In Guyana, when those in charge of our economy talk in monetary terms, they talk in millions and billions of dollars which are spent to run our dear country. The 2011 Budget allocations add up to a whopping $162 billion which is really $162,000 million. Let me spell it out in plain terms – one hundred and sixty-two thousand million dollars!
When one talks about a billion, one has to take this figure into perspective and then realize how politicians like to have the levers of spending our money which we, the citizens work extremely hard for to provide for our families.
Editor, if we take 2011 as the starting point, then one billion seconds before that would be 1959; one billion minutes before that would put us to the year that Jesus Christ was alive; one billion hours before that, mankind was living in the Stone Age; and lastly, one billion days before 2011, no one walked the Earth on two feet. So, in fact, the concept of a billion is an exceptionally large quantity under any circumstances.
Editor, let us now turn to our politicians and our budget and great spending.
With a budget of $162B , this government is spending approximately $305,000 every minute or $444M each and every day. And if we assume that there are 800,000 souls (adults and children) in this country, then each and every one of us should be treated to individual attention to the sum of $202,500 per year, and that’s from the baby in the crib to the most elderly Guyanese.
So, Editor, where’s the money going, because our roads are mostly bad; our elderly get pittances; our children get nothing much; our teachers, policemen and nurses get less than an average of $50,000 a month; we pay the highest electricity bills in the Caribbean; our water is substandard; our sea defences are marginal and our irrigation almost worthless; our university is in a shambles; our farmers are barely surviving; our sewer systems are beyond repair; and the poor are getting poorer as the rich get richer and richer. We have a terrible garbage problem in this city and imagine, the government spends $438M a day and would only allocate $200M to pay the garbage collectors after weeks of rot, stench and an unhealthy city.
Editor, where’s all the money going when we’re taxed beyond the breaking point? Where are the subsidies for our farmers? Where’s the support for our elderly? Where are the school buses for our children? When will electricity bills go down? When will we get clean water?
We need better governance and much more fiscal responsibility, and we need to see some of those billions in front of our eyes instead of the politicians crying about the past and as the tears come flowing they live more and more lavish lifestyles, obviously never contemplating the betterment of our citizens.
Cheddi (Joey) Jagan (Jr)