Dazzling with…

…cow poop statistics

Your Eyewitness knows when institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) send down their “experts” to feel the economic pulse of member countries, they come down with standardised forms into which they merely fill in the blanks with info collected down here. So it shouldn’t surprise anyone their announcements sound like the gobbledygook it is.

But you’d think our Government would take the trouble to translate the jargon into language ordinary people could understand, nuh? Well…they do…but like all translators, they have the power to slant the translation whichever way they want. And with Governments, you know what they want is to tell us: things are just hunky dory, thank you! Even though you may be sinking in a bog of economic quicksand. What the heck does “Bank capital adequacy ratios appear comfortable (averaging 23.9 per cent as of December 2015)” mean when you can’t get loans from banks even if you stood on your head on the Cenotaph outside of the Bank of Guyana Building?!

Or some other gems from the latest IMF report on OUR economy that produced the above head scratcher. Does ANY citizen who actually lives in Guyana really believe our economy will GROW by four per cent this year? We know rice farmers are now getting HALF of the Venezuelan prices for that lost 200,000 tonne rice contract. So there’s no “growth” for the 100,000 or so folks depending on rice for a living. Not to mention they’re planting less acreage in the coming crop.

Then sugar – 23,000 tonnes less were produced in the first crop…and no way in hell the second crop’s gonna be any better. So another 100,000 citizens are sucking wind from a SHRINKAGE in growth. As you ferret through the report summarised by the Government, below their flowing headlines, you find the “growth” actually comes from increased gold production. But that’s from the two new FOREIGN mining companies – and after the Government collects its five per cent royalty, all those profits are siphoned out to the foreign homes of the companies! Where the “growth” for Guyana?

Then another source of growth was from the extra excise taxes the Government slapped on the petroleum imported at the record low prices. So we’re supposed to’ve gotten “growth” because the Government forced us to buy oil at a higher price! While they collected the taxes to pay themselves their 50 per cent pay raises.

And did the Finance Minister really need the IMF “experts” to tell him and his bosses we need to diversify the economy?

Even the sweetie vendor at the street corner knows if, say, mints aren’t selling, she’d better try toffees or something else!

…share manipulation at Ogle Airport

At long last, some of the private operators at Ogle Airport are opposing the hijacking by the Correias of Ogle International Inc (OIA). This is the company that’s just supposed to manage the facility on behalf of the Government that really owns it as part of a Public Private Partnership (PPP). In a recent letter, Annete Arjoon-Martins mentioned the €1.85 million OIA received from the European Development Fund in 2007. This helped in the lengthening of the airport that year.

But back in 1999, the Airport shared in a US$30 million soft loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) – which OIA formed the years later to develop the airport, utilised. That 40-year loan had a 10 year grace period and is still outstanding as a debt of the Guyana Government. As Arjoon-Martins said, there ought to have been an oversight body established – but the terms were altered by the Correias to prevent equitable participation by the Government.

When is SARU going to step in to prevent this seizure of a public asset?

…double speak

Let’s see if we have this right. The country need investments. Our banks are awash with cash but locals aren’t investing. And the Government’s gonna remove tax and other inducements for foreign investments.

Pure genius!!