Jul 09, 2017 Features / Columnists, Freddie Kissoon

On Thursday afternoon, I was a guest of Stan Gouveia’s radio programme, “The Hot Seat” on 94.1FM. The first question was grading the President. Actually Stan didn’t ask me to give the President a mark. He informed me that President Granger awarded an ‘A’ grade to his Cabinet, and then he asked for my reaction. I prefaced my fail grade for Mr. Granger by the following explanation which I will repeat here.
I told Stan I respect my education which was earned from hard work and based on my love for education, I cannot honestly cast it aside by being dishonest on my analysis of Mr. Granger in office. I gave Mr. Granger an ‘F’ grade, and that came out of dispassionate assessment of his two-year stewardship of the country. I don’t know if Mr. Granger will be irked about what was said on ‘The Hot Seat’ or is written here. Mr. Granger makes decisions; my task is to put my interpretations on those decisions for my readers. Many of those decisions were plainly wrong, many not commensurate with democratic culture.
It has not been an effective two years for Mr. Granger. He has not demonstrated the leadership qualities that this country needs in the post-Jagdeo period. I see nothing on the landscape, except his financial rectitude, to convince me that transformational changes are on the horizon. I chose carefully to make a distinction between financial rectitude and personal integrity. While I am not going to comment extensively on Mr. Granger’s personal integrity, I think it is not epistemologically and psychologically possible to separate personal integrity from opportunistic politics.
I will deal with one issue of personal integrity and move on, choosing to look at political opportunism of the President. The question is if the president is politically opportunistic can you relate that to a character? I will not go in that direction for now. The one issue of personal integrity I have dealt with in several columns. It is an issue that will not go away for me unless the President does the modest and morally right thing and apologizes to me. I did an entire column requesting such an apology and I haven’t seen it from him as yet. I hope it is forthcoming.
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I have written enough on this subject, but will have to repeat it here, since I am looking at the personal integrity of the President. His office in a press release accused me of making mischief by writing that he, in his capacity as President, chose three ministers from within the AFC’s leadership on his own, without AFC’s input, including his son-in-law. President Granger knows who birthed that statement; his very good friend, Raphael Trotman. Yet the President’s Office accused me of mischief. Let’s move on.
Executives in the WPA that are my personal friends told me that I have permission to write about what will follow in the next few lines. They said when the WPA met the President on the ministerial transfer of Rupert Roopnaraine; the President stated that he made up his mind to remove Roopnaraine from the Education Ministry once he saw the report of the COI on education.
There is a serious flaw in this reasoning by the President, and he has opened himself to serious criticism, of which I know he will get from the WPA and should from society. The COI could not have judged Roopnaraine for the time he was at the Ministry. The COI was implemented before Roopnaraine completed eighteen months in office, and was finished before Roopnaraine completed two years. It becomes a matter of laughter to say that the President thought Roopnaraine could have cleared the stables in eighteen months.
In using that reason to remove Roopnaraine, the President has become vulnerable to trenchant criticism. In his two years in the presidency has he changed Guyana in ways one can honestly say is meaningful? Police behaviour, medical delivery, electricity delivery (it is worse than under the PPP where I live), crime situation, bureaucratic competence, state services, Georgetown City Council, UG, the educational system, the economy, judicial functionalism, infrastructural system (traffic signals are more erratic than under the PPP), general fear of the population, youth problems, minority rights, constitutional changes (look what the President did to the constitution with his GECOM chairman explanation) have hardly been positively transformed.
In removing Roopnaraine for lacklustre functioning, the President leads one to ask of him a similar question’ isn’t your performance lacklustre too? Well let’s say that the President’s record was better than Roopnaraine’s; what about the performance of other Ministers?
Pardon me. Mr. Granger; I think your slip is showing.