After four years in Government, there are many disappointing things the Guyanese people invariably expect from the David Granger-led A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government, one prime example being its pathological blaming of others. It is never their fault, it is always someone else’s fault, no matter how preposterous their excuse seems. Whether it is the stagnation of the economy, the rampant corruption, the incompetence and mismanagement, APNU/AFC always finds someone to blame. The deterioration in the health sector, the spiralling crime, the daunting unemployment problem, loss of export earnings, the rising debt, the exclusion of youth, rising domestic violence, everything in Guyana is somebody’s fault, but APNU/AFC’s.
The Leader of the Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo, provided ample evidence exposing the brazen trafficking in people, spawned within the Ministry of Citizenship. At his press conference, the Opposition Leader presented evidence showing alleged persons, with foreign-sounding names, but all with the same picture, being granted citizenship. It is not just suspicious minds, but clearly the groundwork for fictitious names padding the voters’ list is being laid out. Caught red-handed, the Minister of Citizenship blamed the mouthpiece of the Government, the Guyana Chronicle, for putting out the wrong advertisement. The Guyana Chronicle, for their part, was not willing to admit to the “crime”. Rather, like their bosses, they blamed the computer. It was a computer glitch, nothing more they claimed.
But it is now more than a week, we see no correction from anybody. The Ministry of Citizenship has failed to prove it sent any material different from the advertisement. The Guyana Chronicle has not shown that it placed anything different in the computer than what the computer put out. Of course, computers put out what you put in, garbage in, the same garbage out. The fact is clear, the Ministry was creating ID of fake people so they could pad the voters’ list. They did not expect anyone was paying attention to the advertisement which is a requisite part of the process to grant citizenship to a foreigner.
A Police station under construction in La Parfaite Harmonie, West Bank Demerara, has failed several completion deadlines. The Public Security Minister refuses to take responsibility, claiming it is a “builder’s fault”. Even if it is a builder’s fault that led to the initial failure, why is it that the Ministry did not take action? The same Minister refuses to take any responsibility for the delay in the Smart City Project, a project designed to expand the CCTV surveillance capacity in Georgetown. The project already procured all the CCTV equipment, but has been plagued with several delays. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has, in fact, just withdrew from funding. The Minister blamed the IDB, claiming the IDB withdrew because the contract for expanding the CCTV capacity was granted to the Chinese communication firm, Huawei. The Minister further claims he needs a supplementary budget to complete the project. But I am confused, if the IDB withdrew because of Huawei, why did they release funds for Huawei to supply the equipment?
The Minister in the Communities Ministry with responsibility for Housing, Valarie Patterson-Yearwood, was caught red-handed in a scandalous conflict of interest issue in which her husband has had more than one contract to build homes for her Ministry. Her response was typical of the standard APNU/AFC excuse – it is not her, not her Ministry, but the fault of the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA). The Minister was emphatic that she and her Ministry have nothing to do with contracts for building homes for Government distribution. Yet, there is ample evidence the Minister and her Ministry were directly involved, including newspaper pictures. In any case, CH&PA is an authority under her supervision. The buck stops with her. Compounding the problem is that the CH&PA itself raised the issue of a conflict of interest from the initial stages.
Every day, there is at least one more example of someone else blamed for wrongdoing. APNU/AFC is never responsible. This has become the hallmark of APNU/AFC’s governance in Guyana. Besides blaming other people and other agencies for their mismanagement, incompetence and corruption, APNU/AFC blames everything on the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and Bharrat Jagdeo. The examples are preposterous and troubling. They blame Jagdeo that the Cheddi Jagan International Airport Modernisation and Expansion project has long past its completion deadline, has more than 1400 defects, has been downscaled, from new terminal to rehabilitated ones, and for the Government paying US$35 million for sand worth US$5 million. They blame Bharrat Jagdeo and the PPP for closing the sugar estates and for unemployment of more than 7000 sugar workers. They blame the PPP for the severe delay in payment of severance to sugar workers laid off after APNU/AFC closed the sugar estates. Now that we have drought-like conditions, APNU/AFC cries it is Bharrat Jagdeo’s fault the gods are angry.