Contrary to President’s statement, PPP did much for economy

Dear Editor,

Since 2015, we have been  witnessing high levels of unemployment and government corruption; essential drug shortages; high cost of living; 200 more burdensome taxes; high deficits; high crime rate; broken campaign promises; a sinking economy; and the elusive “good life” that only government ministers enjoy.

While ordinary Guyanese prospered under the PPP/C prior to 2015, at least 25,000 are now jobless and unable to provide for their families.

After 3 years, the President and his cabinet are clueless, visionless, and still running the country by trial and error. 

During the 3 years of his presidency, David Granger has been accused of being aloof, living in a cocoon, totally unfamiliar with the sufferings his administration has imposed on the nation, even on his own supporters. His address to the delegates of the PNC Twentieth Biennial Congress confirms this to be true.

In his address, the Leader of the PNCR told the delegates that the situation which the coalition inherited on assuming office was worse than could have been imagined… “It was a hellish inheritance”. Granger made the same erroneous claim on Thursday, October 13, 2016 when he addressed Members of Parliament in the National Assembly. Then he said, “Your Government entered a depressing financial landscape in May 2015.”

Let’s not be fooled, Granger’s address to the delegates of the PNC Congress was not written for local consumption, it was meant for the nation. In particular, to once again fool our youths that the “PNC demonstrated its fitness to lead from the time it entered office as part of a coalition in 1964.” This is hogwash, but the lies continued. Granger proceeded to completely distort and cover-up the PNC’s dismal failure in government from 1964 to 1992 when they finally handed over a bankrupted country to the PPP/C. But don’t take my word for it, the following are excerpts from a report based on a World Bank economic mission which visited Guyana in October-November 1991. The full report can be found here: http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/840881468033639594/pdf/multi0page.pdf

The World Bank is an independent international financial institution that provides loans to countries of the world for capital projects.

Now for the excerpts:   

“Prior to 1988 (under Burnham), Guyana followed a set of economic policies characterized as “cooperative socialism.” These policies led to the domination of the public sector in the economy, and severely distorted incentives for the private sector. Existing private investments were nationalized, particularly the critical sugar and bauxite sectors, and government control extended to most financial institutions and consumer marketing. Government controls on prices, and the rationing of foreign exchange, also limited private sector activity and discouraged domestic agricultural production. While economic performance showed positive growth during the early 1970s, the collapse of sugar and bauxite prices after the boom years of 1974-75 led to a secular decline in output, large government deficits, accelerating inflation and increased reliance on external borrowings”.

“Most public sector infrastructure necessary to support the private sector has deteriorated to the point of non-existence. Power and water supplies are so erratic that many large private sector firms have invested in their own generators and water sources.

“Many of the qualified and experienced teachers have been lost to emigration and other sectors and have been replaced by unqualified staff. School buildings have not been maintained and teaching resources are extremely limited. Daily school attendance rates are low in many regions. Schools lack basic repairs, books, equipment and supplies. Employers complain that secondary school graduates lack basic skills…”

“The quality of healthcare has declined markedly over the past decade and shortages of staffing and equipment has effectively resulted in a contraction of the health services offered. Hospitals operate with most equipment not working, with no drugs to dispense, insufficient budgets for food, and the inability to carryout simple diagnostic tests, such as X-rays or blood tests…”

“The decline of the public sector is also a result of the decline in real wages. It ls estimated that real wages in the public sector are 18% below what they were in 1986, which itself was low, and are about one-third to one-fourth of that being paid in the Guyanese private sector. As a consequence, talented people at all levels have left for the private sector, or for jobs abroad, making it difficult, if not impossible, for the public sector to function effectively…”

End of quote.

Now Editor, let me compare this to what David Granger and his APNU+AFC Coalition inherited from the PPP/C in 2015:

Despite the riots and destruction by fire perpetrated by thugs after the 1992, 1997 and 2001 elections aimed at destabilization our country, the average growth rate in Guyana from 2006 to 2014 was 4.5% per annum, compared to 0% growth  in the years prior to 1992.

In 2014, the last full year of the PPP/C in office, Guyana’s GDP was US$3.1 Billion. Our Gross International Reserves held at the Bank of Guyana at the end of 2014 were US$665.6 million. The PPP/C reduced the external debt to just 39.5% of GDP, down from over 600% of GDP in 1992. At the end of 2014, the total assets held at commercial banks were $421.8 Billion. Most of it has disappeared now from government’s reckless borrow and spend policy.

When the PPP/C left office, Guyana’s Gold Reserves were $25 Billion. Now this too has rapidly declined to $1.9 Billion in 2018.

President Granger and his APNU+AFC coalition inherited more than US$500 million of resources that were already secured by the PPP/C to finance developmental projects. These included: US$30 million for China Exim Bank to construct a new airport; US$66.2 million from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to fund a road network upgrade and expansion project; US$64.6 million from the IDB and EU to fund a power utility upgrade programme; US$50 million from the India Exim Bank to fund the East Coast to East Bank bypass road; US$34.4 million from the Caribbean Development Bank to fund the West Coast Demerara highway upgrade project; US$31.7 million from the IDB and EU to fund a water and sanitation infrastructure improvement project; US$15 million from IDB for a new Citizens Security project; US$12 million from World Bank for a Flood Risk Management project; US$10 million from the World Bank for a new Secondary Education Improvement project; US$10 million from the World Bank for the University of Guyana’s Science and Technology Support project; US$7.5 million from the Caribbean Development Bank to fund a sugar industry mechanization project.

President Granger must now stop peddling untruths to the Guyanese people, and explain to the nation why there is no money left to pay sugar workers the balance of their severance and the salary increases to our hard-working teachers.

Yours faithfully,

HARRY GILL

PPP/C Member of Parliament

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