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For some time now, it has been of concern to me that a critical element of Good Governance: Inclusivity, is observed in the breach by the current Government. Even worse has been statements that suggest an unpreparedness on the Government’s part to embrace Inclusivity.
A prime example was the President’s declaration, at a public meeting in Mocha Arcadia, that he has no intention of speaking with, or to, the officially elected Leader of the Mocha Arcadia Neighbourhood Democratic Council on crucial matters affecting that community.
This posture flies in the face of democratic practices that require governments to be responsive to the opinion of the people in the decision-making processes and more specifically to include the people and their representatives, in particular, in the decision-making processes.
It also flies in the face of the premise for the decentralization of authority as a precondition for development, which ties development to local participation, since it allows for more efficient execution of projects and the knowledgeable and motivated involvement of the local people in their development. The IDB and the World Bank are ardent proponents of this studied, recommended and practiced approach to Public Administration and Local Development
If inclusion is not practiced, even good intentions and good projects may fail for the want of the people’s involvement, and the projects for unresponsiveness to the social and natural ecology of the local area.
In the face of past pronouncements, I was momentarily hopeful when I read a Kaieteur News headline of January 9, 2023 which stated that “Government will continue to build on its ardent policy of inclusion – PM”.
My hope was shattered when I read on, to determine, what the Prime Minister had actually said. What did he say?
- “Examples of government`s attempt at inclusivity can be seen through the Ministry of Labour which declared that persons living with disabilities should be provided with equal employment and training opportunities.” Apart from that just being a declaration, it is in no way an element of Inclusion. In good governance terms, Inclusion means involvement in the decision-making process rather than access to equal opportunities, which in the given example is Equity rather than Inclusion.
- “Notably too, the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security continues to push to eliminate all economic, social and cultural practices that impede equality and equity.” Here again the goodly Prime Minister equates equitable measures to Inclusion.
- “In fact, he said the government is looking to embark on a massive plan that will allow small contractors to enhance their knowledge on the correct bidding procedure.” Incidentally, that was one of the activities that the International Decade for People of African Descent Assembly-Guyana was undertaking and for which the Government stopped the funding. However, it is not an act of inclusion. It is an act of empowerment and does not automatically lead to inclusion.
All of the aforementioned intentions may be commendable. But, how does one consciously engage in an endeavor when one cannot demonstrate that one understands what that endeavor entails?
On one hand, the Government has clearly articulated and demonstrated its perverse disposition to Inclusion. On the other hand, the Prime Minister failed to whitewash that perversity. He demonstrated that they cannot even articulate what is meant by Inclusion.
All of the aforementioned shows that inclusion is alienated by the Government, as much as it is alien to them.