APRIL 4, 2013 | BY KNEWS | FILED UNDER LETTERS
There are three grave tragedies of the Guyanese condition created or magnified by our divisive politics since 1950. One is the scourge of racism and ethnic polarization. Another is moral and psychological degradation of the nation. The third is economic impoverishment.
The first and the last elements have always existed in this land since the events pre- and post-Emancipation reshaped this landscape. The moral and psychological degradation of the Guyanese people before the arrival of the bitter struggles of the PPP and the PNC was limited to the immoral domination by the bourgeoisie of the working class.
The working class majority itself was peaceful, hardworking and decent-minded people grounded in justice and fairness in a sharing and crime-free working class stratum despite their sufferings. That changed with the arrival of the PPP and the PNC. They introduced full-scale ethnic division and racial apartheid politics to Guyana.
They caused their constituencies who were 85% of the population to adopt morally fraudulent and catastrophic positions out of this racial division. It was no longer what was right, just or fair, but what was racially opportunistic.
Negative ethnic generalizations and stereotyping became full-blown diseases under their reigns. All Africans were the PNC and all Indians were the PPP.
Moral hypocrisy strutted supreme. A dictatorial PNC government was to be overthrown by a Stalinist PPP party that crushed democracy. PNC socialism injected with healthy communist action (see nationalization) was condemned by the PPP and its supporters who advocated in the same breath the replacement with a communist state. PNC supporters sinfully accepted the atrocities of the PNC government just like PPP supporters support the abominations of the PPP government today.
In the grand circle of irony, these two groups of supporters have become one and the same. This moral undermining of the nation that took place in the racial-political struggles of the fifties and sixties have left an indelible stain on this nation’s psyche and morality. Even today, there are calls for the repetition of these stereotypes as evidenced during the 2011 election campaign when Bharrat Jagdeo reminded those who endured the PNC struggles to recall those experiences for the youths of today.
The moral damage was not limited to the psychological operations of the PPP and PNC and their race-driven political orgy. It has to do with the economic woe the PPP and PNC left this nation. Both of these parties have been dismal economic managers. Despite its working class rhetoric, the PPP’s economic management from 1957 to 1964 was a failure that saw economic decline and hardship for the working class along with increasing corruption.
The PNC was handed an economy in gradual decline in 1964 and took it over the precipice with a reckless socialist policy accompanied by corruption and mismanagement. In 1992, the PPP got a destroyed economy that was beginning to grow again and has delivered modest growth in an era of the greatest worldwide economic growth. The modest gains the PPP achieved have been largely shifted by deliberative government policy into the hands of a new upper class who benefit from the largesse and corruption of the PPP.
All of this economic mismanagement has pushed the majority of this country to moral corruption in order to survive. Not only do they have to work for immoral government, they are constantly morally debasing themselves in order to obtain a basic modicum of decent living. Even worse, this is now instinctive and normal for many.
By allowing illegal activity like drug trafficking to flourish, the PPP has firmly destroyed the already wavering moral core of this country. Economic destitution leads to moral equivalency and Guyana since the fifties has been a prime example of this truism. We have people who condone or execute all manner of atrocity for fear of losing that laughable paycheque in a country of rampant unemployment.
In dictatorial governments, people become afraid to speak out for fear of retaliation and harm. The mind becomes Pavlovian, directed by the dictates of the regime. This is what has happened in Guyana since the fifties. Slavery was abolished some 175 years ago while Indentureship ended 96 years ago, yet this nation remains very much a plantation moved by race and economic survival. This gives us the constant moral massacre or the annihilation of the moral code of this nation.
Right and wrong is relative in this nation because there is no moral line left that cannot be crossed. Wrong is very right in Guyana and right is often wrong and illusory. We are a nation in a moral quagmire from which extraction requires sacrifice, which we lack.
In every country that has built itself from ruins, except Guyana, there is an unmissable connection between sacrifice and struggle and moral reclamation. In these countries, people struggle, scrimp, sacrifice and battle to improve their lot, but they also possess a powerful moral philosophy about it; that they will endorse those who will help them achieve their redemption and reject those who are morally abject.
