Jan 03, 2019 kaieteur
The APNU-AFC Government has an uphill task to restore the confidence of the electorate and even members of its own camp, should the party have any chance of success at a general election.
This is the view of Political commentator and University Professor, Dr. David Hinds. Hinds is also a member of the Working People’s Alliance, (WPA), which is a component of A Partnership for National Unity.
He noted that while the Government has been mainly focused on the no -confidence vote passed in the National Assembly last month, it is neglecting to deal with very critical issues that can have far reaching effects on whether it has another chance at governance.
As a first order of the day, Hinds said that the Coalition should spend some time to strengthening itself.
“It is no secret that the Coalition has not been working well…As a first order of the day, I believe the Government should hold a meeting and address the intra- party relations.
“One thing that must be changed is that the Government must ensure that members of the Coalition meet, share views, have discussions and are part of the decision made before moving forward.
Secondly, the Coalition must recalibrate and openly apologize to its supporters for not honouring the various party promises.
Dr. Hinds suggested further that there should be some reshuffling at the level of the party leadership.
“Rather than focus all its energy on the no -confidence vote, the party must look to bring some new youthful energy to the table.
“More than half of the voting population is under 40 years old; I think the party needs more young people on board in leadership positions to help address and appeal to the needs of the population,” Hinds asserted.
“There should also be clearer overarching policies for young people to benefit directly. The policies must address the issue of employment, education and so forth.”
Another key the political commentator added, is for the Government to demonstrate its commitment in delivering promises of Constitutional reform which will make way for shared governance.
He said too, that the Executive should also move to address other promised reforms.
The Government must also put more effort into appealing to persons outside its support base.
“The sugar workers have a lot to do with that, so as hard as it would be, the Coalition must find a way to face these persons and somehow reach out to them.
“It will be an uphill task to convince the electorate for another term in office, but the Government must place its hands at the plough and work to deliver on its promises as much as it could with the time they have left.”
In 2015, the APNU+AFC Party had promised the nation that within 100 days of being in office, it would have accomplished several things, one of which is the establishment of an Investigative Commission on Corruption.
However after being in office for more than three years, the Commission is far from being in place.
Ram and McRae Chartered Accountants in their comprehensive review of budget 2019 highlighted government’s failure to deliver.
In its report Ram and McRae noted that when it comes to the issue of corruption, the coalition administration has delivered much less than it has promised.
It said that the government’s failure to establish the Investigative Commission on Corruption is an outstanding example of this.
Further to this, the accounting firm said that procurement remains another area of serious concern as the Government has failed to make the necessary legislative changes to the Procurement Act to strengthen the role and effectiveness of the Procurement Commission and to remove the overriding influence of Cabinet in the procurement process.
With no changes to the legislative framework, Ram and McRae said that the procurement process remains not only suspect, but tainted and facilitative of manipulation and corruption.
The accounting firm said, too, that the signs that the Government was not as intent on dealing with corruption as it had promised, were there in the wasteful and unaccounted billion-dollar expenditure on the construction of a Stadium at Homestretch Avenue.
It said that Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson, who was later assigned responsibility for the Project, has not only been any more successful at providing answers to troubling questions, but has himself, been the subject of attention and investigation in respect of the feasibility study for the new Demerara Harbour Bridge crossing by the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU).
The firm noted that this Unit has also received, but is yet to pronounce on a complaint about the handling of the US$18 million Signing Bonus by the Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan.
As it relates to the award of security contracts, Ram and McRae opined that abuse still abounds, but nothing matches the Saffon Street drug bond deal for daring and lawlessness.
The accounting firm said, “Which rational, self-respecting Government will lend money to buy a property and then lease back that property at a shocking rental equivalent that pays back the capital cost of the property in months rather than years?
President Granger showed his tolerance for such egregious conduct not by calling in the Audit Office but by setting up a sub-committee of his Cabinet which found among other things, that the general terms of the lease were ‘not altogether.’