I know that I have had cause to express my curious appreciation of those columnists and dedicated letter writers – based in Georgetown and overseas – who, virtually, daily, lambaste Bharrat Jagdeo, his heirs and wannabes, most relentlessly with a view to regime change.
(I wouldn’t know how to do it with such pointed frequency, even though I have nothing against those gentlemen’s ultimate success.)
Incidentally “when yuh own louse bite yuh…” Research how many of today’s harshest, most strident critics were once in the same room with the matured Donald and young Bharrat. And silly me! Why do I keep wondering what would have been happening today if Moses or Ralph Hari Narayen had secured the PPP/C vote for Presidential nominee?
Perhaps my latter personal puzzle is the motivation for returning to what was, by around 1995, the Bharrat Jagdeo enigma. Along with the phenomenon of how, with electric swiftness, to the chagrin of his comradely seniors, the relative enigma became profound reality! With indelible consequences for his own party and our own country. (Recall too my sustained wonderment with regard to normally upright persons of ability, values and integrity, serving a regime who stole the people’s will for years.)
Young Bright Burnham returned to British Guiana just in time to be embraced by Young Cheddi Jagan, only to swiftly become Jagan’s relentless nemesis. Old PPP knowledgeables still around would recall Burnham’s political acumen, inclusive of the “race-card” dealt to him, between ’53, ’55 and ’57. Fast-forward to ’92, ’95, ’97.
Out of the political blue arrived a young Progressive Youth Organisation (PYO) East Coast Demerara member; briefly a school teacher who went to Moscow to become an economist, returned to work with the PNC’s Haslyn Parris at the State Planning Secretariat, then emerged after the PPP/C returned to government near the end of 1992.
Like Cheddi his mentor, he had a rustic charm, deceptive smile and, privately, vast ambition. The latter fuelled by the Jagans – especially Comrade Janet.
Travelling with Cheddi and Senior Finance Minister Asgar Ally, young Soviet-trained Bharrat enjoyed a relatively brief apprenticeship before becoming full Finance Minister after the 1997 elections. Cheddi had passed on months before in ’97. But young Bharrat was moving forward. Like lightning!
I could not agree with the nastiness on the streets when Comrade Joe Hamilton, Aubrey and other PNC “militants” demonized Janet Jagan after the 1997 Elections. Say what you like she was a political Amazon.
Like Comrade Carberry I didn’t care about her being my President. She succumbed to the pressure of the streets and law courts and failing health.
Recall, then the unprecedented, governmental musical chairs organized by Comrade Janet: Young Jagdeo was made Prime Minister, President Jagan resigned. Prime Minister Jagdeo became President and re-appointed Samuel Hinds as P.M. all in four or five days! All politically vulgar, but constitutionally acceptable.
President Jagdeo, role and legacies
Manufactured and Readymade! Made in Janetland! My Guyana had her Bharrat as President of our Republic. I understood the hurt of such loyal “Cheddi Children” as Reepu, Moses, Navin, Clement, Ralph, even Roger and Robeson.
Look, even I, who had grown weary of my erstwhile PNC strategies and excesses, looked forward to what this baggage-less new Kid-on-the Political Block (literally a “kid”!) would offer.
I wrote about the “new Bharrat” as, mistakenly, many thought Cheddi was “a Bharrat” once. I did a whole newspaper supplement on his first 100 days. Such hope as he posed with Linden’s Afro-Girl students! Swiftly, President Jagdeo shed his masks and, Putin-like, even did some Forbes Burnham-like things. He seemingly made his Party secondary. He grasped Presidential and Constitutional authority. At his swearing-in he said Cde Janet would “always be (his) President”. Later he would describe her as “an ordinary citizen sharing her views”. There was venomous aggression against both Party and external critics. Old Cheddi stalwarts were immobilized, co-opted, hushed or evicted.
Enter the Real Jagdeo!
Unlike other more hostile commentators and political analysts, I can’t ignore the strengths and positives of leaders. However temporary, strategic or meant to deceive.