In Guyana, we have a generally hardworking nation that somehow abandons that moral requirement that is vital to their ultimate advancement. If people refuse to attach moral expectations and demands to their struggles, they will inherit societies constantly derailed by the immoral leadership and political parties they refuse to change.
Convenient moral blindness produces no economic profit or advancement out of poverty. You cannot expect less choke-and-rob of your earnings when you allow more choke-and-rob of your taxes by the rulers of the state. Choke-and-robbers at the top lead to choke-and-robbers at the bottom.
Moral hypocrisy allows crooks to bully a populace. Moral convenience leads to an immoral society where vagabonds thrive and in such a society only a handful of the depraved are enough to demonize and crush the rest.
The PPP and PNC have destroyed the morale of this nation and wrecked its psyche. Too many are worried about how those of another race or class are voting or how their own race or class are voting and not focused on what is important to them. That self-focus, which is evident in wealthy nations, and which allowed a White-dominated society like the USA to elect a Black President, is grounded in that element of morality that is missing in Guyana.
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
Under the theme “Working for a Better Tomorrow”, the PPP/C Manifesto for the 2011 elections is a mix of distortions, mistruths and misrepresentations, wishful thinking or no thinking at all.
The two-page introduction, written by the Presidential candidate Mr. Donald Ramotar seems signally disconnected from the rest of the 43-page document.
Not content with the half-true contents of the Manifesto, Mr. Jagdeo, the PPP/C’s presidential candidate for the past two elections showed that he still does not believe that truth is a virtue. His capacity for inventiveness, make-belief and contempt for the intelligence of his audience guaranteed that he authored the most astounding lie of the Manifesto launch night when he told the audience that the PPP/C Government had only just paid off a US$300 million loan for the PNC’s failed Hydropower project!
Not only was it deception for the Manifesto to choose 1991 as its reference point when the PPP/C was in fact elected in the fourth quarter of 1992, but some of the selected information both then and now are fictitious and or fabricated.
GPL line loss was not 50% in 1991 nor is it less than 30% now (Page 13). GuySuCo does not produce 30 MW of bagasse power at Skeldon – a Wartsila diesel powered engine does –, and the current external debt is not “approximately US$800 million” – unless for the economist Mr. Ramotar and his economic team say that US$800 million and US$1,111 million are “approximately” the same!
The Manifesto boasts of the growth of the economy over the past nineteen years. It does not bother with the inconvenience that a substantial portion of the growth comes from the re-basing of the economy in 2009, an exercise which even a half-decent economist knows makes long-term comparisons meaningless.
Of course it would have been too honest to expect the Manifesto to tell us that the exchange rate of the US Dollar has sunk 65% since 1992; or that the domestic debt has climbed from $18 billion in 1992 to $103 billion at June 30, 2011; or that the cost of electricity was $12 compared with $54 per KW currently; or that greenheart was $85 per board metre compared with $350 now.
Jagdeo and now Ramotar repeat ad nauseum that 96% of revenues was consumed in servicing debt “when they took over”, and it is now four per cent. They should read the 1993 Budget Speech in which the first PPP/C Finance Minister Asgar Ally referred to “scheduled debt service obligation” and not actual debt servicing. And if they look at the 2010 revised figures, they will see that debt-servicing to revenue is not four per cent but 13.3%.
What is also striking is that Mr. Ramotar’s ‘vision’ for the next five years does not add a single new idea to the corruption-laden projects of Jagdeo’s last term. So we have:
1. the expensive and untested Chinese laptops that will run us into billions of dollars;
2. the Amaila hydropower project which will earn us the award for the most expensive hydropower in the world, guaranteeing that electricity rates will remain prohibitively high;
3. the tourism hospital which Jagdeo and his friend will import from India;
4. the Low Carbon Development Strategy that is neither low in carbon nor developmental in nature; and
5. the fibre-optic cable.
