From all accounts, the Jagdeo presidency is turning out to be a negative for both Guyana and the PPP. Here some observations:
1) The VAT tax has hit the poor’s pocketbooks quite hard and has resulted in double digit inflation according to the World Bank -a punishment for the working class Guyanese.
2) Extra-judicial killings have not been solved -no one has been brought to justice -a threat to democracy.
3) The president was democratically elected but governs like an autocrat. The opposition is ineffective but the President has not led Guyana to new heights. Governing by edict under a banner of democracy also threatens democracy.
4) Guyana has a negative current account deficit despite all of the foreign investments over the years. Receipts from foreign companies doing business in Guyana (logging and mining) have not been productive in terms of employment of Guyanese workers (inadequate NIS receipts) and taxes/royalties from logging and mining entities paid to Guyana Revenue Authority have not been adequate compared to the actual dollar value exports of these depletion industries.
5) Mr Jagdeo’s choices for investing the Guyanese people’s money has been poor at best. The World Cup Cricket stadium and the government’s funding of a hotel have failed to reap the returns for the people. Meanwhile healthcare and other government services have shown little improvement further affecting the working class base of the PPP and also other working class Guyanese.
6) Under Jagdeo, the government is run like a fiefdom. No disclosures are made to the people regarding the concessions made to Barama or CGX and why other potential investors were rejected. There is no public disclosure as to the royalty regimes in place and a non-partisian independent entity to review the protocols and accounting to ensure the people’s interest is being guarded.
7) Why did the Jagdeo regime accept payments of CDN $9,000,000 from CGX Energy to foot the bill for the case against Suriname in the law of the seas convention case? If this happened in the USA, Canada or Great Britain, their respective governments would fall. Also, why was there no disclosure to the Guyanese people? (editor’s note: it was indicated at an early stage that CGX would be assisting with the legal costs).
8) Under President Jagdeo, official government advertisements in the Stabroek News were halted. This is governing by edict where a free press is stomped on if criticisms are meted out against the government. Criticism by the free press of government is an important pillar of democracy. Either re-instate official government business with Stabroek News or disclose to the Guyanese people extreme wilful malice by the newspaper.
9) Under the Jagdeo presidency, crime has reached new heights. This is bad for the citizens and also excludes Guyana from foreign investments. Good overseas managers do not want to live in high crime countries. Choosing a Home Affairs minister without any law enforcement credentials or experience will not help to reduce criminal activity. This is poor management which Guyana cannot afford.
The NGO’s and International aid organizations will verify the poor state of Guyana’s infrastructure, human development and bureaucracy. It is imperative that the PPP cut its losses and replace Mr Jagdeo with a seasoned leader who can set Guyana on the right path and build a country which has: a world class education system, world class heathcare, world class law enforcement, world class judiciary.
Deon P. Edwards