Mr Jagdeo did steady and sustain an erratic exchange rate – – even if his parallel market had something to do with that; he did seek out a more robust continental foreign initiative with Venezuela (Chavez), Brazil (Lula) and Suriname (the Doubtful Desi); Jagdeo did attempt massive infrastructural works – – even if many contractors never built dreams before; he withstood a five-year crime wave, eventually getting the murderous gang; he catapulted Guyana onto the Global Climate Change/Forest Preservation Map and he was a Master of Showpieces – ICC World Cup at new Stadium, Carifesta 10 and Jamzones many.
His loyalists of the current new PPP recently responded to a litany of his failed Presidency by presenting their own Super List of his Achievements – from the Law-of-the-Sea triumph over Suriname’s claim to his weathering the international financial meltdown. Good for them. But really, how will Bharrat be remembered? Not because of what people write and assess, but by the thousands of poverty-challenged citizens of this Blighted Land?
A powerful, petulant,
President’s (PPP) Legacy?
Jagdeo was masterful in having the selected Ramotar declare that, as President, he (Ramotar) would “continue” the policies of Jagdeo. Great for Bharrat, Catastrophe for our poor and powerless.
Frankly Speaking, to me, this lad from the fishing village of Unity, now known by the UN, Caricom, South America and the world, succumbed to the virus of unmitigated power, power that immobilised even successive bright intellectual opposition(s).
From Virgin Lands, Guysuco’s retired acreages; the so-called “Commanding Heights of the Economy”, the Private Sector, Investment Opportunities and Parliament, to even the electronic spectrum, Jagdeo channelled to his buddies. Using from nepotism, new legal entities, fronts, sleight-of-hand to retroactive legislation.
Frankly Speaking, young Bharrat made young Black Professional Persons seem like either an endangered species – or extinct. His is a powerful “legacy” of Indo-names in every sphere of authority, power, status and public life.
Sadly, even if not of his doing, under his watch sugar collapsed, crime and cocaine reigned, extra-judicial killings soared, greed submerged even sport, institutions were compromised and national morality plummeted as thousands fled and his own folks also suffered. And still suffer. Now add your List.
What is to be done?
The perennial question! What have been the Opposition responses to the Jagdeo legacy since he departed from Office but not from influence?
Unfortunately I’ll have to return to this as time and space shackle me here. (Just don’t ask Chris Ram that question). To me the Ramotar fellows – and Madame Gail – have done a fine job to stymie any effective measures the Brigadier’s Opposition have mounted. The Administration has used judicial challenges and delays to a fine art.
Budget challenges are by-passed, contracts are awarded like ice-cream and the PPP/C boys are rewarding themselves for any eventualities. Hail now the AFC’s No-Confidence motion! But wait! What’s in store for the Opposition? Stay connected.
*1) Old PPP fellows tell me they get Bharrat livid by telling him that – “is you mansion and pension mek we lose de majority. What America, Britain and de PNC fail at you manage to do!”
Til next week!
Instead of feeding the nation kids, they wasting money prettying up Donald image for the media
What he looks like
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.
As nationals of Guyana, we have been concerned about how poorly employers, particularly the PPP regime, have used the human resources in the country.
For too long, this government has allowed the finest minds to be either underemployed or without any positive and active involvement in the country affairs.
Yet the state continues to expend significant amount of resources on educating the people and encouraging them to prepare themselves. To what end?
Let’s call a spade a spade! Almost daily, available jobs are usually advertised in the media and elsewhere by the government in order to satisfy some internal organizational protocol.
But government officials merely go through the fraudulent motions of an interview process when they have already decided who the holder of the position will be. And it is one of their supporters or relatives of high ranking PPP officials.
But the regime has the gall in these advertisements to let potential applicants know up front that they thank them for applying but do not have the decency to even acknowledge their applications let alone call them for an interview.
This is the scam that this regime has been involved in for years and it has caused unnecessary grief and pain after those who apply found out after what has happened. To use such a sinister ploy to deceive the nation indicates how low the administration has descended.
The fact is when the private sector engages in these acts, at least the consequence is personal, and shows up in their bottom line expense sheet.
But when the Government does the same, employing only friends and supporters of the PPP despite their lack of ability, qualifications experience and requisite skills, the entire nation suffers.
Let us be clear in saying that we have no difficulty whatsoever with the regime wanting to hire its party supporters and members or people of like thinking in critical policy areas so long as those persons are qualified to do the job.