Ramotar shows a dangerously limited understanding of democracy and the Constitution when he promises local government elections within one year and “the strengthening of the local government ministry to oversee local government bodies.”
The man seems blissfully unaware that that is the purview of the constitutionally required Local Government Commission which his party in Government has refused to establish and that Article 79 requiring Parliament to provide criteria for allocating resources to the regions has not been given effect to.
Despite our border problems with Chavez’s Venezuela and Bouterse’s Suriname, or the imperative to resile from Jagdeo’s excursions with Kuwait, Libya and Iran, Ramotar does not think that Foreign Policy deserves a mention in 43 pages.
But he dreams that in five years he can transform an education system – known as much for a few exceptions like Ms. Dev as for its drop-outs and the creation of a functionally illiterate population – into one that is “world class and globally competitive.”
That race and race relations for the PPP are the imagination of a few aging malcontents is evident from the failure of the Manifesto to recognise those issues or to acknowledge the International Year for People of African Descent.
One wonders whether the leaders of the private sector in attendance including Clinton Williams, Norman McLean, Ramesh Dookhoo and others noticed that nowhere is the private sector or the manufacturing sector mentioned in the Manifesto. Good for them.
But Labour, too, got no mention and one is left to wonder for how much longer the Jagdeo-Nadir $800 per day minimum wage will drive the pay policy of the PPP/C. No mention of the depressed communities or efforts to stamp out corruption or to integrate the corrupt elements in the informal economy into the tax-paying formal economy.
Governance, too, is treated by omission. And for a man who was nurtured into the ideologically obsessed Marxist PPP, Mr. Ramotar’s Manifesto does not even mention the model of economic philosophy which his Administration will pursue.
Whoever wrote the section of the Manifesto on Information and Communication Technology (page 22) must have been smoking something. How in Edghill’s heaven’s name can Guyana produce 25,000 high-quality jobs over the next five years in computer engineering and software development? Perhaps we will import them from India or China as we will do for our tourism hospital.
Women who make up 51% of the population, Children, the Elderly and the Family get one page in the Manifesto at page 36 that includes a commitment to a comprehensive review of the NIS.
The PPP/C mismanagement of the NIS under the chairmanship of Dr. Roger Luncheon for the past nineteen years has placed the NIS at grave risk with outflows far exceeding inflows – three years earlier than the 2006 Seventh Actuarial Study had feared.
And youth who make up 46% of the voters share one page with Sports and Culture, although culture is noticeably missing in the plans for the next five years.
One can draw analogies from Alice in Wonderland or Aesop’s Fables but perhaps the most appropriate assessment of the PPP/C manifesto was offered by their own former Minister Dr. Henry Jeffrey who told the nation on Plain Talk last Sunday that he could not vote for the PPP/C on the basis of this Manifesto.
I am a daily reader of the Kaieteur News Publication. I was reading the Kaieteur News dated Friday 7th October 2011. In the letter column, there is a missive written by Mr. Mark Archer. And I wish to add my commentary to his column.
Now this government of the day has done nothing good for the poor and underprivileged Guyanese. We struggle for survival daily, paying hefty bills, rent and the heavy 16 per cent VAT on food, while the dollar seems to be shrinking.
As Mark rightly said the Guyanese people are seeing RED. What he should have mentioned is that the lower class of the Guyanese population is seeing RED because we are being trampled upon by those higher in the hierarchy, while not one cent is being spent to alleviate the poor and sufferings of humanity.
Many are seeing RED because the banks are encouraging persons to come in for loans to build their homes, but only for the applicant to be told they do not meet the requirements or the small salary they earn disqualifies them; RED because we are in the grips of a struggling and perishing economy.
Should a survey be done, you will see how many homes are far from what they should be, persons are living below the poverty line.
They send their children to school on little or nothing at all, while the wicked feast and dine at Beltshazar’s table. They eat of the king’s delicacies and get drunken with the wine of pollution and contamination.
