Whenever Donald Ramotar opens his mouth it leads to disappointment, since all we are hearing from him is sound-bytes with limited policy substance. I will be the first to admit satisfactory progress was made under the PPP like the Berbice Bridge (Cheddi Jagan‘s idea), debt reduction (Carl Greenidge/ Asgar Ally‘s conception), and yes, there is new road and some new hospitals and the distribution of thousands of house lots and new schools (all part of Cheddi Jagan‘s 20% social compact with the people).
But what is the purpose of a government if not to build new bridges, new schools, new hospitals and to give back to the owners of the lands, some of their lands for housing? This is not progress; this is fulfilling the duty of a government to its people. All governments build new bridges, new schools, new hospitals, so the PPP’s actions under the present leadership are nothing special.
Progress is when you go beyond the call of duty and make a difference in people’s lives, like healing the nation with programmes geared at social cohesion (remember Nelson Mandela), not deceitful messages in the bottom houses like “a vote against the PPP is a vote for the PNC.”
Progress is when a government changes the constitution to work for the people rather than maintain Burnham’s dictatorial constitution for the ruling cabal’s benefit. Progress is when a president actively cuts corruption and then offers the corruption dividends to the people just as the AFC will be offering a 20% salary increase across the board to all civil servants. Progress is when you look the pensioners in the eyes and tell them, $7,500 is not good enough and you do something tangible about it just as the AFC will be increasing pensions by some 50% come 2012 once the people elect them.
So Mr Ramotar should not tell me about progress; he and his cabal have failed Cheddi Jagan.
Mr Ramotar said the party is trying to equip people to face the modern world, and that the new workforce of the future must be multi-disciplined.
But the evidence from the Ramotar camp is very different from the words. In Guyana we may have one laptop in every home, but what use is that when the mothers of Guyana continue to struggle to feed their families forcing them in some cases to settle for a small sum as compensation money after their under-age daughter has been raped?
Further, before you can get a work force that is multi-disciplined, they first have to go to school and earn the required skills. Yet under this government, the children in the “land of the mighty Roraima” are being promoted even if they fail their exams under the famous ‘no child left behind‘ PPP programme.
All this policy does is expand the army of functional illiterates and does nothing to equip our people to be multi-disciplined.
In Guyana today in the fourteen years since Mr Ramotar became PPP General Secretary, we have an expanded army of high school graduates who cannot even write a proper letter or do basic mathematics. Is this the progress he is talking about?
They have reduced their campaign to a wine and grind session to fool the people. It is clear as crystal that there is a struggle in Guyana between the exploiters and the exploited; between the PPP landlords and the Guyanese masses who are the tenants in their own home.
This injustice must stop and greater transparency must be brought to all transactions involving land. We in the Alliance for Change are preaching a message of “class cooperation” so that all of our Guyanese people can benefit from the sweat and blood of the nation in a fair, merit-based and transparent manner. Such a policy is progress.
One should not get a salary of US$8,000 per month because one’s father is a big one in the PPP, but on the criteria of merit, the right skills set and the right experience. Would Cheddi Jagan have made Joey Jagan the Minister of Health just because he was his son? Never! Never!
The Ramotar cabal has hijacked Guyana and hijacked the PPP, but they are in for a shocker; too many people have suffered for too long under this government. The people have to decide: do they want another five years of this maladministration or do they want change? I know what the thousands of young people whom I spoke to want – Change!
In closing, the PPP is an organization with a rich history of struggle for the working class.
The party, however, has been hijacked by an oppressive group and thus the PPP is no longer the PPP of Cheddi Jagan.
When we all come to accept this fact then we will all make the right turn and do the right thing.