But this has not been the case at the office of the President and at several other state agencies and departments which have employed hundreds of contract employees who are paid super salaries because they are the children, relatives and friends of the PPP cabal.
This is happening in a country where brain cells have gone on strike for an extended period and the loudest mouths in political campaigns are usually rewarded with the most influential positions.
This is wrong and the Jagdeo/ Ramotar cabal must stop this ignominious and dishonest practice if it is to regain the trust and confidence of the people.
The reality has been since Guyana attained its Independence on May 26, 1966, party purity and loyalty have become more important than to employ qualified and experience persons to carry the government tasks.
Once a political party wins, its candidates begin to circle the wagon of political power. The game is essentially about paying back those who made the win possible.
While the noble intentions of politics are “serving the people’s interests,” the first people usually served are those elected, that is, jobs for the boys.
The bigger question is why most of the educated Guyanese with college/university degrees are all over the world and not in Guyana.
The answer, we believe, is that we have never found a way as a society to harness and apply the best and brightness minds to address our nation’s challenges at any one time.
The real sadness of all this is that it does not matter where you come from in society, what your ethnicity is or whether you belong the PPP or the PNC, it was Guyana and the Guyanese taxpayers who have given you a start in life and have prepared you for wherever you now are.
Our continuous poor use of our most qualified personnel is tantamount to perpetrating an injustice on the country which has invested heavily through taxation, blood, sweat and tears in the development of its citizens.
With that said, we always held the view that the real issues we face in Guyana are not only corruption, poverty, crime, joblessness, illegal narcotics trafficking but also injustice! People all over the world have fought and died for their civil rights and against injustice, will Guyanese do!
Dr. Asquith Rose and
Harish S. Singh.
Guyana most corrupt country in English-speaking Caribbean
DECEMBER 6, 2012 | BY KNEWS | FILED UNDER NEWS
-watchdog body calls for Procurement Commission, new Integrity Commission,
“When desperately needed development funds are stolen by corrupt individuals and institutions, poor and vulnerable people are robbed of the education, health care and other essential services.”- UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon
Four days before the world observes the United Nations International Anti-Corruption Day, new rankings have placed Guyana as the most corrupt country in English-speaking Caribbean countries.
According to rankings released yesterday by watchdog corruption body, Transparency International (TI), the 2012 Annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) has placed Guyana at a lowly 133 out of total of 174 countries. Guyana managed a miserly 28 points out of 100.
And in the presentation of the Transparency International findings, head of the local chapter, Attorney at Law, Gino Persaud, and Secretary Frederick Collins, both lauded Kaieteur News which has been highlighting corruption in Guyana.
The newspaper has been investigating the various contracts issued under questionable circumstances and examining the numerous projects, many of which were believed to be overpriced.
TIGI officials: From left is Vice-President, Dr. Anand Goolsarran; President, Gino Persaud and Director, Frederick Collins.
The results were released by Transparency Institute Guyana Inc. (TIGI), the local contact of TI.
TI would have conducted its surveys gauging perceptions to corruption by examining relations in the public sector, the local police, Customs, procurement and doing business.
The index has become a signature tool widely used around the globe to measure the perceived levels of public sector corruption in countries and looked at keenly by investors and multilateral lending agencies.
Denmark, Finland and New Zealand tie for first place with scores of 90, helped by strong access to information systems and rules governing the behaviour of those in public positions.
Guyana tied Comoros, Honduras, Iran, Kazakhstan, and Russia.
“This ranking places us at the bottom of the English Speaking Caribbean with only Haiti below us at 165. It is noteworthy that in the Caribbean, Barbados ranks at 15 with a score of 76; both St. Lucia and Bahamas rank at 22 with a score of 71 and St. Vincent and the Grenadines rank at 36 with a score of 62,” TIG’s President, Gino Persaud said during a press conference at the offices of the Private Sector Commission (PSC) on Waterloo Street.
Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia once again cling to the bottom rung of the index. In these countries, the lack of accountable leadership and effective public institutions underscore the need to take a much stronger stance against corruption.