But the expectation of the poor will not always be forgotten. A day will come soon when the real KING will take his rightful place on this earth and deliver his people from the onslaught.
And those that are feasting, dining and parading in their scarlet colored robes portraying an image of the beast will speak like the rich man, asking Abraham to send Lazarus to dip his finger in water and cool their tongue for the flames of torment will be too much to withstand. .
TAX PAYERS MONEY is being spent on contracts for roads, dams, correction of collapsed kokers by errant contractors, bridges, sea defense, on the stelling that fell apart shortly after work was completed, the various sports, sprawling mansions and condominiums.
Hefty rewards are offered to bring criminals down, but nothing for the development of the poor. God is angry with the wicked everyday.
I agree with Mark once again for his comment on the churches being silent for too long. But then again the churches should not be entangled in politics.
Many are homeless, while others live in rental apartments because of the Housing Ministry’s failure to distribute house lots to the less fortunate in a timely manner.
We need to humble ourselves and pray, and turn from our wicked ways.
Guyanese doctor duel: A real doctor Tarron Khemraj vs fake Russian doctor Guyana president Bharrat Jagdeo on economics
Deconstructing Dubious Growth
SEPTEMBER 25, 2011 | BY KNEWS | FILED UNDER AFC COLUMN, FEATURES / COLUMNISTS
By Dr. Tarron Khemraj
The PPP government – or most likely the Jagdeo loyalists – have been making a lot of noise about the half-year GDP growth rate, which Minister Ashni Singh claims to be 5.9%. This number is in itself interesting because typically the Bureau of Statistics does not release quarterly GDP statistics. It has never been done. Suddenly before the election we are told about an estimated half-year GDP growth.
If this data is indeed available why only Minister Ashni Singh has access to them? The Bank of Guyana (BOG) ought to be using the quarterly data in its monetary policy forecasts and implementation. This kind of quarterly breakdown will indeed make it easier for the central bank to manage the nation’s money supply and meet its various monetary targets.
Several Caribbean countries – Jamaica, Belize, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados – do have quarterly GDP compilation. We call upon the government to give the Bureau of Statistics the necessary resource to do the same in Guyana.
THE JAGDEO RATE OF GROWTH
The average rate of real GDP growth under President Jagdeo has been 1.95% from 2000 to 2010. This is hardly spectacular. Even if we assume the one-time 5.9% rate of growth for the entire of 2011, the Jagdeo period realised an average rate of growth from 2000 to 2011 of 2.3%.
To put things into context, the Guyana economy grew at an average of 6.8% from 1992 to 1999. The PPP has a habit of telling Guyanese how well Guyana is doing in spite of the global crisis and problems. What it does not want to face up to is the fact that when the world economy achieved a boom from 2000 to 2007, Guyana grew at a meagre 1.45% in the pre-crisis period. Why has this been the case? This column explains some reasons for the mediocre growth performance under the Jagdeo Administration.
A country must have investments if it is to continue growing. Growth, in turn, is critical because it leads to employment creation for citizens. If investments are zero then there will be no growth. We particularly value private investments given the private sector’s ability to generate growth. When analysing private investments we must take the private investment rate (PIR), which is calculated as the dollar amount of private investments divided by GDP. If we look at the PIR since 1992 it has declined continually. It continued to decline into 2010 as data released by the BOG show. Therefore, it is a mystery how growth has picked up given Guyana’s declining PIR.
Government investments have however increased while PIR is declining. Government investments have two main facets: (i) a non-tradable aspect such as construction of roads, schools, bridges, etc; and (ii) a tradable component such as investments by GuySuCo and GuyOil – notable state-owned enterprises.
The problem is government investments have been very inefficient to date. The Skeldon sugar factory is a disaster, while infrastructure works continue to break up after a few months of being constructed. Only recently we learnt major design flaws were found in the Fip Motilall road. It is therefore a mystery how Guyana can achieve 5.9% growth with grossly inefficient public investments and falling domestic private investments. If we are to believe this growth rate then it cannot result from productivity gains but most likely temporary good luck in sectors such as gold. This kind of “good luck” growth is never sustainable and has nothing to do with shrewd policies in the Jagdeo years.
