What’s with …the Dutch Disease??

In Guyana, we all know about feared Dutchmen, don’t we?? Their ghosts hover about their old plantations that’s become our housing areas…waiting to pounce on the unwary. But their reputation exceeds their actual (mis)deeds, don’t it?? Has anyone been actually been KILLED by one of these amorphous Dutchmen – except perchance from heart attacks brought on by fright?? Didn’t think so!! But for the record, your Eyewitness still dain’t taking no chances!! You never know!!!
However, the fear of the Dutchmen of yore, seems to’ve been replaced by another (related??) bogeyman – the dreaded “Dutch Disease”!! And no, it’s not related to Monkeypox or Chicken Pox at Lusignan prison – or any of those other diseases sweeping the planet. This one’s the dark cloud we’re now told might just overwhelm the silver linings we’ve stumbled over with oil under the Atlantic !! Seems that sometime back, after languishing in the economic doldrums of post-war Europe that was developing rapidly, the Dutch struck gas off their coast.
Now everyone (not unreasonably) thought that was a good thing. But something strange happened on the way to enjoying the good life they’d enjoyed back in the day when they exploited enslaved African on their plantations here and elsewhere – for free. As foreign exchange flowed in from their gas exports, their currency – the guilder – increased in value!! That’s a good thing, no?? Well, no!! It INCREASES the price of the OTHER goods you export and as exports decrease, manufacturing falls, wage demands rise and more folks have to fall back on providing services. The entire economy becomes distorted – all because of the resource discovery and exploitation!!
That’s why it’s also called the “Resource Curse”. But when you think about it, ANY large sustained influx of foreign funds could start this domino effect – and it does!! Even large inflows of aid has been shown to be a culprit!! So, lets look into this accusation by the Opposition that we’re ALREADY in the throes of a full-blown attack of Dutch Disease. Right off the bat we gotta acknowledge that we’ve struck oil and started earning (comparatively) massive amounts of foreign currency from the sale of our 14.5% of the oil profits.
But has our Guyana dollar appreciated in value?? Not the last time your Eyewitness looked – this morning!! That’s been stuck in the low $200s to US$1 for years!! But the Opposition points to the drop in exports of some traditional goods – sugar and forest products. But none of this has anything to do with an appreciated Guyana dollar – but everything to do with what Granger and his merry band of army hacks did to the sugar industry! But the gobt’s been diversifying like crazy!!
Gwan da side, Chicken Little!!

…constitutional changes
Step by step the PPP government’s inching towards ‘constitutional change” – as promised in their winning manifesto. And which the Opposition’s demanding: to be GUARANTEED a share of the government, or else!! But hold it!! – wasn’t “constitutional change” also on the APNU/AFC manifesto in 2015 – which led them to pip the PPP and slide into office?? Whatever happened to that promise?? Blowin’ in the wind??
Nah…buried in the mud!! With great fanfare, right after the elections, the coalition has established a Steering Committee on Constitutional Reform headed by Nigel Hughes. With a welter of talent on constitutions – like Haslyn Parris and Bryn Pollard. They held hearings, took submissions across the country and pretty much on schedule – even though Parris passed away – submitted their recommendations to PM Moses Nagamootoo in Sept 2016.
And that’s where it languished until after much pressure from Civil Society, it was revealed by Nagamootoo he’d invited in the UNDP, which came, inquired and made recommendations in 2017.
Then nothing- until they were ousted in 2020!!

…equity for transgenders
International Transgender Day of Visibility is an annual event announced every March 31 since 2009. We did our bit here in ole Mudland this year. But in la-la land, Trump panned Biden for “blasphemy”!!