…and the good life
Finance Minister Jordan and his PNC-led government have been bigging up a claimed 4.1% growth rate Guyana is supposed to experience this year. It is, of course, an election year (if Garrido-Lowe’s hearsay info is to be believed!) and Guyanese are used to the tall tales that will be spun by the Government during the aptly named “silly season”!! But even if it were a “regular” year, Guyanese have to ask what does this trotting out of higher growth rates matter to them when they aren’t experiencing any improvement in their lives.
In their 2015 Manifesto, the APNU/AFC coalition promised Guyanese the “good life” and from an economic standpoint under the rubric, “Industrialisation and Jobs”, would accomplish this by “creating a new economy that will stimulate rapid development through Guyana’s transformation from a raw material producer to a manufacturer of value added goods and services”. Well, now that we’re entering the fag end of their term of office, Guyanese should look around for this “new economy” that would’ve delivered the good life.
Is it the closure of 4 sugar estates and putting 7000 workers into the streets while allowing 60,000 acres of drained and irrigated land to revert to bush? Khemraj Ramjattan of the AFC did boast last week that his party played a big role in the closure – which wasn’t REALLY a closure but “right sizing” the industry. Well your Eyewitness, like most Guyanese, can accept that possibly sugar doesn’t have a place in a new economy that will produce better paying jobs. But is the solution to throw all those people out of work BEFORE new job opportunities are created?? Is the “good life” going to be lived when you’re scrounging for a living?
But what about the creation of new jobs? The business community had complained for years that the major constraint to their expansion into the manufacturing sector was the exorbitant cost of electricity. This is one of the highest in the world, at more than US 26 cents per kWh. The Govt manifesto had promised to “pay particular attention to the development of cheap energy from our hydropower resources to facilitate the diversification of the economy through the domestic development of higher value added products…” Yet, the Government SCRAPPED the Amaila Falls Hydro Electric Project bequeathed by the PPP administration, towards which Norway had committed US$80M and describing it as the best energy opportunity available for Guyana!!
It’s quite possible Guyanese mightn’t have known what exactly the promised “good life” is, and might’ve let the PNC off the hook. But the ostentatious lifestyle opened up to the Ministers with their immediate 50% pay raises and obscene perks opened their eyes.
Vote them out!!
…and constitutional change
A lot of folks, especially the newbies to the political scene, are fixated on “constitutional change” as the silver bullet to get us out of our political mess. But if they examine that mess even cursorily, they’d see that while constitutional change might be NECESSARY for Guyana, it sure ain’t SUFFICIENT to do the job. Just look what’s going on and let’s cut the crap.
Which one of us don’t know the PNC knew exactly what was the import of Art 106 (6) on Dec 21, 2018? Weren’t they rubbing their hands in glee and chortling maniacally when Nagamootoo and the AFC were bringing their NCM against the minority PPP in 2014? And more to the point, listen to Nagamootoo’s and Volda Lawrence’s words right after the vote?? Amna Ally certainly wasn’t shouting, “Bring it on, big boy!!”
The question, of course, is “How do you enforce the Constitution when political players like the PNC will flaunt it with impunity??”
And the answer is: you can’t, in the absence of integrity! Guyana needs a few good men and women!
…and local content
First oil is nigh upon us, but yet there’s no local content legislation in place to ensure the oil companies will comply.
Meaning, ordinary Guyanese ain’t even getting crumbs like the Government!!