At the press conference also were former Auditor General, Dr. Anand Goolsarran, who is TIGI’s Vice President; and Director, Frederick Collins.
Persaud, a lawyer, said that the advocacy body will be writing government on the findings of the index.
TIGI listed a number of measures that Government will have to implement to raise Guyana’s rankings. These include the appointment of competent and independent members of the Integrity Commission to scrutinize the financial disclosures of politicians and bureaucrats and with adequate staff and resources to ensure the Commission can adequately fulfill its mandate.
Persaud noted that Prime Minister Sam Hinds in June had promised to have new members of the Integrity Commission sworn within a week.
Among other things TIGI is also calling for the urgent appointment of members of the Public Procurement Commission to regulate government contracts and minimize their involvement; the implementation of modern anti-corruption legislation; implementation of whistle-blowing legislation; the enforcement of existing anti-corruption laws by investigating and prosecuting the corrupt and the strengthening of existing anti-corruption institutions such as the Guyana Police Force and the Financial Intelligence established under the money laundering legislation.
“These institutions are weak and unable to counter serious white collar crime and corrupt activities,” Persaud said in his read statement.
Guyana should also appoint an Ombudsman to address grievances from members of the public; ensure that all public monies are placed to the credit of the Consolidated Fund, and no public expenditure must be incurred without Parliamentary approval.
TIGI also called for all appointments to public offices to be advertised and made with due regard to technical competence, and not loyalty; and for the Access to Information Act passed in Parliament to be strengthened and made operational.
TIGI also called for the strengthening of civil society and for organisations such as the Guyana Bar Association, the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Private Sector Commission, Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and the Guyana Press Association to become more involved in combating corruption by speaking out against corruption and being proactive within its own membership on tackling corruption and by partnering with us for collective efforts.
“We call on the press corps to be more vigilant in acting as a professional, impartial and responsible watchdog body against corruption.”
According to Goolsarran, most countries are doing everything possible to “get to the top of the table” of rankings. He urged, as a start, that government accept the index in good faith and do something about it.
The officials drew reference to a judge in Brazil who targeted a number of politicians close to former President Lula and who was the laughing stock of many. The politicians were brought to trial.
Asked to comment on the impact of the findings, Dr Goolsarran said that serious investors use the findings by Transparency International to determine whether they would invest in a country. Many have opted to cancel plans for investment in Guyana.
TIGI is seeking funding now to educate Guyanese and will seek to meet with government and Members of the Parliament to discuss the issue which ultimately affects the way Guyana is perceived.
The TIGI officials refused to be drawn into answering questions whether President Donald Ramotar had done enough to tackle corruption in Guyana.
According to Collins, newspaper reporters and even the Auditor General’s annual report have been indicators of the situation of corruption in Guyana.
TIGI also disclosed that it has been asked by the Minister of Natural Resources to work with his Ministry on mining, an area which has been besotted with issues of corruption and lawlessness in recent years.
According to TIGI, the index demonstrates that corruption continues to ravage societies around the globe. Two-thirds of the 176 countries ranked in the 2012 index score below 50, on a scale from 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 100 (perceived to be very clean), showing that public institutions need to be more transparent, and powerful officials held more accountable.
According to Huguette Labelle, the Chair of Transparency International, “Governments need to integrate anti-corruption actions into all public decision-making. Priorities include better rules on lobbying and political financing, making public spending and contracting more transparent and making public bodies more accountable to people. After a year of focus on corruption, we expect governments to take a tougher stance against the abuse of power.”
UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon has said that corruption afflicts all countries, undermining social progress and breeding inequality and injustice.
“When desperately needed development funds are stolen by corrupt individuals and institutions, poor and vulnerable people are robbed of the education, health care and other essential services. All of us have a responsibility to take action against the cancer of corruption.”
The private sector, too, stands to gain enormously from effective action, he said. “Corruption distorts markets, increases costs for companies and ultimately punishes consumers.”
According to the BBC, corruption was the world’s most talked about issue in 2010 and 2011.
