The year 2020 will mark the end of the rebirth of the worst version of the PNC. Worst since it is backed by a party, the AFC, which in many ways made the PNC acolytes pale in comparison.
It must be recalled that the AFC, founded by two malcontents from the PNC and the PPP, perpetrated worse forms of cronyism and corruption within the party, which resulted in many top members bidding farewell to the corrupt leaders.
I was the first to expose the corruption within the AFC, and was expelled from the party by Khemraj Ramjattan who labelled me a ‘rogue’ councillor, but then the exodus began. Today, the party can be seen as a two-man ‘band’ comprised of Ramjattan and Trotman, with Nagamootoo gone into exile or hibernating. This dishonourable trio transformed the AFC into such a discreditable entity that the term ‘third party’ is now a curse in Guyana, and probably the world at large.
It would be superfluous to mention the atrocities of the PNC, but we need to remind ourselves so that we do not get trapped again and again.
I was born in the pre-independence era, and survived the PNC dictatorship like many other Guyanese who persevered. I could recall the mass exodus of Guyanese, which began soon after 1968, when Guyanese became convinced that the PNC dictatorship under Burnham would never be able to bring progress to this country, but many Guyanese remained and fought that dictatorship. In fact, the PNC bankrupted the economy and sold off many of our valuable assets for next to nothing, enriching families and friends and those who can provide a lucrative kick-back.
Fortunately, from 1992 until 2015, the PPP/C, under the leadership of the late Dr Jagan and then Dr Jagdeo, propelled Guyana into an upward progressive trajectory, which moved Guyana from being a poor low-income country to a middle-income country with a per capita income in excess of US$5,000.
Guyanese must be reminded that under Hoyte our per capita income was a meagre US$500, and in 1988 our foreign debt was US$885 million, more than 4 times our annual export. We had moved from being the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere; in fact, the Mc Intyre Report in 1989 ranked Guyana below Haiti. According to that Report, inflation was 50% and unemployment 40%. Guyanese no longer had to go to the US via the backtrack route to eke out a living, thousands were given 10-year US visas and went on holidays, because Guyanese were becoming affluent.
However, many Guyanese suffered from amnesia and voted the PNC (baptised the Coalition) back into power in 2015, and the cronyism and corruption began all over again, but with an intensity unparalleled. The insane and insatiable quest began not only to enrich themselves, cronies and families, but to build the foundation to create an everlasting dictatorship headed by an absolute ruler.
The APNU/AFC had squandered and mismanaged our economy through corrupt practices to the extent that they had spent more than $1.3 trillion dollars with nothing to show for it. In fact, Guyanese had been overtaxed, with an additional annual average of $80 billion more than under the PPP/C. It is equally alarming that they spent more than $600 billion than what the PPP/C government spent in their last 4 years in office up to 2015! Where has the money gone, when it is considered that more Guyanese were unemployed then than ever before, and that 4 sugar estates had been closed, and the factories, infrastructure and cultivation were completely annihilated.
The PNC had ‘blessed’ us once again with the opposite of the Midas Touch! It reminds of what the late Dr Rodney had prophetically said about the PNC! Every year since 2015, the Auditor General’s Report continues to expose the massive theft, squandermania and corruption which permeated every strata of Government. We, as Guyanese, must be thankful that the PPP/C under Jagdeo’s astute leadership has once again rescued us from the making of the worst PNC dictatorship ever.
Fortunately, despite 5 long and arduously stressful months, the PPP/C and the local and international communities brought this agony to an end. This also brought an end to the ignominious 5-year tenure of the PNC-dominated Coalition. In fact, by then there was no distinction between the various parties within the coalition, they had been completely consumed by the PNC’s avaricious juggernaut.
On August 2nd 2020, the newly elected PPP/C Government headed by Dr Irfaan Ali launched a massive nationwide rebuilding campaign, significantly eroding the debilitating measures implemented by the Coalition. Never had this country seen such a hardworking Government getting everything under control in just 4 months in office. The President, the Vice President and all the Ministers are in every nook and cranny, listening to the pleas of the people and resolving their many issues, which had mainly resulted from the Coalition’s mismanagement and corruption.
Special mention must be made of the agrarian revolution spearheaded by Minister Mustapha, which is taking place across the length and breadth of this country. The Coalition had sounded the death knell on this sector, which is so vital for the future of our country.
The PPP/C is not bringing Farmer Nappy and Buju Banton to deceive the populace that all’s well, but they are once again distributing hard cash to the people, especially the public servants and GuySuCo workers. This is what a caring Government does.
Our New Year’s resolution must be that we should never forget what the PNC did to us, especially in 2020; and vow never to allow this to happen again. Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it. Good riddance to the coalition, and Happy New Year to all!