On May 16, 2015, David Granger was sworn in as Guyana’s eighth President. That is four years ago. He rose to that high office through a long and sustained media campaign against the PPP/Civic administration. It was, without doubt, a very effective exercise of massive disinformation.
The main thrust of that onslaught was the charge of corruption. The PPP/C regime was attacked viciously on the ground. As I have said often before and after the 2015 elections, I will not doubt that there was some corruption during the PPP/C time in government, however, it was never near to any level that the PNC-led APNU and AFC painted.
Indeed, so skillful was the manipulation of the ‘news’ now given a better name by US President Donald Trump, as ‘fake news’ that many people believed it. Every single act of corruption by any officer of the administration, whether that person supported the PPP/C or not, was blamed on the PPP/C.
So massive was the campaign that it appears that many in the leadership of APNU and AFC believed their own lies. That is why as soon as they took the reins they began forensic audits. Those audits have served to show that that campaign was nothing more than a massive slander campaign without any real substance. They wasted hundreds of millions on this.
As far as governance is concerned, Guyana has never experienced such poor management in its national life as today.
From the moment the regime took power the APNU and AFC big boys and girls began a massive money-grab. Their very first project, the D’Urban Park, was firstly totally unnecessary. We have the National Park which, for a long time, has been the venue for national events.
The D’Urban Park Project became a milking cow involving many senior PNC/APNU and AFC personnel. Billions are not properly accounted for and money continues to be poured into it for maintenance, etc. It now stands out as a monument to PNC/APNU/AFC corruption.
The Ministry of Public Health has taken a prominent place in the corruption drive. The Drug Bond where millions went into the pocket of a known PNC supporter who rented a facility to this regime, cost the regime approximately fourteen million on average per month.
Hundreds of millions of dollars in the procurement of drugs and other items were handed out to friends without any public tender. One man in New York who has no history in procurement of pharmaceuticals was given a huge contract on the excuse of emergency. Yet in almost a year the goods were not delivered, but the money paid.
The haemorrhage of funds that began with this regime has been going on four years at the airport. That project which started as a turnkey project for a new airport building, has been downgraded by the regime. Millions continue to be poured into that project but we will get an inferior product, a refurbished airport building.
In the meantime, our infrastructure has begun to deteriorate. Blackouts are becoming more frequent, making those of us who lived through the period in the 1970s to 1992 very nervous.
Had this regime had the commonsense to continue the Amaila Falls Hydro Project we would have been getting electricity from that facility at this time.
That would have been a huge stimulus to manufacturing and consumers would have had cheap electricity, paying about 60% of what they pay now.
The only reason for abandoning that project was because it was started by the PPP/C government.
The pettiness, coupled with vindictiveness, is costing us very dearly. That is most glaring in the regime’s attitude to sugar.
The regime, against the recommendations of its own Committee which they set up to examine the sugar industry, has begun the process of closing estates. More than seven thousand sugar workers have been dismissed.
Small villages like Cara Cara which was experiencing a revival have now been tossed backwards.
Those managing the economy seem clueless at best. In the face of an economy in decline the regime has been raising taxes on every sector. Small and medium scale miners and farmers had duty-free concessions on machinery and equipment removed. That has forced many out of business and added to the growing army of unemployed.
Even when the regime reduced tax it was done in a fraudulent way. After being in power for more than a year they reluctantly reduced the VAT by 2%, from the 16% to 14%.
In passing we can recall during the elections campaign in 2015 they promised, among other unfulfilled things, to reduce VAT to 10%.
Instead of reduction, they introduced VAT on more than one hundred essential items, including foodstuff, educational and medical materials. The regime is now collecting far more from VAT due to that assault on the working people’s income than it did when it was 16%.
In the sphere of politics, the regime’s tendency is authoritarian. We see this by how they continue to violate our Constitution and their total disregard for professionalism.
The latest is the attack on GECOM’s lawyer who advised them of their constitutional responsibilities in relation to elections. She was subjected to great abuse.
This is not just an attack on her but on professionalism as a whole. The regime has been subverting all those bodies.
A case in which Guyana is becoming a laughing stock is the No Confidence Motion passed in the National Assembly on December 21, 2018. Millions and millions are being spent to prove that 33 is not a majority of 65. They neither care about wasting money nor the image of our country. All they care about is personal power and giving themselves a ‘good life’ never mind it is a corrupt life.
In the meantime, crime has spiraled out of control and people are much more insecure than ever.
The small business people and working people are the main victims. Those that do not have the means of protecting themselves.
It is obvious that this regime does not care for the security of the people. It is more interested in control to get pliant persons to carry out their political diktats.
Clearly the last four years experienced great reversals in our democratic life.