Beyond GDP

By Joseph E. Stiglitz INCHEON – Just under ten years ago, the International Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress issued its report, Mismeasuring Our Lives: Why GDP Doesn’t Add Up.

Cuban doctors in Brazil file lawsuit claiming U.N. agency made US$75 million from “slave trade.” If true, it’s criminal

The scandal surrounding the 15,000 Cuban doctors who have been working as virtual slaves in Brazil is growing: Some of them filed a lawsuit in Miami against the Washington-based Pan American Health Organization (PAHO.) The lawsuit, filed Friday, claims that the regional health organization not only supervised the programme, but pocketed US$75 million of its funds.

Focus on Guyana’s National Budget 2019

Focus on Guyana’s National Budget 2019 represents the twenty-ninth edition of this Ram & McRae annual publication which highlights, reviews and comments on the major issues surrounding and raised in the National Budget.


Budget Speech 2019, the fourth presented by the current Administration, lasted approximately four and one half hours, testing the stamina not only of the Minister of Finance but the membership of the National Assembly and his audience.


In this section, we set out, without analysis or comments, the key takeaways from the Minister’s review of 2018 and his projections for 2019.      

Review 2018

In this section, we summarise, review and comment on the economic and financial performance of the Government for the still incomplete 2018 year.

2019 Policy Issues and Targets

Targets Overall real growth is projected at 4.6% in 2019. The following graph presents the percentage of contribution to GDP at 2006 prices by various sectors:Source: Estimates of the Public Sector The primary industry groups are addressed separately below.

Subverting Democracy and Dark Money

It is an often repeated story that a prominent businessman donated the sum of one hundred million dollars to the 2015 elections war chest of the Coalition.

Who Gets What in 2019

Analysis of expenditure Introduction Properly executed, the Policies and Targets are reflected in the allocation of available funds via the various Ministries and other Budget Agencies.

Upturning the VAT

Widely regarded as an invention of Continental Europe, and its paternity in 1954 attributed to France, VAT is an indirect tax collected mainly by businesses but borne by consumers.

Budget 2019 Measures

In this section we consider the measures announced by the Minister, analyse them, evaluate their impact and discuss the extent to which they provide useful economic benefits to stakeholders.


The annual drumbeat of bigger Budgets has appeared to have some inherent virtue.

Shouldn’t we grieve for Georgetown? I do

Mother 33, daughter 15

Have a “cautious” Christmas (Again, I leave Crime, Corruption, Cricket, Traffic Accidents, LGE and the Budget to others.) Instead, the recent City Hall Inquiry, the now-usual threat by the main Garbage Collectors to withdraw and the now-evident chaotic Vendor-Invasion, all combined to prompt the following heart-felt lament.

Fighting for identity

When director David Mackenzie’s kinetic, bloody war epic “Outlaw King” landed the prime opening night spot at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in September, it seemed to signal great things for Netflix and for Mackenzie, whose previous work, “Hell or High Water,” was a critical hit a couple years ago.

London Fix has outlasted its time

Guyana Gold Board happenings

(Editor’s note: Stabroek News has agreed to carry occasional columns from the Guyana Gold Board on matters of public interest.

The song of the wind

With no television around, and none in sight, for decades, even remotely, in the south Georgetown backstreets I and my varied pals haunted, we children regularly begged adults to relate scary “stories.” Experiencing another prolonged blackout, books few and nearly impossible to read against the thin, tired flame of a slumping paraffin candle, we would remember the expensive batteries being forever too low to power the sputtering Radio Demerara.

Low voter turnout in local elections

Generally, there is high voter turnout at elections where the results matter. Unfortunately, in most countries people do not see local elections as particularly important and thus voter turnout is usually lower than at national elections.

Stylish crimes

Steve McQueen’s “Widows” premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in September as the much-hyped and much-anticipated follow-up to his Oscar winning “12 Years A Slave”, from 2013.

Soul Funeral

There are many cultures where the dead are celebrated. Many Guyanese celebrate Halloween, but some may not know the origins.