This past week, President Irfaan Ali visited Mocha, a community that has been uncompromising in its support for the PNC over decades. Prior to the visit, activists called on the people to boycott the President. Instead, the community came out enthusiastically to see, mingle and interact with their President. When the PNC Chair of the NDC demanded the Government must give the NDC all the monies that target development in Mocha, because the PNC controls the people of Mocha, the President interjected that no one owns the people of Mocha and no one controls the people of Mocha, the people burst out in unanimous applause, siding with President Ali and rejecting the demand of the PNC NDC Chair. It was a total, brutal rejection, affirming that the President’s One Guyana message resonates with them and that they find the divisive politics of Aubrey Norton and the PNC ugly and distasteful.
By now, it is safe to conclude that the Opposition are in disarray and are clueless. They have no idea how to compete with the governing party, unable to engage the Government, unable to demonstrate to those who voted for them that they are qualified to sit in Parliament as an alternative government. The shadow Government which is called the opposition in Parliament must demonstrate they can analyse and find flaws with the policies and actions of the Government and that they can compete with Government for ideas to develop the country and improve the people’s standards of living. Mocha is a microcosm of the dysfunctionality of the PNC.
The PNC controlled Government between 2015 and 2020 and during all those years, they barely acknowledged Mocha. In just two years, President Ali has been there at least twice and this time, to open a major roadway and to assure Mocha residents that Mocha is about to be transformed. The PNC’s response is that the people should chase away the PPP, that a PPP President has no right to commission a new road that was once a mud dam named Burnham. As far as Norton and the PNC are concerned, the mud dam named Burnham should have remained a mud dam. Deliberately fabricating storylines, or depending on ignorance cannot be the qualifications a political party parades as evidence they represent an alternate Government. The absolute enthusiastic response of the people to President Ali affirms the people are comforted by a President who seeks to bring development everywhere.
This past week, Annette Ferguson, an Opposition MP, with an unholy obsession with the Honourable Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, claimed that President’s College ranking among schools had been dropped to a lower ranking by the Ministry. She based this conclusion on an announcement by the Ministry of Education on cut-off marks from the NGSA. But the ranking in the MOE’s announcement is one that have existed for some time. A similar announcement, with the exact ranking, was publicised in 2019 by the then Granger-led APNU/AFC Government. Ferguson was a Minister in that Government. Did she not know that President’s College’s cut-off scores were lower than Queen’s College, Bishops’ and St Stanislaus, as publicised by the Government she was a Minister in? Was she trying to create some political controversy by lying or was it that she was ignorant of the facts? Either way, she continues to demonstrate that she and her party are unqualified to sit in Parliament as our country’s alternative government.
But this question of whether senior Opposition spokespersons are deliberately lying or that they are ignorant of basic, readily-available information is now one that the majority of Guyanese are beginning to ask every single day. For example, recently, on the first day that school reopened for this term, one Opposition spokesperson claimed the President had no confidence in Government’s preschools. He concluded that because the President’s son started schooling in a private preschool. The problem with his reasoning is that there are no Government preschools. Was the Opposition spokesperson deliberately fabricating a story or he just did not know that there is no Government preschool?
Take the Opposition’s storyline that Guyana is already caught in the traps of the “Dutch Disease”. Their claims have been echoed by several of their spokespersons and we note that this claim is becoming a major theme as the Opposition try to find something that they can take on the Government on. The former Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan, is one of the Opposition spokespersons who is parroting the nonsense.
Guyana’s real economy is estimated to have grown by 36.4 per cent in the first half of this year, driven by the petroleum, other crops, and services sectors. Additionally, despite the lingering effects of the 2021 floods limiting performance in some industries during the first half of this year, the non-oil economy grew by an estimated 8.3 per cent. With supportive measures in place to continue increasing economic activity, overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth for 2022 is now projected at 56 per cent, and non-oil growth at 9.6 per cent. The non-oil growth would be the best in Caricom and among the top five in the world. Where then is the evidence that Guyana has become afflicted with the “Dutch Disease”? Clearly, Norton and the PNC have decided that they will lie and fabricate stories and pretend ignorance as their way of proving they can be a legitimate government. At this time, people have begun to wonder if the PNC can control the Opposition after the next elections in 2025.