While the Minister appears keen to report half-year GDP we still do not have regular statistics on the Guyana labour market. The unemployment rate continues to be a mystery and it is a number typically subjected to political abuse. We also need to know what the rate of labour force participation is, which is calculated by dividing the labour force by the population.
Regular labour statistics – as quarterly GDP – are critical for the proper management of the economy. In the United States, for instance, they even know the ethnic and gender profile of unemployment. The AFC will be a government of transparency and every effort will be put in place to see these data get collected and reported regularly. We are serious about managing the economy in as scientific a manner as possible. Therefore, we need regular quality statistics.
UNDERGROUND ECONOMY AND REMITTANCES
These two have served as an important source of consumption. Guyana receives approximately 40% of GDP in remittances each year. This is one of the highest percentages in the world. Remittance inflows are stable and altruistic. Even when the North American economies enter into recession, Guyanese abroad still remit funds home. Remittances have served as an important pressure valve and have propped up family consumption for years.
The inflows have also created a false sense of success among government Ministers. From an economic growth perspective, remittances could contribute to a reduction of labour supply and willingness to work. Remittance is the dual of migration of Guyanese – itself a symptom of the failed policies of the PPP since 1992. The World Bank reported that 89% of skilled Guyanese migrate. It is difficult to achieve sustainable economic and productivity growth when a society is haemorrhaging skills at this rate.
The illegal underground economy has been particularly destructive in terms of security and has made it difficult for legitimate businesses to compete. Drug trafficking and money laundering lead to corruption of at all levels of the society. The WikiLeaks revelations are bringing these out clearly. However, we must note that these illegal activities do not contribute favourably to long-term GDP growth and prosperity. Drug dealing increases the cost of doing business among legitimate business investors.
One consistent pattern of the Jagdeo economic framework is to allow the illegal underground economy to flourish. The WikiLeaks have revealed Roger Khan, the notorious and convicted drug lord, leaving the Office of the President. Another WikiLeaks cable reported that Khan built housing schemes without bank financing. This is not the way to run an economy. This is not only morally wrong, but also makes it difficult for legitimate businesses to compete. It corrupts the public officials who must lay the foundation for private investments. Therefore, the narco-economy crowds out the official economy. Hence, we question the 5.9% GDP half-year growth and its sustainability.
Russian trained economist & Guyana PPP/C Executive President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo putin the con in Guyanese eCONomics
This is what happens when the corrupt PPP/C give a grocery store owner the contract to build a highway in the Guyana jungle.
Amaila Falls Hydro Project…Price tag now at staggering US$835M
The figure was announced by President Bharrat Jagdeo yesterday during the commissioning of a US$18.4M Wartsila plant at Kingston.
According to Jagdeo, that cost of the 165-megawatts hydro power project includes both construction and the “costs of capital”.
Earlier this year, Sithe Global during a series of consultation meetings across the country, said that it has committed US$200 million to the project and that it could cost as much as US$700 million to complete it.
The President did not elaborate yesterday on how the project will now reach US$835M.
He lashed out at critics of the project whom he described as “gripers” and noted that they were going after every project of government and then would make an about turn and support it after it is completed.
Stressing that it was not “Fip Motilall” that was building the hydro project, Jagdeo said that Blackstone, the parent company of Sithe Global, is a respected business that has managed to gain financing from China Development Bank.
Motilall, whom government said initially proposed to government to construct the facility, was handed a US$15.4M project to build the access roads leading to the project area. His company, Synergy Holdings, is way behind on the contract and has since been granted an extension to the end of December to complete his works.
According to Jagdeo yesterday, the Chinese contractor, China Railway First Group, won the bid for the construction in an open process.
