People wonder why the PNCR (now somewhat reduced in size) so eager and anxious to become part of the executive arm of the government through power-sharing. If they have a problem with what they call or allege is ” the true nature of the Jagdeo regime” as they express it in their letter captioned “Mr Da Silva seems bent on concealing the true nature of the Jagdeo regime” (KN 07.10.13)
I don’t know how the PNCR can allocate to me such a role when firstly, it seems to me that there is nothing for the Jagdeo PPP/C administration to conceal and secondly, the PNCR and others have the full freedom of the media to criticize any aspect of the administration. What would I have the ability to conceal if this was my role as they saw it.
They also state that “the PPP/C had the glorious opportunity to continue the reform initiated by the PNC and Mr Hoyte. “One cannot help but be amused when the fact was that the PNC and Hoyte were confronted with the inevitable results of their dictatorial, authoritarian and undemocratic rule, and had no alternative but to conform to the demands of the international financial institutions and the pressures of US President Mr Jimmy Carter and the Carter Center.
It was painful to myself and others to see Mr Hoyte trying to defend the status quo and resisting the popular demand that ballots be counted at the place of poll, which he termed” a logistical nightmare”.
The letter also says that in 1992 the PNC “had placed on the agenda the further privatization of state-owned institutions.” This is eye-wash as privatization of such institutions was one of the demands by international financial institutions under the Economic Recovery Programme (ERP) or “empty rice pots” as it was deemed by many.
No other Commonwealth Caribbean state had been faced with the necessity for such a programme as far as I recollect.
At a very late stage Hoyte and the PNC wanted to privatize the sugar industry but this was stoutly resisted as it was seen as a politically-motivated and vindictive action.
One of the entities privatized was the Guyana Telecommunication Corporation which was sold for US$16.5 million reportedly to meet an IFI commitment which they missed by one day but were not penalized for it. It is still referred to as a ‘sweetheart deal’ – the price was regarded as cheap and a rate of return of 15% was guaranteed.
Subsequently, there was more controversy in the media when it was reported that Mr Hoyte received a fee of US$20,000 to give a talk on telecommunications in a country in Africa.
As regards access to state media, I believe an agreement was reached that such access would be based on the parliamentary representation of political parties.
There are still areas of disagreement, I believe, between the two main political parties which have delayed the introduction of broadcast legislation, preventing the allocation of radio licences.
I do not believe that there is any policy of harassment of private media, but they and state media are monitored as to their adherence to a code of broadcast standards to which they agreed and this is done through the ACB (Advisory Committee on Broadcasting).
We no longer have the doctrine of paramountcy of the party, which the PNC had promulgated where all state agencies had to pledge allegiance to the party. The private sector also did so.
John Da Silva