What’s the… big idea??

Sometimes when we try to correct a failing, we assume we need to overcompensate so that when things settle down, they’d be where we intended in the first place. What your Eyewitness has in mind are the overarching ideas behind the crafting of the Budget being debated today. The point is, while this is Budget 2023, it’s part of at least a five-year plan – one five-year term – that comes out of the PPP’s manifesto they campaigned on to get elected in 2020. While some say Manifestoes are just “promises, promises” – which are basically a “bait and switch” ploy to attract voters – the PPPs manifestoes are usually a good indicator of their thinking on “development”.
They inherited this thinking from their founder Cheddi Jagan who was very serious and upfront about his ideological thinking. Some say ‘too up front” since his socialist ideas got him ousted in 1964 after a Budget presentation!! So when he was returned to office in 1992 – after his predecessor Hoyte had imposed an IMF straitjacket neo-liberal Economic Recovery Plan (ERP) that he’d derided by and large as “Empty Rice Pots” for the working class he insisted was his party’s base – he stuck to it with some reservations. For example, while the IMF insisted on the privatization of all PNC’s nationalized companies, he successfully balked on Guysuco,!! In a word, he accepted that he couldn’t paddle a canoe against the Western tides!!
In this budget and the previous one, we see the PPP continuing to move away from the old PPP socialist orthodoxy and towards the free market fundamentalism of neo-liberalism. Under this dispensation, the MARKET is allowed to make allocations about distribution rather than the principles of distributive justice that had moved Marx for developing a society like ours – namely socialism. So while the Budget still supports socialized medicine, education and a slew of social services, we note a massive increase in support for the business sector which is promoted as “the engine of growth”!!
The neoliberal theory behind this focus is that at this stage of our development – where we’re so underdeveloped and poverty-stricken – we need the private sector to create employment soworkers’ wages would lift their standard of living. The fly in this ointment, however, is that owners of businesses are rationally driven to maximize their profits. And the quickest way to do so is to decrease or hold wages constant! And it’s because of this and other dodges, the top 1% of wealthy persons in the world earned TWICE more than the REST OF THE WORLD!
Hopefully – against our socialist heritage – before we become so economically unequal, new policies will be implemented via Budgets to even out the disparities.

…gas passing??
Most folks talk about our “oil industry” and forget it’s actually an “oil and gas” industry with associated Natural Gas brought up with the oil. The arrangement we have with Exxon is that can use as much of the gas that’s separated in the FPSOs – for its operations – and can also inject some to help push up oil from under the ocean. But amazingly there’s oodles and oodles left over. What to do??
Well for one, the govt early on decided to use some 50Million cubic feet per day to fire that 250MW generating plant and to liquify as much as another 70mcfpd that the 12” pipeline can bring ashore to Wales. But that still hasn’t even dented the trillions of cubic feet of available gas. And that’s quite serendipitous cause the Ukraine war precipitated a steep rise in demand for LNG – especially in the US. And we can liquify and export the LNG offshore on floating ships – like with the oil!!
Let’s keep the money…er…gas…flowing!

…Chinese New Year??
January isn’t only Chinese Arrival Month but the Chinese Lunar New Year. This year is “Year of the Rabbit” – signaling a gentle period focused on self-reflection.
So will China advise Putin to pull back??