Ramotar administration is a mirror image of the corruption, thievery, drugs & nepotism that were the hallmark of the Jadgeo
Donald Ramotar has lived up to the expectations of his detractors
NOVEMBER 4, 2012 | BY KNEWS | FILED UNDER LETTERS
It was clear to many political observers and other interested parties that the Peoples Progressive Party Civic, did not field the best candidate at the November 2011 elections. The critics at that time argued that Ramotar was weak and an untested; that he was not a critical thinker and had never held elected office or managed any complex governmental or non-governmental organization. Ramotar was perceived as a party hack, who was hand chosen by then president Bharatt Jagdeo, for all of the reasons mentioned.
However, in keeping with Stalinist tradition the other more prepared and credible candidates all bowed out and acceded to the dictate of the Jagdeo faction at Freedom House. To be fair there were voices that championed the candidacy of Donald Ramotar, they claimed that he was a man who had come from humble beginnings and was involved in the labour movement, that he was a fair and honest man; in other words he was not Jagdeo. Today as we approach the one year anniversary of the Ramotar presidency what I find interesting but not surprising is that the naysayers were right. Donald Ramotar the seventh president of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana has lived up to the expectations of his detractors; he is a weak, ineffective and visionless head of state.
In December 2011 at his inauguration president Ramotar told the nation that he would appoint his cabinet in two days and even flirted with the possibility of a cross-party government. Integrity, inclusivity and impartiality were the hallmark of a well balanced inaugural address; however, forty eight hours later Ramotar retained his predecessor’s cabinet, dashing all hopes for inclusivity, integrity and impartiality.
Within days of forming his new government, on December 6th 2011 peaceful demonstrators were shot by the police while processing in Georgetown. This was followed by a bitter budget debate that saw for the first time in recorded history a sitting government picketing against the parliamentary opposition. Ramotar had promised that he was prepared to work together with all the political parties and stakeholders, but when it came to the National Budget, his minority government was not prepared to work with the Parliamentary majority APNU/AFC.
The budget crisis spawned the Linden electricity crisis, when the PPPC government imposed on the people of Linden an undue hardship (an increase in the electric tariff), without negotiating or consulting with the peoples representatives. In his inaugural address president Ramotar spoke of the exciting task of creating opportunities for all Guyanese, yet within three months of taking office he was imposing a draconian tax on a community (Linden) where 70% of the people are unemployed or severely under-employed.
It was becoming quite clear that the new Head of State’s rhetoric were equidistant from his actions and his government’s treatment of the poor and depressed communities. As the situation escalated at Linden and the people and their Regional and national leaders called on the president to meet with them, to sit down and listen and consult, this president refused. Then came July 18th 2012 and three young men were brutally murdered after the Guyana Police Force again opened fire on peaceful protestors at the Mackenzie-Linden bridge.
The following day the president met with the Opposition Leader and Regional representatives, but by this time it was too late; property would be destroyed and more people would be shot by the police, all because of a government’s refusal to meet it constitutional mandate of consulting with the people and their elected representatives. Consumed by crisis, and showing no real flair for bold and innovative leadership, the Ramotar administration continued as a mirror image of the corruption, thievery, drugs and nepotism that were the hallmark of the Jadgeo years.
Once again innocents lives of young African men were taken, killed at the hands of the police; Shaquille Grant at Agricola; Dameon Belgrave in Georgetown.
In a side note, it was no surprise a few days ago that the longest serving member of the cabinet and president Ramotar’s Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee admitted under oath, when answering a question from Attorney Basil Williams(at the Linden Commission of Inquiry), that he(Rohee) was not a visionary. So, with a head of state that has proven to be weak, ineffective and visionless, surrounded by a cabinet that is mediocre for the most part, but generally less than stellar there is not much hope for the ensuing period of the Ramotar presidency.
Mr. Editor I truly searched for something complimentary to say about this period, but all I could find was controversy and conflict. In a country where most of the people would be classified as poor, the Ramotar government celebrates things and calibrates its development based on big buildings, poorly conceived roads and brand name hotels rather than human development.
The level of unemployment in this country is unsustainable, the under education of our children and the school dropout rate nationally is unsustainable, the crime situation and the lawlessness of our law enforcement agencies is unsustainable, yet this president has been deathly silent and has failed to lead on all of these important issues facing our nation.
Even if one graded on a curve it would be difficult to give this president anything but a failing grade in his first year in office.
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