APNU/AFC joint manifesto 2015: scorecard and final grade (Pt 2)

Dear Editor,

Goal: Fair Taxes
To allow your paycheck to go further and businesses grow. You work hard and you must be able to take care of yourself and your family in a dignified way.
Analysis And comments:
APNU/AFC has done the exact opposite to what it said it would do. More than 200 new taxes were introduced by APNU/AFC in their first three years. The Government applied VAT on water and electricity for the first time. VAT on these essential services impacted the cost of living for the ordinary man because he is unable to recoup the tax like most businesses. There is nothing equitable about this.
GRA boasts of increased tax collection, by some 65 per cent in 2018 compared to 2014 while the economy is tanking. According to A Grant, GTimes, Jan 19, 2020, the hallmarks of APNU/AFC coalition are taxation, squandermania, crime, corruption and anti-investment.
Increasing taxes in a struggling economy is the blueprint for a recession and job losses. However, this Government has stubbornly stuck with this policy despite rising unemployment.
Early on in the life of this Government, the MoF sought contributions from the Private Sector to carry out tax reform. What came subsequently was the cherry-picking of revenue measures to increase the number and range of taxes on citizens. I suppose that is how the APNU/AFC Government perceive Article 13.
Grade: F
A safe and secure society to enable a safe and secure society where Guyanese can move freely, conduct business without fear and be our neighbour’s keeper.
Analysis and comments:
No less person than the Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan, has admitted to the increase in crime (KN, Oct 21, 2019). The US State Department declared that Guyana’s general crime was at a critical level (GTimes May 19, 2019). The Leader of the Opposition blasted APNU/AFC for failing to protect citizens and curb crime rate (Inews, Oct 18, 2019). I have heard that the Government is still trying to duck and manipulate crime statistics to paint a less damming picture – just take a look at SN cartoon of Jan 25, 2020.
The ordinary man knows he is not safe in his home and lives in constant fear. Foreign countries continue to issue warnings to travellers to avoid Guyana.

Goal: Functional Multi-Ethnic Society
To unleash the energies of all our people regardless of race, class, colour or creed for the benefit of all Guyanese.
Analysis and comments:
Dealt with under “Healing and Reconciliation” above.
The Minister of Education appears not to know the difference between Diwali and Phagwah. Even Republic Day celebrations have fallen away.
I have not seen a time when our nation was more divided and our caretaker Government seems perfectly happy.

Grade: F
Goal: Moral Rebuilding
To rebuild the moral fabric of our society for the sake of future generations, recognising that a strong family unit and common value system is the foundation of our communities.
Analysis and comments:
This is a lofty but vague statement. Folks who are out of jobs have more pressing priorities such as putting food on the table. Clearly, the loss of some 30,000 jobs would have been detrimental to both their moral and physical wellbeing. The increase in crime and migration would not have helped either. The behaviour of APNU/AFC politicians left a lot to be desired in 2019. Two issues stand out:
President Granger violated the Constitution and the Carter formula to unilaterally appoint his own GECOM Chairman. He subsequently made up his own silly rules regarding this important bipartisan appointment. The President’s disrespectful behaviour was a blow to fair play and an all-round poor display by a Head of State.
Our country was brought to its knees when Nigel Hughes, the entire APNU/AFC Cabinet, Charrandas Persaud excepted, and two senior Appeal Court judges comically decided that 34 is the majority of 65. Attorney General, Basil Williams then had the audacity to take this all the way to the CCJ on behalf of the Government making all Guyanese a laughing stock in the process.
The APNU/AFC coalition has undermined the Constitution, rule of law, established legal precedents and parliamentary norms. The Chair and Executive of GECOM, who are supposed to be impartial, have found unique ways to delay our elections for more than a year and are still creating more problems than they are solving. GHRA, ERC, The Integrity Commission, religious organisations and the once many anti-corruption experts have all been silenced. Our moral fabric is, therefore, on life support.

Grade: F
Goal: Education for A Better Future
To build the capacity of Guyanese to make educated choices for a better tomorrow.
Analysis and comments:
This Government has not introduced any new initiative in the education sector. One would have expected significant investments in technology and oil and gas related programmes. There is none.
Up to recently, the Government was still at loggerheads with the Guyana Teachers’ Union on the matter of teachers’ salaries. Whereas the Government awarded itself a 50 per cent salary increase mere days from taking up office, all public servants including teachers have received very little to date.
Gauging from Freddie Kissoon’s comments, we can conclude that the University of Guyana is in serious decline.
If there was any success in terms of better grades, it is attributable to the hard work of the underpaid teachers and to students and parents themselves.

Grade: F
Ravi Ram