The officials of the German penal system have acknowledged that the reason for allowing murderers and other extreme anti-social criminals to live quite normal lives, which includes access to television, books, etc, is that they recognize that man’s behaviour is to a very large extent influenced by his environment. As such, the crimes committed by these offenders were a result of societal conditioning.
I could credit them with influencing my own thoughts on this subject, as I have come to the conclusion that man is first an animal. He is then given education and religion and conditioned in order to exist in society. Behaviours expected of him are therefore largely influenced by society’s norms, but sometimes much more so by his immediate environment.
A quick check of any economics textbook would show that one of the major responsibilities of governments, even in socialist economies, is to adopt policies which support job creation and livable incomes. One of the obvious reasons for this is the maintenance of societal stability, or an environment where citizens can adequately provide for themselves and their families without recourse to anti-social behaviours which seek to extract such means of existence.
The existing and more sophisticated illegal forms of income generation along with the recent surge in robberies therefore require little explanation, as successive administrations of the former government consistently maintained an oppressive incomes policy, and the current PNC-led coalition, continuing along with this policy, has further established it is not its responsibility to provide jobs for citizens. As a quick reminder, President Granger had advocated that we all become entrepreneurs.
Recent attempts to address security are a weak public relations gimmick, as it should be clear that the coalition’s policies have very likely stimulated the upsurge in robberies. African Guyanese youths become the fall guys in a political system intent on victimizing them as part of government’s wider policy of economic control, while ministers enjoy their salaries and their CoI buddies get bountiful handouts. It would seem obvious to move in the direction of creating more jobs and better incomes for citizens, but one would imagine that a satisfied and educated population is immensely more difficult to govern because then incidents of corruption and incompetence would be more easily exposed.
As we continue to search for common ground against the clearly anti-welfare policies of the coalition administration, we could do well to look abroad today. Although there is much about which to fault America’s President Donald Trump, the one thing Americans can salute him for is his America First policy. We could consider the adoption of a Guyana First policy, where our main focus is increasing our national wealth and the incomes of our citizens. Ask the woman selling egg-balls, puri and pickled mango, or the youths selling on the corner what they’re doing, and they’ll tell you they are hustling, trying to make a dollar. It’s all about the money. Apparently the coalition hasn’t realized it has a country to run and citizens’ welfare issues to address. Guyanese have to start asking the coalition, “Where’s the money?” We also have to ask them, “What are you doing for me today?”
GAWU has on more than one occasion pointed out that the administration’s non-payment of sugar workers’ severance benefits is unlawful. Yet the coalition continues to break the law and disregard the sugar workers’ union and the welfare of sugar workers. The decision to withhold sugar workers’ severance is an act of
economic oppression. The recent move to seize lands of distressed rice farmers without consultation constitutes an act of economic oppression. The continued denial of public sector workers their demands for a living wage constitutes an act of economic oppression. The coalition is guilty of all of these.
The Minister of State’s recent confirmation of the apparent finality of the Exxon agreement should emphasize to everyone this government is hardly concerned with the welfare of Guyanese as it wilfully proceeds to forfeit potentially hundreds of millions of United States dollars in revenues, if lost tax revenues are considered, under the existing contracts. The arrogance of this position demonstrates the now authoritarian stance of the coalition. The administration considers itself unaccountable for its actions.
This stiffed-neck attitude is not unsurprising, and was one of the reasons the coalition was engineered to include the AFC. It took less than three years to dislodge the PPP which had been in power for close to twenty-three years. It should be much easier to form a new government to get rid what is clearly an incapacitated administration in its less than three years’ existence. Let us look forward to and create the dawn of a new era.