…as a PNC trademark
If there’s one thing that distinguished the first PNC regime under Burnham, it was the darkness they’d plunged Guyana into in so many ways. Koestler’s “Darkness at Noon” could very well be a portrayal of the nightmare politics of those times under a totalitarian megalomaniac. Yes, it was a “dark time, my dear reader”!
There was the darkness of the rampant, violent, kick-down-the-door robberies, when the homes of Guyanese were violated and their innocent occupants brutally beaten to hand over whatever valuables were left after the Burnhamite state’s depredations.
There was the darkness of the indignity of standing in “Guy-lines” for hours to BUY an ounce of butter, and the humiliation of dreaming about the taste of bread. And not least of all, there was the darkness of having your ballots dumped into canals and replaced by new ones filled in by the “Security Forces”. Whose security??
But what they left for another generation to recover from was the literal “blackouts”, occasioned by them running the power generating and transmission capabilities of the country into the ground — pretty much as they did with every other facility that had to “run”: sugar factories, bauxite factories, bicycle factories, ceramic factories, glass factories, and even cloth factories. But the ordinary citizens were traumatised most by the literal blackouts.
Guyanese then literally became a dishevelled bunch, with ironing of clothes a hit-or-miss proposition in the best of days. Students couldn’t do their homework, and teachers couldn’t mark them when they were lucky to receive some done by flambeaux. Even the street corner shop couldn’t survive with refrigeration out of the question.
Yes, my friends, life became “nasty, brutish and short”, under the Burnhamite PNC.
The PPP performed Herculean labour to clean up their mess, and brought in a world-class Finnish company, Wartsila, to provide generators, spares, and management capabilities to run the electricity company, GPL. Of course not being endowed with omnipotence, the PPP couldn’t just snap their fingers and say, “Let there be light!!” and there was light. But, by 2009, Jagdeo had devised his world famous LCDS – a linchpin being the Amaila Falls Hydroelectric Project (AFHP), into which the Norwegians had put US$80 million, the operator some US$200 million, and the Chinese contractor the remainder via a Chinese Government loan.
But in came the PNC in 2015, nixed AFHP, and did everything possible to guarantee the return of blackouts, including with power. They immediately removed Wartsila and replaced them with a local bunch, Power Producers and Distributors Inc (PPDI). Of course everything went downhill.
And now blackout has returned because of a damaged underwater cable. It is just a portent of what’s ahead: the darkness of rigged ballots!!
Folks are fretting about the goings-on in sugar; they just don’t make sense, they complain. Of course they don’t, for the simple reason that the decisions have nothing to do with sugar and everything to do with politics. Take the latest brouhaha about how the $30 billion bond money – floated by the PNC/SPU/NICIL – is being spent by GuySuCo. The reason for the borrowing, the SPU said, was to diversify GuySuCo into co-generation; produce and package white sugar; and, of course, to run the “grinding” three estates more efficiently.
So why’s the PNC-appointed SPU complaining about GuySuCo using funds to pay wages?? Don’t GuySuCo have to pay sugar workers? If the estates aren’t kept going as viable sugar cane-producing entities, how the heck can they produce, say, the bagasse for co-generation? The SPU number crunchers, who’ve never stepped into a cane field, fail to appreciate that if there’s no sugar cane industry, there can be no sugar industry.
Sugar comes from sugar cane, which are grown in fields!! Take that, PNC!!
The SPU threw shade at GuySuCo’s management, claiming the latter wanted to buy SUVs! But all GuySuCo had to do was use the bond money for approved expenses, and buy the SUVs from the saved GuySuCo funds!!
No need to get the SPU’s permission!!