Monday, June 20, 2011

Freedom of Information Bill a promise fulfilled

CEDRIC LORD: IN the June 16, 2011, ‘Kaieteur News’ Editorial “Unfulfilled Promises,” it was stated that “there are times when with all good intentions,the government would promise to execute projects and programmes. (And that) sometimes, the elements would conspire to thwart the government but they would only delay the projects and programmes.” Well, there is nothing profound in this self-evident truth. So, as a feature, it starts with a defeating premise, and added to this is the all-important fact, that the PPP/C had and still has a repair job to do in Guyana. As a caveat, one must take cognisance of the fact that this job of renovation is not only physical and economic, but also psychological and cultural. So what is the point I am making? I am positing that President Jagdeo is not reneging on a commitment regarding the “…promise of the Freedom of Information legislation…” This will happen, and that is why Dr Roger Luncheon announced that the legislation would become a reality. It is being tabled in Parliament. Recent history supports this: the promise of better and expanded medicare, the investment in the lives of Guyana’s first peoples, quality education programmes etc. So the call is for Guyanese to do what they have been doing all the time, that is, trust the PPP/C Government. Its record is good. One must have another important thought in mind too.

First, when it comes to the introduction of the ‘Freedom of Information’ legislation, one has to be exceedingly careful. For decades (under the aegis of the PNC), this was never mentioned (and could not be). The political climate back then was saturated with trepidation. The citizens of Guyana lived in such intimidation, that they practised ‘incognito’ as much as possible. It was so fearful an atmosphere back then, that even to be conspicuous, was a risk. So to swing on a pendulum, and move from one extreme to the next is not only an arduous responsibility, but it is quite risky. Two examples highlight the need to ‘proceed with caution’ in this ‘Freedom of Information ‘Bill.
First, one is very aware of the ‘Feminist Movement’ which sought and still seeks to bring redress to women’s issues. However, so many on the distaff side have suffered and self destruct by virtue of the very ‘freedom’ they avidly embraced. It came with a rush and ‘choked’ them. One can also look at the ‘mad’ rush the PNC made for free education and the embracing of the CXC and CAPE. During the early days of this ‘new Caribbean thing,’ there was wide-spread mismanagement, gross ‘leakage’ and wasted resources. The PPP/C is still in the process of cleaning up, and making the system fully functional. So any ‘rush’ of blood is bound to engender all kinds of problems and difficulties. One must remember this Bill is something totally new to Guyana. It is tantamount to ‘giving a car’ to a person who ‘just can’t drive.’

No comments:

Post a Comment