As your Eyewitness’s been saying, budgets are basically the Government’s income and expenditure for the given year. But Budgets aren’t just spending money…the money’s supposed to be spent for a purpose. The said purpose was described in the party’s manifesto that was put out just before the general elections. Kinda like promises the parties made to “we, the people”! We can see it like a contract we put our signature to when we placed that X on the ballot paper and dropped it into that box!!
So, here we are, more than halfway through the five years we gave the PPP back in 2020 – albeit delayed by five months during which the PNC tried to hijack the ballots – as they’d done for 28 years!! But before we can answer “how’s the PPP doing?”, we gotta find out what they promised…what’s on our contract. So, your Eyewitness googled their manifesto and this is how they summarised their side of the bargain:
“We all want a society which is free, prosperous, socially just, globally competitive and which serves every Guyanese equitably. Every Guyanese must have: a chance for a good education, access good paying jobs, be able to start their own businesses, raise and provide for a family, own their own homes, live in a safe and secure environment and retire with dignity. Every Guyanese must have full access to quality healthcare, safe water, be able to participate in sports and recreation, and freely practise their religion and culture.”
Now, we gotta accept that all of the above can’t be accomplished right away. If Rome wasn’t built in a day, so also the new Guyana, no?? In your Eyewitness’s estimate, we gotta look at whether the country’s heading in the promised direction – and how efficiently. This means are we getting the bang for the buck – the buck being quite enlarged because of oil revenues. “Oil and Gas will provide significant earnings and if managed well, will bring transformational opportunities for all Guyanese.”
So – as we learnt from the “Sound of Music” – let’s begin at the very beginning!! Are we “free”?? Now hopefully, this being no existentialist trick question, the last time your Eyewitness looked he didn’t notice anybody being thrown into the clinker in violation of their constitutionally guaranteed constitutional freedoms!! Your Eyewitness does hope, however, that the election-heist cases will be finished soon so that some will be jailed for trying to remove HIS freedom to choose his government!!
Now while we still have a far way to go – since the more we get, the more we’ll want!! – we gotta admit that with all the other promises – prosperity, owning homes, etc – we’ve moved in that direction.
But we gotta prod them, no??
Now in the manifesto, the PPP DID promise to “reopen estates” – plural. But we now know that only Rose Hall will be reopened – later this year. But, your Eyewitness isn’t gonna sit here and say that contracts can’t be amended. He’s not Exxon, after all!! He understands that circumstances change and plans must be altered to accommodate those changes. In the case of the sugar estates, he’s more committed to the well-being of those workers thrown into the breadlines by the PNC – against the recommendations of their own CoI.
He hopes that a roster was made of all the 7000 workers – 5000 from GuySuCo and 2000 from private cane farmers – and those still jobless will be offered relief. The social dislocations in the plantation economy have been devastating. Your Eyewitness notices some rejigging of the management organisational chart – with some experienced heads being brought back.
With something like sugar, institutional memory is critical since there’s nary a contingency that wasn’t faced in the 400 years of the industry!!
…down from the sky
The frenemies US and China are at it again!! While cooperating to get 86% of our oil revenues – Exxon and CNOOC – the US just shot down a Chinese spy balloon that floated over Alaska and the continental USA, gathering data!!