Lesson 5: Wanted! Guyana’s stolen public assets recovery initiative

As part of the series on managing Guyana’s public investment regime, today’s column proposes a mechanism whereby our newly elected government could, at this unique democratic opening, embark on seeking bread (investible resources) and justice for Guyanese whose national wealth has been rapaciously plundered in recent years.

More on the $313bilion (US$1.5 billion) hustle and the democratic dividend awaiting Guyana

Introduction I was caught completely off-guard at the depth of the consternation and disbelief expressed by quite a few readers who responded to the estimates that I had provided of the amount of money Guyana loses due to three corrupt practices (public procurement fraud; illicit capital flight; and the underground economy) in last week’s column ($313billion or about US$1.5billion).

Lesson 4: The ABC of measuring the onerous affliction of fraud on Guyana’s public investment programme

Guyana and the Wider World

Introduction After some introductory material, the lessons dealt with so far in this series on the management of Guyana’s public investment regime have concentrated on: 1) the “basic steps” needed to establish an adequately functioning organization of this regime and 2) the types of failures and weaknesses displayed in public projects during the 2000s.

PetroCaribe and the affliction of ‘pathological altruism’

Introduction Today’s column, along with next week’s will concentrate on 1) an evaluation of the role the PetroCaribe initiative has been playing in the region’s regime of crude oil importation, since its establishment in 2005, and 2) an assessment of the near-to-medium prospects of this initiative, with special reference to Guyana’s membership.

PetroCaribe: The way to hell is paved with good intentions

Introduction: Lifeline or noose   I shall outline the key details of the Venezuela PetroCaribe initiative in the next section of this column but upfront I wish to categorically assert that Guyana along with other members of this initiative have benefited greatly from it since its establishment in 2005 and for sure right up to the middle of 2014.

Guyana then and now: Small, poor, open and trade-dependent

Then and now Sadly, as we approach Republic Day 2015, and after about half a century of independence, the classic description of the Guyana colonial economy as very small (even micro by global standards), poor, highly open, and exceptionally dependent on trade in primary commodities remains as broadly accurate today as it was back then.

Beyond the criminal state: The dynamics of state terrorism and looting national resources Part 3

So far Parts 1 & 2 of this four-part series of columns have argued that the proximate or immediately precipitating factor driving the multifaceted crises which have emerged in Guyana today, stems from the unprecedented torrent of financial lawlessness, abuses and irregularities unleashed by the minority PPP/C executive, which came into office following the November 2011 national elections.

Beyond the criminal state: The dynamics of state terrorism and looting national resources

Part2   Introduction   Last week, in Part 1 of this four-part series of columns I had argued that the proximate or immediately preceding factor driving the several ongoing crises and threatening contradictions in Guyana (starkly symbolized in the presidential prorogation of the National Assembly on November 10, 2014) has been the uncontrolled torrent of financial abuses, irregularities, and lawlessness perpetrated by the PPP/C executive since the November 2011 elections.

Inequality in Guyana: Insights from Piketty’s Capital in the 21st century

Introduction Last week’s column sought to make it very clear that, in my view, Guyana’s burgeoning inequality and poverty are the direct products of decisions and collective choices made by the ruling cabal of politicians, controllers of criminal networks, economic and financial rogues, and other marauders, who as I have indicated, consider themselves not only ‘too big to jail’ but also destined by the gods to rule Guyana.

Guyana: More on Growth, Poverty, Jobs, Inequality and the Minimum Wage

Introduction   Over the past two weeks I have been displaying a Table that I had specifically constructed for this series indicating: 1) the annual public sector nominal minimum wage increases announced by government for the years 2006 to 2013.When these are adjusted for annual price increases (inflation) it is revealed these increases had only grown annually by about one percent on average.

The Minimum Wage, Trade Unions and Guyana’s Fight against Surging Inequality and Poverty

Introduction   To be brutally frank upfront, without 1) strong independent trade unions pushing for national real minimum wage increases, the payment of living wages and the provision of substantial job programmes 2) a considerable strengthening of class-based ideology and politics among political actors and worker representatives 3) rising public awareness and consciousness (fuelled by public advocacy arising from evidence- based analyses), the struggle against grinding inequality and poverty in Guyana is as good as lost.

Basic needs and poverty as deprivation

Challenges My last column noted that poverty measures based on income/consumption surveys, like the previously considered World Bank 1992, UNDP1999, and the HIES 2006 surveys have been seriously challenged by several analysts.

Internal population shifts Census 2012

Biggest challenges Thus far, discussion of the 2012 Preliminary Census has focussed on 1) the population decline over the intercensal period 2002-2012; 2) the effect of outward migration; 3) estimating what the population might have been if it were not for item 2; and 4) making the inference, based on the preliminary data that high levels of brain drain (observed in previous intercensal periods) persisted.

Guyana’s recent population bombshell

Introduction The Bureau of Statistics’ (BoS) Preliminary Population and Housing Census Report for 2012 announced a decline in the population from 751,223 persons at the 2002 Census to 747,884 persons.