his credibility any good; “President Granger said that Georgetown is the capital city of the country and as such, the national interest and that of the citizens must be the priority. This, he said, therefore requires consultations, through which citizens can have a voice in what they believe, are in their best interests and that of the country.”
Let us return to my opening observation, I need to repeat it; “It is my opinion that the Mayor of Georgetown and the Town Clerk are either disrespectful of the President of the Republic or they are ignoring all his post 2015 exhortations on democracy because they believe it is just rhetoric and not a genuine embrace of democracy.”
You cannot square, no matter how brilliant a mind you have, the policies and attitudes of City Hall with those words from the President’s mouth in July 2016. It is either City Hall does not care to observe the political pronouncements on democracy by the President or City Hall knows the President is just speaking for speaking sake. Which one is it?
It is my unshakeable belief which a nuclear explosion cannot detach me from that the Mayor’s reference to the closing hours of business which she said came from a complainant and not her office may have been a subtle response intended to send a message.