The ferry services should have been privatized to Guyanese investors

Dear Editor,
If you were wondering whether or not our leadership is on a retrogressive path, look no further.     I was appalled when I saw that the government had signed an agreement with China for the delivery of two passenger ferries. It is the perfect smoking gun. This deal has retrogression plastered all over.

I cringe at this kind of approach. For starters, the entire struggle of the forties, fifties and sixties was hinged on the beating back of imperialism and taking control of our own destiny. That’s why the PPP was formed.  That’s what the Jagans fought for. That’s why the Enmore Martyrs lost their lives. That’s why we sought our independence. The concept was that the imperialists were expending our natural resources, worked us (as slaves and indentured servants) to death, and took all the profits to enrich foreign lands. We wanted to control our own destiny. We wanted to be the owners of our businesses and commerce, where the profits remained at home to create further development.  I cannot believe the leadership of the illustrious PPP would persist with this trend – changing from one imperialist to another. What else can I say about the dominance of the Chinese taking our profits to further enrich their land?

I thought that after the failures of the Transport and Harbours Department, where for many years the Georgetown to Essequibo routes were mismanaged, that government would have given or sold the rights of the routes to serious Guyanese investors to provide the vessels and operate an efficient passenger service, all tying in with our tourism aspirations. Why isn’t John Fernandes given an opportunity to solicit Guyanese financial backing? What’s wrong with this kind of thinking?

This service should be privatized. Surely government must have learnt that for a project to be successful the operators must have a vested interest in its success. For government to be signalling their intention of returning to same old same old system, where in about six months the boats will be no different to what exists today, is way above my limited intelligence.

As a Guyanese I am extremely hurt at where the country is today.  Let’s reflect. Not so long ago we built passenger ferries. Our own Douglas Wilson, a qualified marine architect when last I checked, sits comfortably in foreign lands giving his talent to other nations and companies.   When I think about his input in the construction of one of the vessels that now needs replacing, my blood boils.

The government seems bent on persisting on ensuring that the people who were supposed to benefit from our independence keep on languishing like lost souls in foreign lands. All this against a backdrop of many qualified pundits, as recent as the outgoing Ansal McAl President who stated that Guyana’s major natural resource is the Guyanese diaspora. Take it from me – we do not need the Chinese.

The government’s approach is totally contrary to what the struggle was about.  I insist that this strategy be re-addressed and Guyanese be allowed and given the opportunity to invest and develop the ferry services and their country. Guyanese want to develop their country and they have the money to back it up. It is about time that our leadership allows Guyanese to enjoy the fruits of their independence. Here is another take-away. Guyanese are now equipped to move their country forward. Somebody needs to wake up and smell the coffee. The new dawn is waiting. I’m tired of screaming at the wind.
Yours faithfully,
F Skinner

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