President Ali and the PPP Government’s ideas about job creation are captured in more training and education opportunities for young people, aggressive small business development, and robust Private Sector investments. The more-than 15,000 scholarships so far; the more-than US$3B direct foreign investment projects, including many hospitals and international hotels; the many shore-based businesses; the investment in housing and roads and bridges are the ideas and the big vision that have seen the most rapid growth ever in employment opportunities in Guyana’s history.
The PPP has always sought to reduce and eliminate the peasant class. The PPP has always sought to empower people. This approach is so very different from the David Granger PNC approach to job creation. In their small picture and small, petty idea approach, the PNC demanded young people create their own jobs by making plantain chips, cook-up and dog food, and become small-time vendors. The PPP has always shown they think big, they have vision. The PNC’s approach has always been to create a bigger peasant class. The PNC has always demanded sacrifices from people, such as “eat less, sleep less, work more”.
This is evident also in the two parties’ approach to agriculture. The PPP support farmers, the PNC punish them.
The difference in approach was vividly on display this past week as the “Because We Care” $30,000 cash grant was being distributed to more than 202,000 children around the country. The PNC’s Amanza Walton-Desir has again “poo poo” the grant programme by now insisting that it is not sustainable. Yet, the PPP is promising, in 2023, to make it bigger each year to 2025. The PNC’s approach was to keep that money to themselves, and instead sought donation of old buses, bicycles and boats to distribute to schools. Very few of the schools got those things. Less than 1% of the children ever benefited, and whatever little benefits they had from that small-thinking programme were short-lived.
As President Irfaan Ali and the PPP Government begin their third year, it is clear for all to see that this two-years period, August 2, 2020 to August 1, 2022, represents the single most successful developmental two-year period in Guyana’s history. Even some of the most ardent supporters of the Opposition parties concede that no two-year period in our history has had more development than in the last two years. The traditional detractors of the PPP seek to justify the rapid progress the country has made and the rapid improvement in people’s standard of living as a result of increased oil revenues. But the truth is that, for most of the two years since August 2, 2020, the PPP Government has governed without the benefit of OIL revenues.
There are some indisputable facts about Guyana since 1957. The only period of real development occurs in Guyana when a PPP Government is in office. The truth is that the PPP is a party of big ideas, a party with a vision, a party that wants to see every citizen benefit. It is why whenever the PPP is in office, taxes are lowered and agricultural land lease rates are much less than when the PNC as itself or in one of its disguises is in office.
The PPP has its slogans, but these are always invariably supported by ideas and programmes with clear goals. The PNC is a champion in sloganeering. It has some of the most powerful slogans, but none of it is supported by ideas, by a vision, and none of it supports bringing prosperity to people.
When it comes to big ideas, we only need to look at important infrastructural projects to understand. The PPP left office in 2015 with some big projects started or on the books for starting in 2015/2016. One of the biggest projects – the Amaila Hydroelectric Project – was about to begin, road construction had already started. The Granger Administration terminated the project. The Cheddi Jagan International Airport had already started, and between 2015 and 2020, the APNU/AFC Government not only changed the scope of the project, but never completed the project. The same thing with the East Coast and the West Demerara Highways. These projects still were in completion stages in 2020, even though they were started before 2015. The Linden-to-Mabura Road never started. The Demerara River Bridge not only never started, but hundreds of millions of dollars were spent on feasibility studies, one after the other.
The point is that, during 2015 and 2020, no new big infrastructure was started, other than the Kitty Roundabout and several arches. The Eccles-to-Mandela Road, the Ogle-to-Diamond Road, and other projects which were on the books never were started. No new hospital, no new school, no new hotel was built during that time.
The truth is that the main difference between the two political powerhouses in the country is that the PNC think small, believe that people must make sacrifice to support big spending by Government on things like ministers’ salaries and benefits, and on displaying their power. PPP, in contrast, is always bold with new ideas, new approaches to modernise and expand Guyana’s infrastructure and bring prosperity to people, empower them. It is the reason why the PPP’s support base is growing, and why President Ali is Guyana’s newest rock star.