Over the last few centuries, there’s been much discussion as to why England, a small island on the periphery of the then developed economies in Asia (China and India), was able to incubate the “industrial revolution” that made that country leapfrog over them all. England, then Europe, and then the US, was able to sustain economic growth rates that had never been achieved by mankind.
You’d think our leaders in Guyana would’ve followed that discussion and tried to apply the lessons here, wouldn’t you? Well, if you did think that but read about the latest law passed by this Government, you’d realise you wasted a thought. Imagine, this PNC-led coalition government had the temerity to mandate that PRIVATE BROADCASTERS — who pay and therefore own their assigned portion of broadcast spectrum — must hand over one hour of programming every day to content that they — the Government — would designate!!
Now this one hour is above and beyond emergency broadcasts — like if the Venezuelans are attacking, or the escaped bandits are sighted in Buxton, or such like. Folks need to know about that, and broadcasters could understand. It’s even above and beyond broadcasts of Presidential messages to the nation — those must be carried, and those times do not count. This one-hour that’s being expropriated is for WHATEVER the Government says must be broadcasted.
And your Eyewitness arrives at connecting this action to the undermining of development. When England and Europe forged ahead developmentally back in the day, it was all based on three principles that had been made sacrosanct: life, liberty and PROPERTY! It was only when property could be owned privately by individuals, and the government couldn’t arbitrarily seize it, that self-sustaining growth and development was possible.
The USSR tried a different way, in which there was no respect for private property, didn’t they? They called it ‘communism’. Look where it got THEM! While the Chinese give lip service to communism, ask why they have the most billionaires on Planet Earth today! Heck, why even look abroad?? Didn’t Burnham also had his government interfere with private ownership of property, which torpedoed our economy?? From which we still haven’t recovered?
And in fact, his seizure of private property included several media houses — now “the Chronicle”, Guyana Broadcasting Services and NCN — so his successor’s seizure of private broadcasting rights is just rubbing salt into the wound of the bases of democracy and the free enterprise system.
Where will this end? Taking over businesses to serve as Knowledge Sharing Institutes? This recent attack on our right to property puts us on the road to serfdom.
We must stand together to defend property and democracy!
While there have been strident calls for Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan to resign in the wake of three prison breakouts from “big jails” — and one from the “trainee” one at Onderneeming — the problem goes way beyond him. Maybe he SHOULD commit political hara kiri — which has precedence in the British Parliamentary system — but we’d still have the structural problems that caused the breakout, wouldn’t we?
And from the role Pressie played on the Disciplined Forces Commission back in 2004, he knows what those problems are. Heck, even back when he headed the army as a Brigadier, he knew. Fundamentally it all comes back to the deprofessionalisation of our security forces through their politicisation. For instance, Burnham inherited the nucleus of an army from the British; it was constituted just two years before independence — the Special Forces Unit.
This was ethnically representative of the country’s population. But Burnham disbanded it and formed an army in his image.
As he told them — and by default the other forces — the “professionalism” of the British had to go!
…the nation’s spirit
The blackouts of the Burnhamite years symbolised the political darkness into which the nation had been plunged.
Is the present spate a harbinger of a new political darkness?