When the United Republican Party (URP) campaigned during the last General and Regional elections, one of our mantras was that Guyana needs a change, not an exchange. By now, after just one year, it is the general conscious of the residents and Diaspora of Guyana that we have been duped; we have voted for a change but got an exchange. Except for the cleaning up of the city, the Coalition Government has been embroiled in just about every corrupt scheme that the last administration has been known for. Just look at the latest BK scandals, the parking meter scandal and the refusal of the President to lower the VAT as they had promised.
How could the new government just give away tens of millions of dollars to friends and cronies just like that? The PPP did it now the PNC (Coalition) is doing the very same things. Is this the changes that the many Guyanese voted for? Like we have said, Guyana got an exchange when they voted on May 11, 2015. The administrators changed but the unpatriotic mindsets, with the intention to rape the country, remained the same.
What is even more disturbing is that in just a few months, this new administration is already competing in the area of skullduggery that the PPP took years to perfect. It is scary to imagine what the APNU/AFC group will do to this country over the next four years and beyond. There seems to be one scandal after the next. And with all they are doing the people continue to suffer.
The URP took a team to the Black Bush Polder recently and what we saw and learned were saddening. We saw broken dams and damaged roads. We saw a proliferation of unemployed youths and distraught faces. The farmers were complaining that they cannot get to their farms because of the conditions of the roads. When they approached the representatives for the area, they were told that they will not be assisted in fixing the dams. The farmers are now forced to pay an additional cost to boats, in order to have their fertilizers and workers taken into their farms.
Many of the folks we spoke to have expressed that they had decided to move away from the PPP and give the AFC a chance. They are now regretting. One man with deep sadness on his face and a breaking voice, remarked, “We did not expect this! Not this!” The disillusionment of Guyanese is further complicated by the fact that they are absolutely fed up with both the PNC (Coalition) and the PPP.
The URP has been traversing the country and meeting with the ordinary man and woman, seeking to find out how we could help alleviate the sufferings in the areas that have been predominately affected over the last several years.
The folks in Essequibo, Wales and the Corentyne have been crying out bitterly. From the loss of their jobs in the sugar sector to the stagnation in the rice industry, the hopelessness is stark. Compounding the issue is the fact that the government seems at a complete loss as to where to go next.
Instead of easing the plight of the broke and broken citizens, every day the administration is showing their selfish lack of concern, by imposing more and more austere measures on the poor folks. There have now added a tax on the importation of manufacturing materials and goods. This will cause a reduction of growth in the sector, or at least, it will drive up cost which will be passed on to the already financially strapped consumer.
Additionally, we were told that Guyanese citizens living abroad will no longer be able to benefit from the old age pension scheme.
Editor, please be reminded that the pension is a fixed $18,000 per month. The person imposing the restriction on the overseas pensioners just had her pay raised from $500,000 and it was made retroactive to two weeks after she took office. She is now paid $800,000 plus perks, which brings her government income to over $1.3 million a month. Yet she is concerned about an old man’s and old woman’s meager $18,000.
It is obvious that this new government is completely aloof from the needs of the Guyanese people who elected them, and completely ignorant as to how to please their supporters.
In 13 short months, this government has run out of steam and is now just drifting along. The PPP was voted out of office because of the same behaviors; they had lost touch with the people, additionally, they had become corrupt.
Guyana can ill afford to have governments which take us for granted. Hopefully, next time around there will be real, genuine, change.