Government’s intense pace of positive development has driven opponents stark loony

While President Ali and his Government are eagle-eyed and focused on the rapid pace of development; while Guyana is on the steep rise in our economic fortunes; every single day, new development projects are taking off, the naysayers and the Opposition are dazed into insanity. With all the great reports of development projects and initiatives all around the country; with the global attention firmly fixed on Guyana; the Government’s opponents are desperate in their own insane world.
Each and every single day, communities across Guyana are looking out, because they know the President, the Vice President, the Prime Minister and Cabinet members would be coming their way with more announcements of development that brings social and economic benefits to them, and that change the landscape of our country.
Last week Essequibo hosted the National Flag-Raising Ceremony. But Government leaders, led by both President Irfaan Ali and Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo, went on an intense outreach in Region 2. Last week, also, Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo did outreach in Linden, Region 10. During that outreach, hundreds of persons from Region 10 benefited from scholarships, small business loans, and grants.
The Vice President also announced the construction of a new bridge to replace the old Wismar-Mackenzie bridge. He announced more than $1B in new public sector investments in the Region. While the citizens in Region 10, particularly in Linden, flocked to meet and greet the Vice President, the Leader of the Opposition decided to simultaneously hold his own outreach. It was a disaster. The people of Linden ignored Aubrey Norton. It was sad to look at what a PNC leader had become in Linden.
Shocked by the rejection from his own supporters, in a place that is regarded as the foundation for the PNC support base, the Leader of the Opposition is in a foul mood. As is usual when things are not going their way, the PNC leader decided to punish the citizens of Guyana. He was invited on Monday, May 30, to meet with the President to carry out his constitutional duties. The invitation to meet with the President was sent to Aubrey Norton on May 27th.
Norton was a no-show to the meeting. He did not extend to the President the courtesy to explain that he could not attend the meeting. He simply did not show up, but then published a letter in social media to tell the President he was too busy to attend at short notice. He alleged that just as the President was busy with the Agri-Investment Forum and Independence celebration, so, too, the Opposition Leader has a pressing schedule with important things, like nothing.
While Norton is pouting and feeling sorry for himself, that his most ardent supporters in Linden had no time for him, the people of Guyana are his collateral damage. There are important appointments, promotions, and other significant business of interest to the people of Guyana that must be made through the Police Service, Public Service and Judicial Service commissions. These appointments, however, depend on the constitutionally-mandated consultations between the President and the Leader of the Opposition. But the Leader of the Opposition could not care less. He has decided to play games with the lives of people. What did Norton do on Monday that was more important than him meeting his constitutional obligations?
But Norton is not the only one experiencing insanity as the country moves rapidly forward. There are, in fact, many persons who overnight have become “experts”. One such “expert” is a foreigner named Tom Sanzillo, who appeared in one of the newspapers in Guyana to claim that every Guyanese, every man, woman and child, already owes EXXON $9M each. He claimed that EXXON’s investment in Guyana would amount, by 2070, to more than US$75B, and that represents a loan that Guyanese must pay back. But the reality is that no single Guyanese owes a penny today or in the future to EXXON.
True, EXXON is investing huge sums of money in Guyana; and true, EXXON hopes to recover that investment from revenues generated by sale of oil. That is no different from a vendor investing money to buy a commodity to sell in the market. No one in Guyana owes that vendor any money. That vendor merely invests, hoping to recover his or her money after selling the products he markets. The newspaper and Tom Sanzillo tried to sensationalise an insane position. Not a single Guyanese lost a night’s sleep over the fake story.
Not a single cent invested by EXXON is a loan that Guyana, the Government, or any citizen is responsible for. Wherever EXXON gets its money to invest, it can recover from oil revenues resulting from that investment. If EXXON is taking loans for the purpose of investing, it is doing so on its own accord, it is not the responsibility of the Government of Guyana.
The PPP Government has been one of the most prudent Governments in the world when it comes to debt management. From more than 953% of the GDP in 1992, when Guyana was essentially bankrupt, Guyana today has a debt ratio of only about 16% of our GDP. Few countries in the world have a debt ratio so low. The truth is the PPP Government’s opponents have gone stark loony because they cannot stop the development train.