President David Granger, though not of the same military rank, reminds me of the Roman General Fabius Maximus Cunctator who achieved notoriety for his delaying tactics.
Cast in the context of Guyana today, a calculated application of Cuncator's fame as a delayer, is reflected in President Granger's delaying tactics in respect to the appointment of a Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM); the appointment of the Local Government Commission; the appointment of a Governing Board to the Deeds Commercial Registry Authority and the naming of four new NDC's in Regions 4,6 and 9
The Cunctatious delay in the selection of a GECOM Chairman will have serious implications and possibly, cause an unnecessary delay in the holding of either the next local government or general and regional elections or both.
Going through the motions with the Leader of the Parliamentary Opposition with names on lists is merely for the sake of optics as far as the government is concerned
It is apposite to recall that on two occasions, first in 1970, when Mr. Burnham caused general elections to be postponed for two years on the ground that Guyana needed a new constitution.
Later, Mr. Hoyte caused the election that was due in 1990 to be postponed for two
years after being forced to scrap the voters' list that was rejected by the opposition Patriotic Coalition for Democracy (PCD) and the Carter Center.
Thus, the PNC has always found an excuse to extend their five year tenure in office.
The delay in elections envisaged by the APNU/AFC for 2020 is strategic. It is based on the 1970 and 1990 electoral experiences and more so, in view of the prospects of oil production in the same year and the deep and abiding yearning by the APNU/AFC to remain in office to benefit from oil gushing revenues.
On this occasion, the excuse for a delay of the elections due in 2020 and by implication, an extension of the APNU+AFC's term of office will most likely be the need for a new Constitution.
Small wonder therefore that the government is consciously pushing back the preparatory stages to establish a body to address constitutional reform. It would come as no surprise therefore, if the government jump starts this process two years before general elections.
Going through the motions with the Leader of the Parliamentary Opposition with names on lists is merely for the optics.
And the worst fear that the President will chose someone of his liking was indicated just a few days ago when he declined to accept the recommendations of the Judicial Service Commission under the hand of its previous Chairman, Justice Carl Singh.
When the President said;
"It is an ineffable principle of justice that decisions should be based only on objective criteria, rather than on the basis of bias,betraying improper preference for one person or one group of persons over others," the phonetics of 'ineffable ' apart, it is expected that the selection a Chairman for GECOM would resonate with this view.
Further, the Cunctatious delay in the appointment of the three Presidentially appointed members of the Local Government Commission is calculated at frustrating the functions of those NDC's already in place, the majority of which are controlled by the PPP/C.
The APNU/AFC was calculating that, had they won the majority of the NDC's, they would have moved immediately to set up the Commission but this was not to be, for having faced the wrath of the electorate at those elections, they embarked on a process of marking time which, if prolonged until 2018 just before the next local government elections should come as no surprise.
From all appearances, the Cunctatious praxis of strategic delay is being applied to wear out the political opposition to a point where the issue or issues they set out to champion, become so tepid propaganda- wise that in the end, it is the government that claims the victory albeit phyrrical.
The President's expression of his government's disinterest in interfering with the judiciary and that;
" All courts and all persons presiding over the courts shall exercise their functions independently of the control and direction of any other person or authority; and shall be free and independent from political, executive and any other form of direction and control," will be severely tested in the weeks and the months ahead especially when consideration is given to the control
freakery that now envelopes the JSC.
The almost two- year long delayed hearing in the Court of the PPP/C's petition challenging the 2015 elections results; the challenge to the elections of Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen of several NDC's and the Mayor of Mabaruma; the Scott/Felix case; the challenge to the VAT Amendment Act;
the Public Procurement Commission Appelate Tribunal as well as the cases concerning the Seafield WCB rice farmers and the Number 40 village rice farmers attest to prevarication and implicit concubinage between the Executive and the Judiciary.
In these matters, it is my view that
Judges need to be fearless and not spineless in treating with political matters relating to the administration of justice.
The Court must not be transformed into pallid, legalistic bureaucracies governed by a breed of judges who are careful from saying, doing or writing anything that might compromise their future ambition.
Our Constitution is not neutral it was designed to take government off the backs of the Guyanese people.
It is expected that Mr. Granger will not be consumed in his actions by Fabius Maximus Cunctator's autocratic view that;
" To be turned from one's course by men's opinions, by blame, and by misrepresentation show a man unfit to hold an office."