The use of body language to understand the personalities, motivations, and intentions of individuals has become something of a science in today’s world. The Federal Bureau of Intelligence’s National Academy, for example, has been providing training in the evaluation of non-verbal behaviour, or body language, among its mix of investigative techniques for interrogating suspects for a few years now.
In economics, everyone, from individuals to businesses to governments, reveals their preferences, or choices, when faced with alternatives. Correctly determining these preferences involves not only listening to what they say, but also what they do. This framework of analysis is necessary for understanding Guyana’s economic and political problems. The latter have for the most part been documented in the press.
I have previously observed that Guyana’s problems and devising an appropriate strategy to chart Guyana’s future involves placing these problems within some manageable context, and I suggested that Guyana’s social and economic problems be examined historically to keep track of the progress achieved. I wish to further remind us that our problems are transitory. Regardless of strongly held positions, consideration and compromise have to be extended to move Guyana forward.
The coalition for itself, has left many if not all of its supporters dumbfounded, if not embarrassed, at some of the policy stances it has adopted since 2015. One of its more confounding positions was that it did not object to the trampling of the lives of the Stabroek Market vendors by the M&CC, when their major stakeholder, the PNCR, was largely responsible for people forsaking their jobs in the eighties to become vendors and hucksters as a result of the government’s inane policies at the time. An obvious explanation for the coalition’s stance would be that it did not understand the part it played in having the Stabroek Market vendors there in the first place.
The administration has also made an about turn on its commitment to job creation on the campaign trail. This drastic shift on one of its principal policy commitments, the adoption of welfare-retarding policies such as the application of VAT on basic items, and the administration’s stand-off with Guyana’s business community hint at the severity of the problems with the coalition’s policy framework.
Further, elements within the PNC still embrace some of Burnham’s socialist-style ideas of development. The coalition’s own revealed policy preferences in respect of its disregard for the business community, which owns and controls billions of dollars in Guyana’s physical and financial capital, suggest that the coalition is very much influenced by the thinking in Congress Place intent on seeking to have Burnham’s control systems back at the centre of Guyana’s national policy framework.
The administration’s commitment to continue in the PPP’s path of wrongdoing was revealed with the bond storage affair in which $450 million was to be paid over a three-year period for bond space for drugs in just its first year of office. Its elitist cronyism, similar to what obtained under the PPP, is evidenced with the securing of Burnham’s son-in-law as the chief executive officer of Guyana Water Inc within the first six months of the coalition’s installation, and President Granger’s son-in-law as the Minister of Business.
Moving Guyana forward requires focus in about three areas. First, having the PPP back in power in 2020 gives it the mandate to continue with its lawlessness and corrupt policies. The supporters of the PPP therefore need to be provided an alternative to the PPP.
Secondly, both the rice farmers and sugar workers, typically PPP supporters, must know and understand that the PPP has handed them a raw deal over the last decade of their term by allowing GuySuCo to collapse to its current state in the first instance, and having rice farmers undermined through underpayment for their produce as a result of considerations which were allowed to overrun effective administration of the major rice management institutions. They need to reject the PPP and marshal their resources to produce a viable alternative.
To move Guyana forward we must understand that the coalition administration and the PPP have failed us by not providing solutions to our political and economic problems. We have seen the results of their policies founded on lies, cronyism and corruption. They have both shown that they lack the skills necessary to manage Guyana’s economy and govern an intelligent population. The replacement of one by the other yields the same or worse results. I suggest that the solution to our political problems is the emergence of new political leaders and parties. If we are unable to produce these, we could well write off the next five to fifteen years and consign Guyana to the economic dustbin.