It has become almost laughable to see the Government firmly embracing some infrastructural projects which were envisaged and commenced by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration. Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with any government continuing developmental projects and policies started by previous leadership. As a matter of fact, as long as these are sound and beneficial to the populace, very little argument can be made against their continuity. In many cases, the citizenry expects just that. What therefore makes the current situation different?
The answer will gradually unfold, but first, the context must be reminded of. During the PPP/C’s minority government of 2011-2015, many major transformational projects were already on the table with some at different stages of implementation. These include the Amaila Falls Hydro, the expansion and modernisation of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), expansion of the East Bank and East Coast thoroughfares and the Specialty Hospital.
These visionary endeavours, like the Berbice Bridge, the National Stadium and the Marriott Hotel, were not only designed to further advance the country’s then ongoing unprecedented development but to better position it to meet new demands faced by every developing nation. Having witnessed Guyana’s transformation from a highly indebted poor country to a developing one within the tenure of the PPP/C Administration, Guyanese, whose lives were positively impacted and many of whom eventually only familiar with modernity, were expectant of further advancement.
Who would not have wanted a state-of-the-art airport with protection from the elements? Who would not have wanted reliable, cheaper and cleaner electricity which would have reduced manufacturing costs redounding in cheaper local products? Who would not have wanted the services of a modern hospital with treatment in specialised areas? The only set of people who appeared to not have wanted these projects is the current Government when in Opposition. It, therefore, begs the question of why 33 people would have then not wanted their motherland to further progress?
While the mere thought of asking the question is in itself mindboggling, the reality is that a set of Guyanese lawmakers squashed those transformational projects under the Donald Ramotar Administration. One may objectively not want to deny their concerns of reportedly high costs for obvious reasons. But despite being afforded all the information regarding feasibility studies, recouping revenue and benefits to the nation, even interaction with major players as in the case of the Amaila Hydro, they refused to see the value in these undertakings.
A flabbergasted nation was at pains of trying to come to grips with what played out, then resulting in the scuttling of the Amaila Hydro and the Specialty Hospital. Many analyses were attempted to unearth some rationality in their decision, but none was forthcoming. It may be because the answer lay in politics rather than in objectivity, rationality and concern for Guyanese welfare. Politically, the power of the combined one-seat majority was ruthlessly wielded to demonstrate the belief of who controls the seat of power. Unfortunately, it wasn’t just about whom, but about the assumed power itself, and the brandishing of it with scant regard if it compromised the future.
But what has changed since? Why would the same set of people officially in the seat of power now boast of some of these projects which they had previously blanked? How now some of these projects make sense when just a few years ago they did not? Again, politics seem most plausible; a time for noise and a time for silence; don’t support fearful the then Government looks good. If this were to hold true, then the transgression into the realm of hypocrisy cannot be discounted.
Therefore, it is difficult to dismiss the audacity to now take credit and boast of someone else’s idea and vision as an unbridled display of hypocrisy. This obviously is in the context of once killing and burying it and now raising its flag in adoration.
One positive is that Guyanese can eventually benefit from what was originally intended if these projects are executed as designed.
It appears another confirmation of the boundless potential for hypocrisy.