After 20 years of the PPP, Guyana remains a semi-primitive society
Ten months after the Jagdeo/Ramotar regime promised to end corruption and create jobs, we are left to wonder what the regime has done so far. Not only they have not reduced corruption and created jobs but they seem incapable of easing the burden on the poor and the working class. With unemployment on the rise, the PPP regime has been shown to be devoid of a feel for the economic reality in the country. Mr. Ramotar’s most recent statement that he will modernize Guyana is nothing more than a propaganda exploit. After 20 years of PPP rule, Guyana remains a semi-primitive society where people have to wait for extremely long hours in lines for service from every government department/agency, the traffic lights are in a mess, public hospitals are in shambles, and despite Priya Manickchand’s saying that all is well, public schools and UG are collapsing. In addition, constant power outages and the lack of potable water have become the norm, Georgetown is now the garbage/stink city instead of the Garden City, crimes have spiralled out of control and corruption has reached new heights never seen before in Guyana. But the fact that the cabal says the country is developing shows that the PPP regime is in denial.
President Ramotar’s refusal to change course is truly a nightmare. He has failed in his most important duty as President to correct the failed and corrupt policies of the previous regime. In office for almost a year, Mr. Ramotar did little more than play night watchman over the policies he inherited from Jagdeo. He did not even bother to give any of his predecessor’s policies a little tweak to convince the nation that he is making the necessary changes to ease the burden on the poor and the working class. This type of behaviour is difficult to explain to the average Guyanese except for the fact that coming from the corridors of Freedom House; it is a normal course of action.
We had hoped that having experienced the consequences of Jagdeo’s unpreparedness to deal with crime, corruption, and the trafficking of narcotics, President Ramotar would have been better prepared to address them. By now, his government should have had plans to restructure the country’s fiscal, monetary and trade policies to increase economic output and provide greater economic opportunity for the people while at the same time tackle corruption, crime, and the illegal trafficking of drugs. But this PPP regime seemed to have come to office with nothing more than dreams of ending corruption and the delusionary idea that employment can be created without an economic development plan.
Apart from that, the 2011 elections proved to be an act of providence for the combined parliamentary opposition parties—AFC and APNU. The opposition’s unique perspective of being the architect of a majority in Parliament gave them a better-than-average chance of developing strategies that could begin the process of correcting past mistakes and charting a new course towards real economic development. For the opposition to be taken seriously by the people, it has to pressure the Jagdeo/Ramotar regime to reduce VAT, create jobs, provide tangible increases in wages for civil/public servants, and establish the Procurement Commission and an Anti-Corruption Agency.
But the AFC and APNU have squandered this rare privilege and instead spent their time engaged in squabbling over inconsequential issues unrelated to the reality of the country’s economic and social dilemma and the urgent need to radically change the parlous state of the poor and the working class. This is clearly revealed by the fact that the list of issues the majority opposition have dealt with in Parliament is hardly recognizable in anything that would improve the lives of the poor and the working class.
That there has been no real progress by the majority opposition is not surprising. We have pointed out in previous letters that the PPP regime is lacking in substance but are we to believe that the combined opposition is no better prepared to tackle and improve the country‘s economic and social problems?
For more than a decade, Guyana’s finances have been grossly mismanaged by the Jagdeo regime. Today CLICO is bankrupt; the NIS is in dire financial straits and NICIL cannot account for millions of taxpayers’ dollars. The depth of the country’s financial crisis cannot be denied. Yet the PPP regime is in denial of this reality. They do not seem to grasp the urgency of the situation. What is required are honesty and a set of realistic goals to weed out corruption, create jobs and chart a pragmatic course that will improve the lives of the poor and the working class.
Because the PPP cabal controls the purse strings, it has been very easy for them to influence the electorate with baseless promises and illusory goals. The poor and the working class has for too long been the victim of this kind of crooked leadership. The PPP’s politics over the years has been nourished by racial voting which they have used to make a section of the population gullible. Its leaders have always said that “the people are their greatest asset.” Yet they have been selling them a pie in the sky at election time rather than telling them the truth. Wake up people!
Dr. Asquith Rose
and Harish S. Singh