OPINION: What We Should Thank Mr. Granger For – By Dr. Mark Devonish

 – By Dr. Mark Devonish

It is human nature to forget the 99% good that someone has done and only focus on the 1% negatives. This is more pronounced when the person in question is a public figure. That magnified the expectations and the negatives. I have always been and still am an avid supporter of Mr. Granger despite my harsh criticism of his actions during the elections impasse.

I remain resolutely convinced that he should step aside from politics as he focuses on academia. In my humble opinion, his handing of the election saga lay bare his lack of testicular fortitude, a killing instinct and an ability to self sacrifice. These are just a few qualities of a great leader for which Mr. Granger is not.         

Former Pres. David Granger

Having said that I do believe that he has done quite a lot in just one term. To begin with he brought dignity to the office. A dignity and respect which was lacking under the PPP. Further he brought honesty. Too honest I may say. PPP 23yrs was a period of grand corruption which was evident in Guyana being at the base of the Transparency International Corruption Index. In five years Guyana moved to mid-table. This was the greatest jump for any country. Under PPP Guyana was blacklisted by the EU. Under Mr. Granger, Guyana was removed from that blacklist and in the process making international business transactions easier.

In the area of health a Guyana made massive progress under Mr. Granger. Under PPP maternal mortality and infant mortality were out of control. Under Mr. Granger those numbers fell significantly. Water ambulances and maternity houses were some of the innovation contributing to this. Massive investments were made in both our peripheral hospitals and main hospitals. CT scans were installed at our peripheral hospitals. Ultrasound scans were also made available. In Berbice, patients no longer needed to travel to Georgetown for blood test. A 24hrs laboratory at the Mahaicony Hospital made this possible.

All this is a reflection of the visionary in Mr. Granger: Introducing patient centred care in Guyana. Further, under PPP patients were doubling up on beds. Under Mr. Granger this was discontinued. Each patient now have their own bed and cupboard. Further it was under Mr. Granger that communication for health professionals was introduced. This was critical because of the number of complaints from patients about staff poor communication. The management of COVID-19 was by far much better on Mr. Granger. Under the PPP the death and infection rates have increased exponentially. This is down to a lack of a coherent policy. Also under Mr. Granger the COVID Hospital was built. That’s a reflection of Mr. Granger’s proactive thinking. There was further plan to build a trauma centre at GPHC and take health care to another level.

Financial benefits for all was absolutely amazing. Under PPP minimum wage was $36,000. In five years that was increased by over 100% to $75,000 under Mr. Granger stewardship. Daily he spoke of livable wage. Pension under Mr. Granger increased from $7000 to $20,000 in 5 years. That’s was a remarkable achievement when one considers that it stood static under PPP. Furthermore, under Mr. Granger Guyana has had an average economic growth of 4%. Growth every year of his Presidency. Mr. Granger had plans for a decade of further development when re-elected. He was but lacked the inner fight to own it.

Public works was probably the better of the Ministries. Many bridges built. Many roads built. Many overhead bypasses built. Many hospital built. Courts built. Schools built. Health Care professional accommodations built. Roads built. Many Interior roads built. Amerindian accommodations built. Housing for abused women built. But most importantly, a hanging gallows built for PPP to hang themselves which they are now doing.

Social cohesion was a brilliant initiative by Mr. Granger. The race hating that we are witnessing today is a reflective of the work done by this Ministry which is presently not being done. Under Mr. Granger the ERC members were literally bored without complaints. Under PPP the complaints are mountainous moreso from one of the ERC members.

The thankless Amerindians have much to be grateful for. Mr. Granger built their roads. He gave them houses. He gave them school buses, bicycles and roads. He gave them internet. He gave them electricity and water. Mr. Granger basically gave them everything to build their community. Apparently that was not what they wanted. They simply wanted $5000 from PPP. $5000 for their votes. Sadly Mr. Granger did not gave them common sense. PPP neglected them for 23yrs but all they needed was pittance and race indoctrination to vote PPP.

