There are pensions and pensions

Dear Editor,

Mr Ordinary Taxpayer will retire this year and will collect $7500 every month. He will not live long on that shame of a pension. But another man will be collecting a cool $3 million tax-free every month. That man is current President Bharrat Jagdeo. Mr Ordinary Taxpayer will have to pay his bills. Mr Jagdeo will get unlimited telephone and electricity bills; personal, household, field and administrative staff; medical expenses for himself and dependants; security for his person and residence; motor vehicles owned and maintained by the state; toll-free travel in Guyana; and annual vacation allowance. Mr Jagdeo will get all those benefits while living in a mansion in an exclusive estate built in his Guyana of gross inequity and inequality.

This is the real tragedy in this land. It is the grave insult that grips this country. Bigger than the insult of all of your own tax dollars being thrown at you during elections to try to bribe you with your own money. They will throw bonuses, payouts and handouts at people before the election. But after the spending spree, pensioners must know that when they retire, they will get that $7500; nothing more and nothing less. They can’t feed themselves that new road when they retire. Mr Jagdeo will have a garden for fancy parties and to show guests. A pensioner will have to keep one to grow some vegetables to stay alive in this cost of living nightmare that is Guyana under the PPP.

While the pensioner will retire with a mortgage, President Jagdeo will retire with a cool $120 million made from selling his house. While the worker struggles on a salary and the taxes on it, Mr Jagdeo will retire after earning a substantial tax-free salary while he was President. Mr Jagdeo will get full security paid for by taxpayers, while the pensioner will have to live in a cage of grillwork. The police will show up at Mr Jagdeo’s house every day on time when he retires. They won’t at the pensioner’s while the door is being kicked down. Mr Jagdeo gets free electricity. GPL will terrorize the pensioner with bills. They will cut a pensioner off for a single missed payment. Donald Ramotar approved of this deal for Jagdeo.

The Guyanese people are at the crossroads. Those with any decency, dignity and morality left and those pensioners with $7500 in their pockets have to make a decision that is rooted no longer in ethnicity, but in the growling hunger in their belly, the darkness of their home, the lack of running water, the crushing food prices and cost of living, the financial pressure of mortgages and bills and the fear of banditry. If that is the life they want as a people, then they should go ahead and continue to vote for it. If they want better and know they want better, they should do the right thing with that ink on their fingers. Only the courageous can leave a different legacy in this broken Guyana.

Yours faithfully,
M Maxwell

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