The prospect of the creation of 50,000 jobs as envisioned and articulated by PPP/C Presidential Candidate Irfaan Ali seems to have generated a high-voltage shock to the APNU/AFC apparatchiks. The Granger Administration that has (so far) caused over 30,000 to lose their jobs and who boasts of creating 126 new jobs in four years is understandably flummoxed. Their views were championed by the re-migrant Chairman of the Guyana Gold Board, Gabriel Lall, in his missive to the newspapers (April 8, 2019).
Lall, who came to prominence in Guyana (his prominence elsewhere is unknown) via an anti-corruption platform which he mounted to criticise the PPP Administration but swiftly dismounted rather ignominiously since his political appointment with the Gold Board. GHK Lall has not made a mention of the corruption scandals that break the surface of the bog within which he stands. He never heard of the drug bond, the D’Urban Park missing $600 million, indeed Ministers do not grant contracts to their husbands or collect monies on his (husband) behalf at her Ministries in GHK’s new world, one where a curve in the bush is worth $83 million in the hand. Delusion, like its twin, ignorance, must be bliss.
Lall casts aspersions at Irfaan Ali’s experience, in lieu of listing accomplishments; I offer a quote from Elizabeth Alleyne on Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson’s Facebook page “You will, I am sure, permit me to make a comparison. When a certain Mr Ali was in charge of issuing house lots, thousands of black Guyanese got house lots and were able to build their own houses. These included my black cleaner at work and my black part-time cleaner at home.” That, Editor, is the experience that matters to so many thousands of Guyanese. Irfaan Ali presided over a system where applicants drew house lot numbers out of a bag, why? This was to ensure that the communities he created would be multi-ethnic and break the cycle of ethnocentric settlements. It has been an unheralded success because many were never aware of the purpose or design of that bag with numbers. GHK himself, in all probability, lives in one of these areas, blissfully unaware of how it was conceived or executed.
All of his usual snide aside, GHK tackled the claim that 50,000 jobs could be created head on. GHK reasons that large-scale job creation is “another of the usual empty political soundbites” for in Lall’s opinion “the calibre of local content minds and hands is not there… the local workforce – largely the youth brigade – is ill-equipped mentally, educationally, spiritually, and psychologically to rise to the challenge of responding to any invitation or environment that calls for tens of thousands of jobs..The ambition, vision, and drive are just not there. The mandatory focus and dedication are absent.” This is the view of an Administration that creates 126 jobs in four years; it is a snapshot of the elitist mindset that pervades the upper-echelons of the Granger cabal. Young people should take careful note.
Irfaan Ali and the PPP/C do not share this view of any segment in our society, I have noted that there are problems with entry-level jobs and those vying for them, but we have a large base of smart, bright and well-educated youth that can be employed in the near future. The PPP/C has produced a comprehensive plan for job creation and 50,000 is the conservative number, it is not a plan that can be implemented in isolation, however, it is complex and has many moving parts that require competent management to create opportunities and an enabling environment for investment. All will be revealed at the launch of the PPP/C manifesto during the upcoming election campaign, until then, GHK and DAG can seek to come up with their own ideas for a change. An examination of the Foreign Direct Investment since 2015 will show the startling drop and continued absence despite claims from GO-Invest to the contrary. Our economy continues to drift despite the closeness of ‘first oil’, the nautical term for our position is “Ahull: Lying to the wind with no sail set”. We are crawling on the weight of bare poles; Guyana needs a visionary captain like Irfaan Ali to raise the canvas and make use of the heavy winds of prosperity that blow all around us.