Home Features Shameless naysayers – silent whenever PNC in, loud when PPP in Government
A former PNC executive member and former Minister has been nominated by the Parliament as a member of the NFR Board. The Opposition and a number of commentators have objected. Why? Because the person was nominated by the PPP. Not one of those who have objected has presented even a morsel of argument why Dunstan Barrow is unqualified for the position. Independent NGOs and commentators gain legitimacy when their positions are driven by issues and not by political affiliation. When the Exxon oil PSA was signed by David Granger, Raphael Trotman and the PNC (in the form of APNU/AFC), most of the present naysayers demanding the PPP Government scrap the deal were totally silent. They only became loud in their protest when Dr Irfaan Ali became the President of a PPP-led Government. Their present motivation is not driven by their abhorrence of a bad oil deal, but driven by their political animosity against the PPP.
A few weeks ago, Guyana hosted an international oil and gas conference, the first one ever in Caricom. Heads of States from Caricom and Africa and heads of the biggest corporations in the world were here in Guyana. In the midst of the Winter Olympics and the threat of war between Russia and Ukraine at the time, Guyana held global attention. In May this year, Guyana will be hosting Caricom’s first ever international agriculture and food investment conference. No country’s average GDP growth in the last two years come close to Guyana. No President has ever had a GDP growth and infrastructural development programme in their first two years in Government as President Irfaan Ali. No country has had the kind of growth in their budgetary allocations for infrastructure development and social sector investments or has had a direct investment (FDI) growth like Guyana has had in the last two years. But a set of shameless naysayers loudly proclaim that Guyana is a failed State or on a trajectory towards a failed State.
Indeed, a number of persons have perfected the role of naysayers only when the PPP is in Government. These same naysayers invariably lose their tongue whenever the PNC is in Government. President Irfaan Ali expressed his disgust over some organisations and individuals who or which come alive only when the PPP is in Government. I recently saw a posting in which one of these naysayers claimed Guyana is on the path to a failed State. I wondered if there is another Guyana that they live in. I live in this Guyana, and in no way or form am I living in a country that is on the path to becoming a failed State. In fact, right now, all eyes are on Guyana with an expectation that within a short while, this country will be one of the most developed in Caricom. But the naysayers are shameless – they still insist we are a failed State.
Anytime the PPP is in Government, this is one of the dumb claims by some of the naysayers. By 1990, some 24 years after independence, under the Burnham/Hoyte-led PNC Governments, Guyana was definitely on the path to a failed State. We had rigged elections and a dictatorship, a country that had tumbled almost to the bottom as the poorest country in the hemisphere, with a suffocating debt of more than 900 per cent its GDP, with a debt servicing that consumed more than 100 per cent its annual earnings. Since 1992, however, Guyana ranks among the top countries for the extended period of 1992 to present, mostly under a PPP-led Government. And in the last two years, Guyana has grown under the PPP and President Ali in unprecedented ways. Those same naysayers who did not see Guyana as a failed State before 1992 when Guyana was bankrupt, now see Guyana as a failed State.
Many of these naysayers did not give the PPP a chance to last more than six months in Government after 1992. Yet, in spite of political violence and disruption, the PPP lasted more than 20 years in Government and began an infrastructural and social and economic transformation. If one were to be fair, no one would have believed that today Guyana would be the envy of the whole of Caricom. The fact is that the vast majority of those who loudly find fault today with Dr Irfaan’s PPP Government never found anything wrong with Guyana when the PNC, with its real name or with a disguise, such as APNU/AFC, was in Government.
When the PNC signed an agreement with Exxon and its partners for a 2 per cent royalty and agreed for Exxon not to pay taxes and agreed to no insurance coverage, in 2016, most of these naysayers had not one iota of complaint or protest. The agreement was good in their eyes. Now these same charlatans insist the PPP Government must violate international laws, abandon the agreements and negotiate a new agreement with Exxon and its partners. The PPP, however, is trying its best to extract as much from the oil and gas industry to make up for the patrimony Guyana gave up under the PNC. The naysayers want Guyana to leave the oil and gas deep underwater and give up our chance of becoming a prosperous nation. We say, to the naysayers, you are shameless.