Education made massive strides under Mr. Granger. Better performances in Grade vi examination. More student leaving school with at least 5 subjects. More passes in Mathematics and English. Improved performance in the interior which is a direct reflection of Mr. Granger’s policies.

Policing was vastly different under Mr. Granger. The police force was not used as political instruments to intimidate the PPP. There was no extrajudicial or political killings. Serious crime was on the decrease albeit the police still struggle to solve crime . The police force was a professional unit under Mr. Granger. The citizenry had freedom of assembly and protest. Many black men are alive today because of Mr. Granger. One lady made threats to assassinate Mr. Granger and was brought before the courts. Mr. Granger forgave and told her to sin no more. Many petty prisoners were pardoned. A compassionate leader he is.

Overall Mr. Granger’s 5 years in office was a massive success. I would humbly gave him 7.5/10. In my opinion he lost many marks due to his mishandling of the post election impasse. As a person I do still hold Mr. Granger in high regard and would be forever grateful for all he did for the Guyanese people.

Caveat, all that I have written I did so in 30 minutes, off my head. I am sure there is much more that I likely missed.

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  • brandli62  On 09/22/2020 at 6:12 am

    This tribute to President Granger was long overdue! My special thanks goes to Dr. Devonish for putting down his thoughts. In my opinion, President Granger came across a President with great integrity and decency.

    Many of the points Dr. Devnonish made was evident to me during my last visit to Guyana in the fall of 2018. I did not face any corruption attempts in dealing with the authorities. The police department was run professionally and they accommodated my needs to get a police report done in 24 hours rather than 7-14 days. All the staff, I encounter at different public offices were cordial, correct and the advice I received was appropriate and helpful. I also noticed that the renovation of public offices was going ahead. Other infrastructure improvements were also evident. I arrived a Ogle Airport, which had completely transformed to the old days. There were provisional security checks and friendly emigration officers. I and my younger daughter, who was traveling with me, felt welcome from the day we touch ground in Guyana. Overall, we felt that the country was moving ahead to reach 21st century standards. Many more improvements, such in health care and infrastructure, were mentioned by Dr. Devonish.

    It made me sick to read that the new government acted without any respect for the achievements of the previous government. The improvements in fighting corruption have been acknowledged by Transparency International as were the improvements in freedom of expression and press freedom. Most shocking, I did not see any expression of thanks from President Ali to President Granger for his service to the nation in his inauguration speech. If I had missed this, please correct me. In general, I believe that these type of gestures are a sign of decency and help to heal the wounds of the nation after a bruising 2020 general election.

    Regarding corruption, I talked to a number of mainly Indo-Guyanese cab drivers during my stay to get an impression about their views of the Granger administration. It was interesting to hear that most acknowledged that corruption had been reduced a lot, but I could feel that they had a hard time to give credit to an administration run by an Afro-Guyanese president. It seemed to me that they were brain-washed to see only the aspects, where the Granger administration had failed.

    Where I deviate from Dr. Devonish’s view is President Granger’s handling of the post-election situation. I have always argued that President Granger was acting in the line with the law. Filing motions in court are completely legal and are part of the game, particularly in highly contested elections with evidence of vote rigging. He also agreed to a recount, which was observed by CARICOM. Finally, please keep in mind that he conceded as soon as GECOM declared the final and legally binding election results. Where was the problem?

    Given all the good policies introduced by the coalition government, which was effectively only fully operational for about 3 years, it made me sad that they failed to get the upper hand in the media coverage. Many negative comments made by overseas Guyanese on Guyanese Online were based on hearsay and not be seeing the improvements on the ground.

  • brandli62  On 09/22/2020 at 6:31 am

    Here is the link to President Ali’s inauguration address:


    This address was hardly written in the spirit of reconciliation and with an aim of uniting the nation. It mainly addresses the interests of the stakeholders that have put President Ali in office.

