Nailing the lie of racial discrimination by the former Govt

Dear Editor,
During the period that the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) was in Government, the then A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Opposition, including most of the private media, launched a sustained and massive misinformation campaign against the then Administration, accusing it of corruption and racial discrimination.
This malicious act was done without any substantial evidence, but with the skillful use of photography and constant repetition of lies. They used the old Goebbelean tactic to tell big lies and repeat them as often as possible in a bid to make people believe this was the truth.
The sad reality is that this tactic was very successful. Many people bought into it.
Even though the PPP/C is out of office by a combination of factors, including fraud, many of those in the Government and some of the said private media continue to pursue this line.
The fact is that since Independence, the PPP/C Administration is the only one that did not practice nor preach hate. Successive PPP/C Governments managed in the national interests of all Guyanese.
If an unbiased observer was to conduct an investigation into the actions of the PPP/C, it would reveal that these actions were taken in the national interest and every persons and/or group in Guyana benefited.
Any area that is examined will show the fair-minded and even-hand policies of the PPP/C. no racial motive would be found.
When the PPP/C took office, blackouts were the norm; citizens used to be without electricity for days, even weeks.
During the 28 years that the People’s National Congress was in office, they did not add a single watt of energy to the grid. The equipment was obsolete. Added to this, discrimination in efficient and regular electricity supply had become a norm.
On the Corentyne coast, some villages where Indo-Guyanese live were by-passed and electricity supply was given to areas that were pre-dominantly Afro-Guyanese.
These blatant practices of racial discrimination never occurred under the PPP/C Administration.
No home and/or village was ever discriminated based on its ethnic makeup. Moreover, the delivery of these essential services improved significantly.
The PPP/C Administration also worked to bring down cost by seeking the use of renewable energy. The massive Amaila falls hydro project did not get underway because the then Opposition APNU/AFC did everything in its power to block the project. They took a strong anti-development position.
In the education sector, the PPP/C’s investments were massive. The Administration ended the community high school system which did allow students to write the CXC examinations.
More than 1000 schools were built and rehabilitated. And the passes at the CXC examinations improved greatly. For years Guyanese students topped the region.
Schools were built with dormitories in hinterland areas so that all children could have equal access to a secondary education and despite the many challenges, hinterland students performed exceedingly well.
Every child attending the public school system was provided with free exercise and text books. No one ever complained about discrimination here.
New schools were also built in almost every community. Here again, we had very little help from the then Opposition. Indeed, schools were targets for sabotage and many were deliberately burnt and/or destroyed. One Ministry building on Brickdam was even razed to the ground by saboteurs. This, the PNC (now APNU), saw as political work to destabilise the PPP/C Administration.
In the face of such opposition, the PPP/C Administration still managed to take Guyana to the verge of achieving universal secondary education.
University education had also expanded with a much higher student intake than ever before. More Guyanese were given scholarships to study abroad under the PPP/C Administration in our country’s history.
The availability of technical education has become much more widespread and almost every region now has a technical institute.
The PPP/C Government initiated several programmes to give school dropouts a second chance. Apart from the work of the Education Ministry, the Ministries of Labour and Youth, Sports and Culture also had similar programmes to assist those youths.
No sane individual with knowledge of these programmes can accuse the PPP/C of practicing racial discrimination while it was in office. The participants were a true reflection of our country ethnically.
We can say the same for health services. The PPP/C Administration not only upgraded the facilities throughout the country, but built new hospitals in every region and numerous health centres were established countrywide.
Another area where glaring development has taken place is the housing sector. No one can accuse the PPP/C of discrimination in the house lot allocation process. It was an open and fair one since all Guyanese benefitted.
Housing programmes were initiated for every region and this totally transformed the landscape of our country.
Clear evidence that the PPP/C gave every Guyanese equal opportunity was the outcome of the recently held Local Government Elections.
The PPP/C lost in the Parfaite/Harmonie housing scheme because of the continuous racial propaganda pushed by the APNU/AFC. Black people in the main voted for the APNU/AFC coalition. This mere fact clearly states that more Afro-Guyanese were allocated house lots in that area than Indo-Guyanese and that they clearly voted race.
But despite all this overwhelming evidence, the APNU/AFC and the Kaieteur News remain relentless in their unfounded and unjustified attacks about racial discrimination. They have never acknowledged any of the efforts made by the PPP/C to ensure equitable distribution of resources and the equal opportunities that were created for all.

Donald Ramotar
Former President