I was hoping that the New Year would bring changes for the betterment of Guyana, but it seems far from that. My family and I usually wake up until midnight to welcome the New Year, but ten minutes before the clock struck 12, we were greeted with a big blackout. Anna Regina’s two Wartsila engines went down, and the whole Essequibo Coast was plunged into darkness. Then there was an outburst of firecrackers all over the place for about one hour, and animals, babies, the sick, and the elderly went mad with the deafening sounds. As if this wasn’t enough, another blackout greeted us again in the morning.
It is prudent to draw your attention to the recent revelation by petrol station dealers that Guyoil, a state-owned entity, has raised prices and is not playing a crucial role in keeping fuel prices down. The dealers and vehicle owners are calling on the government to reintroduce price controls, since higher prices are an additional burden on vehicle owners, including those who run hire cars, which have to transport passengers among whom are schoolchildren. There will definitely be an increase in fares, and I mean a hefty one for passengers coming out from Tapakuma, Mainstay Lake and Lima Sands. This will affect the ordinary man and woman who depend on a pension and those who do not have a job.
An increase in fuel and kerosene prices, not only affect the poor but also salaried employees in both the public and private sectors. Essequibo, which is primarily a rice-growing region, is going to be hit hard because for the past year the farmers were struggling to make ends meet and send their children to school owing to the low prices and high costs of production for their paddy. This means that there will be more school drop-outs in the region.
On the third day of the New Year, there was a shake-up at the Ministry of Health, and Minister Volda Lawrence will be replacing Dr George Norton, who I guess is being moved because of his many blunders and the drug bond matter. In any good government he would have been sent packing, since within just two years he has brought shame on the new coalition government with scandal after scandal. Worst of all he blatantly lied to parliament about the storage bond.