2012 – a year of mixed impressions
A new year has dawned and many people would have made resolutions certainly promising themselves to do something that they had not done during the year just completed. Others would be striving to improve their lot while recognizing that they would have not made the best use of the time during the just concluded year.
Everyone expects more and some will achieve that extra that they crave but there are those who, come this time next year, would again be hoping for improvements and making resolutions.
But we need to look back because without knowing the mistakes of past one would make a hash of the future by repeating them. Some of the expectations would have been political. For the first time in the history of the country there was a minority government. This meant that there would no longer be the almost unilateral passage of those things in which the government was interested and the rejection of those things proposed by the opposition on the say so of the government.
The diplomatic community thought that given the fractious nature of the society the minority government was the best thing that could have happened at this time. Sadly, one year later he nation is still to see the government and the opposition world for the better of the country.
Here were other expectations. One of them had to do with the Cabinet. The former President Bharrat Jagdeo had done much for the economy. He had secured the Norway deal that afforded US$250 million for its standing forests. However, there were aspects of his tenure that left the nation reeling.
Allegations of corruption became rampant. For the first time people who would normally shun criticisms of the government began to make their voices heard. In some cases people presented the administration with hard evidence but they got no reaction. No one was ever prosecuted although some of those who sought to defraud the public treasury were hauled before the courts. However, the matter simply fell off the radar because for some reason the state simply could not proceed.
The allegations and the perception of corruption is said to have caused even die hard supporters of the ruling party to refrain from casting their vote. The result is Guyana’s first minority government. But there were also some good things. For example the government undertook some large investments designed to take the country along the path of most developed countries.
Hydropower, long recognized as the cleanest form of electric power and the most renewable is still to come on stream but the pursuit of this development is ongoing. President Donald Ramotar stepped in to terminate the contract of Makeshwar ‘Fip’ Motilall because the hydro road project proved to be beyond his reach.
Four extensions to the deadline and the road is still to be completed. Even the signing of the financial package is still to be completed months after the anticipated signing last August.
Equally significant is the move to extend the runway at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport to accommodate any aircraft. The length of the runway was a problem; no pilot could make a mistake in landing. That is going to be a thing of the past.
Even the terminal which had become too small for the volume of traffic in and out of the country is to be expanded and brought in line with modern airports. There is money in the airport project because more flights will be heading Guyana’s way. And with more flights come more visitors. Further, the development would consolidate this country’s position as the bridge to South America.
But it was the high price of gold that really stimulated the economy. For the first time in decades pork and beef were in short supply. The miners were simply buying everything—there are about 50,000 foreigners in the goldfields.
With the booming gold industry came the rapid transformation of the city. More businesses opened up in ultra modern facilities; cars are also becoming as commonplace as bicycles to the point that the government is now forced to undertake road expansion programmes.
Surely Guyana is taking off. It is left to be seen if this pace of development would continue in 2013.