In July last year, the Guyana Government signed off on a loan deal to build the project and formalize the cooperation between the Guyana Power and Light Company, Sithe Global, China Development Bank and China Railway First Group Company Limited
The President’s benefit package is a revelation
SEPTEMBER 14, 2011 | BY KNEWS | FILED UNDER LETTERS
In reading about former Presidents’ Benefits and Other Facilities Act No.12 which was passed in Parliament – 2009 – as presented by Alissa Trotz in the Diaspora under the caption: “The distance between Government and the Governed: Another look at Pensions in Guyana”, S.N July 18th, I was reminded of an Anancy Story.
In that story, Brer Anancy named himself “All of you” so that every time the servant brought the various foods on a platter and placed it on the table which Anancy and the other animals sat around, saying “this is for all of you”, Anancy smiled and took it all for himself.
He would then explain to the animals that the reason for treating him so special was an expression of love and appreciation. Thus all the animals were left hungry as he glutted himself.
This lavish benefit package which Trotz wrote about, and which the ordinary man in the street hardly knows anything about, explains the entitlements that are guaranteed President Bharrat Jagdeo during the remainder of his life after he demits office.
We learned also that even if he takes another job in a governmental position, it does not affect his pension package.
There is need, here, to reproduce part of this benefit package that Trotz highlighted for the sake of those who missed it: “A Tax-free pension, free medical treatment for him and dependent members of his family for the rest of his life, an unspecified number of vehicles to be maintained at the taxpayers’ expense, an annual vacation allowance equivalent to the cost of two first class return fares, full time personal security and security at his place of residence, payment of services for an unspecified number of personal and household staff, payment for the services of an “attendant” and a gardener, payment for services of an unspecified number of clerical staff, payment for services of “technical” staff, payment of his water rates, payment of his electricity bill, payment of his telephone bills, and toll free road transportation in Guyana.
Now this is not the story of the king in his magic suit; this is fuh real, a golden benefit package that all can see. For me this Benefit Package is insulting and vulgar. With the present pension rate at starvation level $7,500, it is a most disturbing scenario, “obscene” indeed, with a pensioner today getting just about $250 per day when a loaf of bread costs $260!
I have no idea what is the President’s take home pay and allowances but I’m sure he doesn’t have to spend one cent of it. Now I can understand Dr. Roger Luncheon’s position on this matter in which he was reported as saying that the Benefit Package is “minimal”.
I see his role as akin to that of Squealer in Orwell’s Animal Farm. Even Government. Ministers hear no wrong, see no wrong period! I can overlook opposition parliamentarians; what thoughts pass through their minds when this golden benefit package is placed
alongside that of pensioner-$7,500 per month.
How do we condemn the activities of gangsters, three-card players, chain snatchers, pick pockets, petty thieves, tax evaders etc. but fail to see or make any similarity or nexus between them and thy Golden Benefit Package Act.
The breakdown in income and spending for two pensioners shows up the unconscionable and preposterous existing state of affairs.
From $15,000 a couple must perform a miracle to take care of basics:-food, transportation, medical, electricity and phone bill. What then does the $162 billon budget matter to the poor who is left to starve on a pittance!
Nothing could be further from the solid truth that “government has an obligation to ensure the needs of its citizen are catered for” that “there could be no development if the state of the poor remains the same”
I’m in full agreement with Trotz in saying that politicians should be confronted and asked to explain their silence on this eye pass, giving former presidents a blank cheque on an immoral benefit act while pensioners must subsist on next to “nutten”.
Brazen as this whole golden lifetime package is, maybe, just maybe it could have been glossed over if there was more consideration for elder folks who having made their contribution and now sailing into their twilight were treated with more decency.
For me the main hurdle that I think we will have to get over is enacting policies/laws that allow and protect the elite class to have it way, in every-which-way.
Alissa Trotz deserves to be commended for highlighting this obnoxious act that our opposition parliamentarians avoided. Makes me ponder on the reason, the advantage/disadvantage, the difference in being frank and hold from abroad than at home.
As Forbes Burnham was fond of saying: “don’t stay abroad and cuss me come home”.