When the United Republican Party (URP) partnered with the Patriotic Coalition For Democracy in the early 1990s to bring Jimmy Carter to Guyana, we were patriotic in our behaviour to partner with all democratic forces to unite to restore democratic rule in our homeland.
The ruling People’s National Congress (PNC) under LFS Burnham had become a dictator terrorising the country and bankrupting the economy during the 1970s and 1980s. Burnham had consistently and deliberately forced the country into international isolation which eventually saw us becoming an impoverished nation. We all lived in fear as we dared not talk anything against “The Comrade Leader” – as he was fearfully termed.
The URP acknowledges the contribution that President Hugh Desmond Hoyte made in shying away from the austere measures of Burnham, especially as it related to the food restrictions and shortages of every good and in restoring our relationship in the international community of nations, reversing the isolation.
After the 1992 elections under the leadership of Dr Cheddi Jagan, we saw signs of hope and prosperity. It became obvious that after the passing of Dr and Mrs Jagan, the PPP, like their daughter the PNC, became rogue.
The PPP got involved in cronyism and unabated corruption. They moved away from being interested in the working class. The rich associated with the party automatically became much richer. And many who were poor when they became ranking officials of the PPP became filthy rich. All the while the citizens of Guyana – all the races – have remained underpaid and impoverished. We have not had access to proper healthcare, and neither have we benefited from working for a living wage.
The citizens of Guyana watched in horror as the party hacks of the PPP and the PNC bought houses, vehicles and other pieces of tangible property. We saw them travel to different countries with their families. Many of them could not resist the temptation of posting those pictures on the social media sites. All the while the average Guyanese struggled to make ends meet.
The general consensus is that those closely related to the governing parties cannot afford these purchases and travel on their regular salaries. Their monies must be coming from ill-gotten means and methods.
We have yet to see the financial statements of our leaders. However, we do not expect any full disclosures from any of our politicians, not PNC, PPP, AFC, as we are convinced that they cannot be trusted.
The PNC and AFC are adamantly opposed to disclosing financial statements; this is a reversal of their position when they were in opposition. We have come to realise that the delay in revealing their financials is a tactic employed to buy time for them to hide their ill-gotten gains.
Now the PNC and friends are in government and the exchange that the country voted for is becoming more and more obvious. Cronyism and corruption continue as normal. The local municipal government in Georgetown that the PNC has put in place is beginning to show the PPP-type corruption, from the cleaning-up of the City, to the money spent for the Jubilee Park and related celebrations, to the brewing parking meter fiasco.
The country is again watching in horror as every day the same kinds of accusations are levelled at the government with equal displeasure as was meted out to the PPP. And what is scary, is the fact that this government is displaying the same kind of nonchalance as their PPP counterparts. There is no transparency and no accountability.
The URP is convinced more than ever before that this government is unable to manage this country and what is sickening, is the fact that they are displaying the worse of the traits that the previous government embodied. This has left the country feeling betrayed and dejected. The appreciated reality is that those who voted for and expected change are left feeling abused and slighted by those who convinced them that things would have changed.
During our campaign in the 2015 general elections, the United Republican Party had warned the citizens of Guyana about this possibility. We are not the least proud to say, “We told you so.” We warned, “The PNC is not likely to change from its bad old ways”. So said and so it is.
The AFC has been morphed into the PNC as its executives seek wealth at the expense of the working class. We only hope the citizens of Guyana have now learned their lesson.