The World Bank says that there will be global gloom in 2009. It says the world may be facing a deep recession. It predicts a drastic reduction in growth rates for all types of countries. While the Bank issued its bad news, the United Nations was ready to chip in with more bad news. The UN reports that the world economy will suffer its first retraction since the Great Depression (which began in 1929).
The Government of Guyana thinks that this country will be the only state to be exempted from the gloom and doom that is about to dawn on the world’s six billion people. The Guyana Government has put in a bid to host the ICC’s international 20/20 cricket competition. Just in case you didn’t know; this is the 20/20 equivalent to the ICC’s World Cup. The two richest Caricom nations have opted out.
There is no need to compare Guyana’s economy with its two sister partners of Jamaica and Trinidad. That is like comparing a 90-year-old double amputee’s bowling with Muralitharan’s. Jamaica and Trinidad are beyond comparison with Guyana in terms of both GNP and GDP.
The two Prime Ministers have chosen not to participate in the 20/20 tournament because they have learnt the lessons of World Cup 2007. The West Indian nations did not make any reasonable profit. The expenditure was a burden on the Caricom economy.
In the midst of a world recession, the poorest country in the Caribbean integration movement and one of the eleven poorest in the world has chosen to spend scare money on hosting another international sporting event. It is not only symptomatic of the reckless leadership we have in this country but it is testimony to the tragedy that has befallen Guyana under the PNC and the PPP.
People must see the 20/20 scandal (for want of a better description given the state of Guyana’s economy) as part of the perennial dilemma that Guyana has had to live with under the PPP with Jagan in the sixties, the PNC under Burnham from the late sixties until 1985 and now the PPP under Jagdeo. It is the shameless sacrifice of a country on the altar of political domination. Only two bright moments stand out – the coalition government with Peter D’Aguiar and Hoyte’s interregnum from 1987 to 1992.
This decision to host 20/20 international cricket comes three months after our President in a public forum admitted to our Nobel Laureate, Derek Walcott that Guyana is a poor country that has to weigh spending on the arts and literature and building a bridge. He said that the country’s economy would dictate that the bridge is chosen.
This poor country’s Government went begging the then Prime Minister Tony Blair to save the Sugar Protocol but saw it fit to spend dozens and dozens of millions of dollars on the Rio Summit which has done absolutely nothing to help us save the Sugar Protocol or to intervene to help President Jagdeo with his anti-EPA campaign.
This poor country’s administration spent dozens and dozens of millions of dollars to host the Commonwealth Finance Ministers’ Summit which has done nothing to help Guyana save the Sugar Protocol or even attempted to assist President Jagdeo with his EPA campaign.
Neither the Rio Summit Secretariat nor the Commonwealth Secretariat commented on Mr. Jagdeo’s EPA concerns. This is how far Guyana’s post-colonial degradation has come. And the culprits are not our colonial masters but our post-colonial monarchs. Remember Mr. Burnham rode on horseback sharing out cassava sticks and Bristol cigarettes. The recklessness, madness and perversity continue.
When you count up how much we spent on the Rio Summit, Commonwealth Finance Ministers’ Meeting, Cricket World Cup, Carifesta and now the budget for the ICC’s 20/20 competition, the sum is enormous.
There is nothing wrong with that. Countries must spend money on all sorts of international events. That is a normal function of government. But each nation’s leadership must decide whether the country’s priorities could afford such stupendous sums.
In Guyana, a five-year-old kindergarten student could answer that question. We don’t have regular electricity; huge parts of Guyana do not have access to drinking water; our traffic lights do not work; the city’s sewage system is ancient and has collapsed in many parts of the city, including the High Court of Judicature (what a laughable irony); the capital of Guyana is a nauseating sight with fetid matter lining the entire core of the capital.
Many high schools do not have furniture. Our only university is moribund. This is Guyana! Despite what the new colonials would like their supporters to believe, this is Guyana under their rule the past sixteen years.
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