Nothing but hot air and a pander to supporters
Unless the IDB intimated to President Donald Ramotar it was worried about the impact of the Budget cuts on the Amaila Falls Hydro-Electric project (AFHEP), then your news article, “Ramotar worried about IDB’s outlook on Budget cuts,” (May 3), appears to be a propaganda piece by the President aimed at making the PPP support base believe the parliamentary opposition is against the AFHEP or development in general.
Let records show that despite the regime’s constant carping about LCDS being somehow tied into the AFHEP, we see no direct financial sourcing linking the two. So this talk about ‘impact of the cut in the Budget on Guyana’s equity the (AFHEP)’ is pure balderdash!
LCDS started out in earnest following a report from the New York-based McKinsey consultancy group that Guyana could reap US$580M a year. That did not materialize. Then Guyana signed an MOU with Norway for that country to pay us US$250M over five years, as part of LCDS. And contrary to dubious reports, that also has not materialized.
To me, LCDS should be DOA, but for government hooking it up to a life support machine called public funding.
AFHEP, on the other hand, started out with an estimated construction cost of about US$450M and has ballooned ever since to US$840M without a single brick being laid. After much bickering between the government and the IDB seemed to put the brakes on the project, then President Bharrat Jagdeo went to China in 2010 and signed for a loan reportedly worth US$500M towards the AFHEP.
This is May 2012 and no work has started on the project itself. The IDB, which is still studying the feasibility of the project, is being asked to pony up US$175M for the AFHEP, while Sithe Global is expected to come up with US$152M and the Guyana Government is to fork over US$100M for the AFHEP.
So there you have two separate projects with two separate sources of financing and the President is peddling unfounded fears about what the IDB would think or say about the Budget cuts that have nothing to do with the AFHEP! But the unfounded and baseless fears have a purpose: to send a message to the PPP support base that the parliamentary opposition is against development, so if there ever are snap elections, the support base has a reason to come out and vote PPP.
I don’t care how much President Ramotar is being promoted as a breath of fresh air or as peachy clean (corruption-free) when compared to President Jagdeo, the truth of the matter is that he has not really distinguished himself as different from or better than his predecessor when it comes to winning public confidence in his astute leadership of a racially divided nation seeking to change the way government does business.
Can you imagine a PPP operative, Ms. Bibi Shadick, going into West Coast Berbice and telling PPP supporters to get ready for snap elections that could happen at a moment’s notice? If not for purely racial pandering reasons, why didn’t she do the same thing in Georgetown or Linden? And she couldn’t have done this without the President’s knowledge!
Kaieteur News has been leading the media charge exposing the PPP regime for myriad types of corruption, most of it of a serious criminal nature, and for this reason I want to encourage KN to help separate propaganda from principle in the news.
I read Mr. Adam Harris’s current column, “The Budget cuts will not have the proclaimed impact,” and I agree with the tenor of his contention, which is why I do find the President’s politically-inspired concerns about the IDB’s take on the cuts curiously disturbing.
Of the $21B cut from the proposed $192B Budget, some $18B was cut from the LCDS, a project that is supposed to generate financing from overseas and managed by the Office of Climate Change located in Office of the President. But besides establishing that there is no real financial link between LCDS and AFHEP, I would like KN to help shed light on how many persons actually work on LCDS and what each earns per month, just to determine how many jobs will be lost, and at what labour cost, as a result of this $18B cut to LCDS.
Second, I would like KN to help the public determine what LCDS-related projects and programmes the government spent $14B on last year, because that money was allocated in the 2011 Budget in anticipation of the US$70M from Norway being released to Guyana and it was not released.
It can now be argued that because of this failure to replenish the treasury with the $14B spent and also because of a lack of full accountability on what the $14B was spent on last year, that the parliamentary opposition refused to approve the government’s request for a fresh $18B in this year’s Budget, with no assurances of foreign monies coming in this year for LCDS.
Keep up the good work!