‘Are we indeed fortunate?’ is the heading of the letter by Donald Isaacs in Kaieteur News of 6.2.09, in response to mine of 3.2.09 captioned ‘Guyanese are fortunate to be led by President Jagdeo’ also published in KN.
Mr Isaacs, like me, is entitled to his views and the right to express them, under the freedom which we enjoy under the PPP/Civic democratically elected to office in October 1992, unlike what obtained under the PNC regime which maintained itself in office through institutionalised rigged elections, and which ruled dictatorially and undemocratically.
Guyana has made remarkable progress in a short 16 years considering the basket case it was, when the PPP/C inherited it from the long years of the PNC dictatorship. The socio-economic and physical infrastructure was shattered and dilapidated and had to be rebuilt, rehabilitated and extended. Thousands of school children having left primary school could not attend secondary school because there were not nearly enough, and in the more remote areas and hinterland, none at all. This has been corrected, and in addition to universal primary education, we have now achieved universal secondary education.
In the health sector, there has also been tremendous improvements with the provision of new hospitals, clinics, health huts, diagnostic centres and in some areas, doctors are now available for the first time ever.
Also, after the PNC demitted office after free and fair elections, they created a lot of problems for many of the sixteen years in refusing to accept the results of internationally and locally certified national elections, and attempted to carry out their declared intention of making the country ungovernable, also refusing to make unequivocal and unambiguous condemnations of violent crimes and with their so-called “peaceful” street protests which invariably turned violent were responsible for the “more division and distrustfulness among the races” to which Mr Isaacs refers and attempts to ascribe to the PPP/C administration. As regards the 2005 floods, caused by unprecedented heavy rainfall and rising sea levels, Isaacs fails to mention the collaborative and unified efforts among the people, government, opposition, many organizations and individuals both local and overseas in response to it. It is also totally incorrect for him to state “people have not been compensated for their losses.” Maybe some felt that the compensation and assistance were not enough, but there was a massive and well-organized effort by the government to help those affected. The World Economic Forum invited people, because of their knowledge, experience and abilty to make useful and valuable contributions to the debate and not because of “diplomatic niceties.” President Jagdeo had also been Minister of Finance and Chairman of the Boards of the World Bank and the IMF and had had high level discussions with many Heads of State on many issues, and his and the other invitees’ views would have provided more information for wider consideration, assimilation and more informed public discussions in many countries. Guyana under the PPP/C government is in no state of “decay,” and the majority of Guyanese, here and in the diaspora have confidence in the future of the country. Among other things, just look at how many people are applying for house lots, building homes, how many more new businesses are being established or expanded, and how many people are taking advantage of educational opportunities for the present and future. Also read the 2009 Budget speech. Yours faithfully, John Da Silva