Guyana: elections, unity and trust

As the Guyanese people move forward from their recent elections, their journey on the road to unity must involve concentrated efforts to build trust.

They have launched that journey with at least one major success for which they deserve our sincere congratulations: the triumph of the democratic electoral process.

The many international observer missions have endorsed the elections as being free and fair. And, contrary to the underlying fears in some circles, there have been very limited disturbances before, during and after the long electoral process.

Now that that process has reached its formal conclusion, with the installation of the president, the prime minister, the cabinet and the Parliament, the big challenge is to entrench the foundations for another process: healing the wounds of the racial division and the race-based politics that have rent the country asunder for over 60 years.

This second process involves progressive stages of building unity. And the coalition government of President David Granger has to be both the messenger and the message itself. It embodied that unity in its pre-election coalition of diverse political parties and of politicians of diverse racial groups.

The new government now has the responsibility of managing the country in a manner that demonstrates the strengths of a team united in purpose and action, showing the Guyanese people the successes only unity can bring.

Given that objective of unity in purpose and action, The Caribbean Camera is inspired by the insightful analysis and recommendations provided by E.B. John (not our E.B. John at the ECLS here in Toronto) in his letter to the editor in the Stabroek News (a Guyanese daily newspaper) on May 26. Two of John’s salient points are summarized here.

The first point is that there is an urgent need for the leaders of the new government to have orientation and briefing sessions, aimed at enhancing their capacity to deliver effective and efficient governance.

Externally moderated group sessions are necessary to explain and re-emphasize the vision and strategies of the government. They outline the concepts and action plans for governance, while underlining the importance of procedures and practices in the delivery of governance. They also provide clear directions on how the vision and mission of the leaders and their government are to be realized in the programs, roles, responsibilities, reporting relationships and the performance expectations.

Building on that first point, John drives home his second and equally strategic point of order: the critical importance of building trust, as the cornerstone of unity of purpose and action. Building trust, within the leadership team and among members of the leadership team and their respective publics, is absolutely essential.

Thank you, Mr. John.

Over to you, Guyanese Sisters and Brothers.