Well, we made it, didn’t we? After a year of living dangerously, here we are, celebrating the PPP’s first year of its term following the harrowing five-month record-breaking wait for the results of the 2020 elections. And yes, it was a year of living dangerously, what with the PNC huffing and puffing and threatening to blow the entire house (of Guyana) down. There is their history!
But the PPP kept their cool and have really done wonders in these strained circumstances. When they took over, the COVID-19 pandemic was well on its way of levelling the health systems of the most advanced countries in the world. With us having so many relatives in the US – especially in New York – it was heartrending to see hospitals without basic PPE equipment, oxygen or even doctors, overwhelmed with bodies stacked in refrigerated trucks in their parking lots. It was the same in Britain and Italy.
At that time, most of us were wondering how were we going to cope. Well, we did – even without us having the authoritarian rules and institutions of, say, China, to enforce compulsory lockdowns and vaccinations. While obviously it would be great if we’d done better, the PPP Government and its Health Ministry can hold their heads up high on the COVID pandemic. As we can see from the violations of COVID protocols and vaccination refusals, our eventual performance doesn’t just depend on the Government but on all of us.
The second worry was the economy – partly due to the impact of COVID-19 but also on the emaciated state in which the PNC left it. In the sugar belt, which had faced the full brunt of the PNC’s callous placing of politics over people, the Government moved to reopen three of the four shuttered sugar estates. As with agriculture overall, the torrential rains leading to massive floods made this turnaround much more difficult. While we can’t call this a success right now, at least the PPP should get high marks for trying.
Then, there was the oil. We spent the five years of the last PNC regime hoping there’d be an investigation into the circumstances under which Trotman of the PNC signed the worst possible oil contract in the world. This couldn’t possibly be seen as witch-hunting, since it had been recommended by Global Witness, a natural resource watchdog NGO. The need for the inquiry goes way beyond Trotman – even though we lost US$55 billion through his negligence or perfidy. It would send a message to all in government to protect Guyana’s interest first and foremost.
The PNC’s locked in a leadership struggle – thanks to the PPP not blinking against the PNC’s bullyism.
With the PNC’s travails, some ask whether they’ll be able to survive. While they’re locked in what appears to be a mortal struggle, the PPP’s been busy making hay in — what has to be sunshine amid the rains!! Never in the annals of Guyana’s post-independence history has anyone seen a President and his Cabinet leading the Guyanese people so visibly, including the PNC’s traditional base. House lots and houses? Being given away like candy to build a solid strata of Guyanese who’ll have something to protect from the nihilists in the PNC!!
New firms opening up to create employment? While no one expected the creation of the promised 50,000 jobs to be accomplished in the first year, few expected so many companies opening up! The real explosion in jobs, however, will come when our agro-processing and manufacturing sectors get their jump start. That’ll be the provision of cheap electricity from the gas-to-shore and AFHEP projects.
We can see clearly now: the (PNC) rain is gone!
… Inquiry into WCB troubles?
One of the mistakes of the Jagan Presidency was to allow the PNC to go unsanctioned for their illegalities. They became emboldened. We can’t repeat this.
There must be an inquiry into the WCB troubles.