One country, one people, one future

Dear Editor,
The “One Guyana” policy embraces the idea of one country (a unifying national societal goal), one people (evolving a common set of values and aspirations), and one future (where there are possibilities for everyone to achieve the good life). This policy also recognises and sustains the ethnic-based core religious and cultural values, which would exist in harmony with the emerging mainstream value system.
Despite this novel policy initiative, aimed at moving away from the past failed attempts at societal integration and harmony, there are Opposition forces that denigrate this approach by producing false narratives.
A Norman Browne, for example, has made some astonishing comments against the PPPC Government, and put Dr Bharrat Jagdeo at the centre of his vitriol. He says nonchalantly: “The PPP has done terrible things to Guyana, and does not intend to stop…there is no question that the PPP is, and has always been, an uncaring Government that put the population through hell.”
Mr Browne recklessly blames the PPPC Government for the rise in cost of living, when everyone knows that this is a global problem linked to supply-chain issues. He also fails to acknowledge the mitigating measures – both “general” and “targeted” -implemented by the PPPC Government.
General (national level) measures include the elimination of the 50% excise tax on gasoline; the removal of freight charges, to reduce import duty, and thus the reduction in cost of imported goods and machinery. With foresight, the Government had earlier removed over 200 new taxes and fees imposed by the Granger administration, not to mention the removal of 14% VAT on electricity, water, education, and medical supplies.
One shudders to think what might have been the consequence if the PPPC Government had not taken this creative action!
At the targeted level, the PPPC Government is creating 800 jobs so that workers can supplement their household incomes in Region Two (Essequibo Coast), and a similar number (800) of jobs is being created in Region 10 (Linden). The Government has given annual grants in the sum of Gy$600,000 each to 79 dialysis patients. The Government is making cash grants to 250 small business owners. Other relief measures are under consideration.
Mr Browne would also know that, in a free market system, the Government does not determine price levels; that is a function of the market forces. And the imposition of price controls is not an option.
Mr GHK Lall makes the preposterous statement that the Vice President is a “leader lacking in what it takes.” Dr Bharrat Jagdeo’s exceptional international credentials are compelling, and establish his political stature firmly. He has received five honorary doctorates, was elected in 2015 as Chair of the IMF and the World Bank; while the World Economic Forum recognised him as a young global leader, and the prestigious Times Magazine named him as a hero on the environment. In 2010, he was designated by the UN as a ‘Champion of the Earth.’
Dr Jagdeo served in 2010 on a UN High-Level Advisory Group on Climate Financing. In 2011, Dr Jagdeo was appointed a Roving Ambassador on forests for the Amazon, Congo, and South East Asia basins; while, in 2013, Dr Jagdeo was appointed a member of an ACP group to guide and recommend future relations with the developed world. And he was appointed Chair of a Commonwealth Expert Group on Climate Finance in 2013.
With all these powerful credentials, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo decided to take a sabbatical from politics after the 2011 elections. The Opposition always viewed Dr Jagdeo as standing between them (PNCR) and electoral victory. His sabbatical provided an opening which played to the PNCR’s advantage; the PPPC lost the 2015 regional and national elections to a PNCR-led coalition. The PPPC was sent packing and feeling demoralised.
A group of PPPC members met with Mr Jagdeo in 2015 and pleaded for his return to the party’s leadership, to prevent it from buckling further. Dr Jagdeo rose to the occasion to save the party of Dr Cheddi Jagan. As General Secretary since December 2016, he immediately began to rebuild the party from bottom up, and recruited hundreds of young people into it. He knows that it would be the young people who would energise the party and bring it fully into the 21st century.
As part of the rebuilding effort, Dr Jagdeo supported one of the hardest working members of the PPPC and a former Cabinet Minister of Housing as the 2020 Presidential Candidate.
Dr Irfaan Ali’s Presidency has exceeded expectations. He is a President who readily connects with the people at all levels. His “One Guyana” is a revolutionary idea which, if fully operationalised, could become a major catalyst of positive change in the political landscape of Guyana. Bringing Guyanese together and reducing disparities would usher in the advancement of the common good for everyone.
One vehicle to help realise the “One Guyana” policy goal is the forthcoming Cricket Carnival.
While Dr Jagdeo admits that mistakes had been made in the past, those mistakes were not allowed to deter nor detract from moving the country forward. Under Dr Irfaan Ali’s Presidency, the sharp focus on implementing transformative projects that began under Dr Jagdeo’s leadership continues to gather momentum, and would change the social and economic landscape and likely usher Guyana fully into the 21st century with the real possibility of achieving the good life for all Guyanese.

Dr Tara Singh