It would be remiss of me to let a recent particularly glaring example of misinformation go unremarked upon, as presented by Member of Parliament Mr Jermaine Figueira. I refer to his letter captioned “All Jagdeo and his PPP party care about is votes from the sugar belt region”.
Utter nonsense is my initial response, and I show why I arrived at this conclusion from the listed facts below.
I wish to draw to the attention of the reading public the following facts, and then seek to humbly ask them to ponder on the veracity of this Member of Parliament; one who is not an angel, but one who was caught on national TV dishing out explicit language in the august house of Parliament on December 21, 2018 as he added to the chorus of threats against a fellow Member of Parliament. I presume his character lends to this sort of behaviour, which by extension bolsters his engagement in these blatant untruths.
Here are some truths for him to learn from; it is clear he does have issues with his history.
1. In the 2013 World Development Report as published by the World Bank, it outlines the following thought, and I quote, “The downsizing of the bauxite industry in the absence of new opportunities has contributed to a deterioration in family and community relationships in Linden. Between the early 1970s and mid-1980s, the bauxite mines were cut by half, and layoff continued into the 1990s. By 1999, formal unemployment in Linden stood at about 40 percent”.
2. Please permit me, Editor, to continue for this young man’s benefit, since he was not even born, I suppose, when these economically destructive acts were being perpetrated by the then PNC regime. Did I say PNC? Yes, I did; because it was the PNC who was in power when the bauxite industry was cut by half and thousands were sent into the army of the unemployed in Region 10.
3. In that report, one former bauxite worker told the World Bank Team, “They (meaning the PNC leaders in charge at the time) treat us like we don’t exist”.
4. From that experience, the World Bank Team found that there was an escalation of child violence and domestic abuse in the mining town, as the breadwinners of families were rendered into a stay-at-home people with little hope and purpose. The home was in crisis in the bauxite industry, and that did not happen under the PPP Government. It was conceived, created and executed under a PNC Government.
5. It was the PPP — in 1999 — that saved the bauxite industry from total destruction by soliciting OMAI to contract mine between 1999 and 2004, and the process saved over 600 jobs. These arrangements then led to a partnership between OMAI and Government. This partnership led to OMAI injected US$10 million cash in vitally needed equipment and refurbishment works in the bauxite industry at Linden. This is what a caring Government does; not cut the industry by 50 percent, as the PNC did in the 1980s, and has again so done in the sugar belt.
6. The PPP has since injected an average of G$1.7 billion per year from 1999 to 2010 into the Linden Community Power Supply, and then an average of G$2.6 billion between 2010 and 2014, when they increased the cash transfers to the mining town. In the last full year of a PPP Government, the cash transfers to LINDEN POWER were some G$2.8 billion. Add that up, Jermaine; and do not use Nigel’s arithmetic. From my detailed analysis of the individual years, it adds up to G$34 billion in subsidy being transferred to Linden by the rest of Guyana over a 15-year period.
7. As a cushion to the mess that the PNC left in the bauxite industry, the PPP launched a G$3 billion project, called LEAP, to incubate new businesses and to refurbish the infrastructure in the town. It was fully executed.
8. Then the PPP paid off some US$40 million on the PNC borrowed SYSMIN Loans that were wasted under the PNC. Much of these funds found their way into the pockets of the PNC leaders who were financing their relatives abroad.
9. On average, during the latter 15 years of the PPP administration, they spent over G$220 million a year on the Linden- to-Lethem road, which adds up to over $3.3 billion. This investment aided the increase in the volume of trade passing through the town, and led to many new business activities in Linden. Think 2018: What is the state of that road under this now PNC led Government?
10. Under the latter 15 years of the PPP, they spent some G$80 million per year on the Linden Technical Institute. I am asking this question: Why was more not spent by this post-2015 PNC-led administration to expand the services at the Linden Technical Institute? Why are the children and youths of Linden being shortchanged today? Many would support such an agenda, which grants more scholarships to Lindeners, because history has taught us that Lindeners are a hardworking people who would exploit any opportunity provided to them.
11. Then we must ask which Government invested more massively in the refurbishment of the Linden Water Works? YES, the PPP; not the PNC, my brother Jermaine.
How do you think all of this was being paid for – taxation from people like the sugar workers.
We must all remain committed to the truth, and you are being very economical with the truth my brother Jermaine. The PPP, like the PNC, did bring harm to the sugar belt, and I have written extensively of the harm that PPP appointees like Raj Singh and Donald Ramotar brought to the sugar belt. But let us be clear: as a developmental partner to the people, the PPP, as a team, was far superior to this incompetent and corrupt Team Granger and their PNC apparatchiks.
As a young man who may be a future decision maker of Guyana, learn one thing: the truth outlives all of us, and you must be more aware of the facts.