God Bless America! There may still be hope for Guyana with Uncle Sam taking an interest in the rule of law, accountability and transparency.
I hope those in the Guyana Government who understand diplomacy and how foreign governments signal their concerns would take note of the recent statements by the United States ambassador on the rule of law, transparency and accountability.
I hope the Government of Guyana does not deceive itself into believing that the ambassador’s comments are limited solely to the use of the funds available under the Millennium Challenge Account.
I hope the Guyana Government functionaries read between the lines and understand clearly where Uncle Sam is coming from.
I hope the Government understands that Uncle Sam is not just watching certain indicators, such as the fiscal deficit and how long it takes to start up a business.
Some persons have questioned how the President arrived at the conclusion that it takes eight days to start up a business in Guyana. I do not know where the President got this ‘eight days’ from, but I can start up a business in Guyana in less than eight days.
In fact, I can start up a business in one day. Believe me. A great many Guyanese are now starting up businesses in one day.
We did it in the 1980’s under Burnham, and people are doing it again. All you need is a cardboard tray and some funds to go down to Beharry to purchase some chewing gum and mints for resale, and you have a street-side business going in one day.
If food is your business, all you have to do is cook some egg and cassava balls, toss up some dhall puri and roti, place these in a basket and go around by the hospital and make a sale.
You do not need eight days for these things, and you are going to make more money selling these things than if you had to open a business to sell clothing.
I am sure that the United States knows what is going on in Guyana. I am sure the staff of the embassy drives around the city, and when they stop at the traffic lights they encounter the fastest growing business in Guyana — begging.
By the time your vehicle stops at the traffic lights, someone is there at the driver’s side begging for a raise. All over Guyana, people beg for a raise.
I guess they are taking inspiration from the Government, which loves to beg. The Government of Guyana is into what I call freeconomics. Once funds are being given away free, Guyana will jump on board.
A case in point is the Millennium Challenge Account. This is a grant facility, which means the funds given do not have to be repaid. Well, once there is freeness, Guyana will be right there with its begging bowl.
The United States, however, is watching what is going on, and its funds will come with strings attached. I will deal with this program in a subsequent article; but, for the time being, I wish to caution the Government of Guyana to understand clearly that it has to get its act together, because when Uncle Sam speaks, he expects a response.
Uncle Sam is watching Guyana closely, methinks. Uncle Sam is following the torture allegations. When Uncle Sam mentions rule of law, it includes the treatment of detained prisoners, methinks. When Uncle Sam speaks about accountability and transparency, it knows what it is thinking about.
Uncle Sam is watching what is going on right now in Guyana. A few years ago, it used its visa policy to great effect in ensuring that Guyana did what the U.S. expected.
I believe that it will use that policy again, if needs be, to ensure that the rule of law, accountability and transparency are respected, not just to ensure a stable economy, but also to safeguard U.S. national security interests.
For, as we know, when the rule of law, transparency and accountability are affected, it leads to the creation of a chaotic environment, which in turn breeds further bad practices, which in turn allows for the penetration and infiltration into the Government of a great many rotten eggs.
To be continued.
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