  • Yvonne-K  On 09/22/2020 at 7:50 am

    You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. It’s only a matter of time before we see the MO of this government return. I sincerely hope I’m wrong for the sake of the Guyanese people who want to see the country move in a different direction aside from the large oil finds. It comes as no surprise that President Granger and APNU were not given any credit for their accomplishments during their short term in office. The PPP supporters on this Blog labelled President Granger a sanctimonious gangster over and over again, and these comments came from those who thought they were better and more learned. Since the loss of APNU, you don’t hear a peep from the PPP gallery….”we pun top now boy”…no matter how we got there. It is going to be a bumpy ride ahead. Hope they’re wearing seatbelts.

  • detow  On 09/22/2020 at 2:43 pm

    More of the same— Pradoville Numbers 3,4 and 5— sugar industry deficit negating oil income—-many young black men turning up dead—-Limden and other black enclaves denied of everything necessary foe development. All in all, back to the future.

  • Cedric  On 09/22/2020 at 8:08 pm

    It would have been a lot more constructive for you and others to have made many more appraisals of Mr.Grainger’s term in office before the elections Not AFTER.

    • Yvonne-K  On 09/23/2020 at 7:37 am

      Cedric perhaps you were not reading comments prior to elections because if you had you would have read many positive comments posted. As usual anything posted that gave kudos to President Granger and APNU were shouted down by the PPP supporters whose only arguments against dated back to Burnham and the PNC days. It’s was like a recurring decimal. Pathetic really!!! These supporters should ask themselves what did the PPP achieve during their 23 years in power prior to APNU? They basically gave away Guyana and the Afro Guyanese were made to punish as a result of being marginalized.

      Let’s see what they will accomplish this time around.

  • Douglaman  On 09/27/2020 at 1:03 am

    From Douglaman:

    All of the comments here are valid.. especially the ones from Brandli62 and Yvonne-K. I am a bit late with my comments as I was in the Interior on a project. No internet.

    It is my belief, being a resident here in Guyana that the APNU-AFC coalition gave the win to the PPP due to their neglect of simple political strategy. The PPP executed their propaganda well.

    The PPP did not win the popular vote by much, winning by just one seat , so they did not have an overwhelming win when one considers that over 460,000 persons voted. If the coalition had executed a comprehensive POLITICAL strategy they would have won.
    Here are some points to ponder.

    1. President Granger was very unwell. He did not have many press conferences..
    2. There was no intelligent spoke-person giving weekly updates at a press conference the was Jagdeo did, criticising the government’s performance.
    3. The Coalition did not have a cadre of paid on-line social media personnel spreading the news of the various developments being done being done on a daily basis, as well as quashing the lies of the PPP. Just the fact that they managed to clean up Georgetown and improve its drainage was a great accomplishment that would have exposed the wonton neglect of the PPP and the businessmen who supported them who owed millions in taxes while they dumped their garbage in the streets and drainage canals.
    4.The PPP had a series of “talking points” which they kept repeating, that is why almost every PPP person on the Internet sings the same tunes. The taxi drivers were used to disseminate PPP propaganda to visitors… The negative anti- Coalition news started from Day 1 of the new government.
    5. The Coalition had internal problems of cohesion and this was reflected in the AFC going to the 2018 Local Government polls on its own… Bad move.
    6.The Coalition acted more like civil servants doing a good job… They lacked political flair and the ability to motivate enthusiasm. This may have been due to the type of ministers they selected… who operated in that mode in their past jobs..

    There is more that I saw here, that I felt damaged the Coalition with the people that supported them. The major one was the lack of grass roots campaigning. The PPP did that for two Local Government Elections and that helped them to overcome the many negative things they did before 2015 and prepare them for the 2020 General Elections.

    More later

    • brandli62  On 09/28/2020 at 7:07 am

      @Douglaman: Many thanks for your very informative analysis of what made the coalition lose the elections! Your points make very much sense for a Guyanese living abroad.

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