Every government builds infrastructure

Dear Editor,

The PPP hangs its hat on infrastructure. In 19 years, the PPP has no real claim to any aspect of economic development except for perhaps, infrastructure. Even infrastructure is questionable. It is the PPP’s biggest selling point. But it is a gimmick and a web of deceit. This is a country where every little one-lane dam covered with asphalt is paraded as stunning proof of progress and development. An outboard engine to Amerindians who gave their lands to this country for free is deemed advancement.

But let’s talk truth here. This is for those who believe that paving a dam with some tar is progress and development. If the PNC, AFC, GAP, ROAR or JFAP wins the election, they will build roads, bridges, schools, buildings and stellings. Every government that is elected in every country on the face of this earth builds infrastructure. It is what governments do. It is no longer an expectation. It is a requirement. The reason for this is simple: governments build things. When governments collect taxes, they are expected to build things. The PNC built some of this country’s most vital infrastructure in its first decade in power from 1964.

So when the PPP claims that a road here or there is sign of the PPP’s infrastructural greatness, you must ask yourself this question: would any of the other parties not build similar infrastructure with access to the same kind of money? Now, I discount the PNC because that organisation is still dominated by many who oversaw the economic destruction and rampant corruption of the 1970s and 1980s. They will likely build the same things as the PPP but we will still get the same problems of waste, squandering, mismanagement, incompetence and corruption. We will still get brand new wharves floating away or stellings breaking down or white elephant sugar factories falling apart or empty hospitals and empty hostels and pockets being filled aplenty and crappy work being handed to the taxpayers who are taxed to death to pay for it. But the smaller parties will try to impress the people. It is the only thing they can do to do better in future elections.

Infrastructural development is not evidence of government performing excellently. Some of the worst governments in developed nations have built some of the most impressive infrastructure and people in those countries kicked them out unceremoniously in the very next election. Because those people in those countries know that infrastructure is not how governments are judged. Because people in those lands know that governments are expected to build infrastructure. When a government gets more than US$7.257 billion to build infrastructure, you don’t deserve small two-lane dams covered with a thin layer of tar. You deserve six-lane highways and fully equipped schools with functioning labs.

The Diamond Housing Scheme residents shouldn’t have to pay all that tax and VAT on top of it to get a single road in and out of the largest housing scheme in the entire country. A two-lane joke of a road that would only be one lane to people living not only in the USA or Canada or the UK, but to people living right next door in Trinidad and Barbados and the Bahamas.

Governments must build infrastructure. In fact, clueless governments like the PPP of the past 19 years with no real plan to expand the economy and to generate legitimate wealth for the people, will keep building infrastructure over and over again like a child at the beach building that eternal sandcastle. The same road gets re-paved and redone four times every year and the same culvert repaired every quarter. A newer school gets constructed right next door to an already new one. A massive empty hospital with no doctors and little medical equipment is built in an area where there aren’t enough people.

A sugar factory with a 1.2 million tonne processing capacity is constructed in a country that struggles to grow 400,000 tonnes of cane in a dying sugar industry. The sugar industry goes into the tank and the panicking government that has done nothing in terms of economic development starts re-paving the same stretch of road ten times a year now. The level of infrastructure in Guyana is ridiculously inadequate considering the amount of taxes collected and money borrowed and spent by the PPP in the past 19 years. Many will scream that the PNC left the infrastructure destroyed. But the PNC built those highways and bridges and wharves and stellings in the first place. The PPP did not build many things anew and definitely not so when one considers it spent at least US $7.257 billion in 19 years.

Re-paving potholed PNC roads does not account for the US$7.257 billion spent by the PPP. Every time you pay VAT or you drive on that one-lane road pretending to be a two-lane road where you live, you should ask the government aloud or in your mind, where the hell is my money?

Yours faithfully,
M Maxwell

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