The Government leaders, their supporters and those enriched by the sixteen years of rule, constantly lament the absence of praise for State achievements. We in the media are incessantly bombarded with the accusation that we cannot find positive things to say about the work of the Government. No need to dwell on that paranoia.
It is simply not true to say that the electronic newscasts and the two dailies do not report on the great things happening here.
Over the years this corner of KN has been replete with acknowledgement of wonderful developments in our country. What the Government means is that you must praise it. Not the people who are keeping Guyana alive but it, meaning the PPP Government and the Jagdeo presidency.
No other manifestation is more graphic than a long letter last year in the KN and SN by Health Minister, Dr. Leslie Ramsammmy about his love for his country. As you read the letter, you discovered the love this man was talking about was his admiration for President Jagdeo and not the Guyanese people. There was no mention of Dr. Clem Seecharran whose recent history book on Guyana in the fifties and sixties won a huge, prestigious prize.
Why not? Because the book exposed the unsavoury side in Dr. Jagan’s career. Dr. Ramsammy said nothing about sixty years of achievement in the 80-year-old life of Dr Yesu Persaud. Not a word was said about the super-star we produced in the seventies and eighties, Eddy Grant. But according to Dr Leslie Ramsammy, our country gave us Bharrat Jagdeo.
No doubt the lackeys loved Dr Ramsammy’s letter. This is what they mean by the positive things that we, in the media should write about. So what are the admirable or outstanding or even phenomenal motifs that came out of Mr. Jagdeo’s presidency in 2008?
There is the Berbice Bridge. But there is a “but.” It was a cheap bridge that originally could not get off the ground and only became a reality when a group of business companies were literally begged to come on board. And they didn’t come in sufficient numbers. So NIS money chipped in.
What a shameful year it was for the Government of Guyana. By international standards, a US$40M water-span is a cheap thing. But even US$40 we could not raise from private ventures; the NIS had to come to the rescue. In real, hard terms then, the bridge was not an achievement in 2008.
The Berbice Bridge demonstrated in vivid ways that 2008 was a receding year for a political party that has been in power for sixteen years. A government that cannot raise US$40M from the investment world is certainly a failure.
Then we made Carifesta a reality. Well was that something special in 2008 against the fact that the more than two billion dollars spent on it could have gone into fighting the floods or helping the GPL or modernizing the horrible and pathetic billing system of GWI or fixing the non-working traffic lights?
The fanfare of Carifesta had its humiliating dimensions. Tickets for the entire event were printed in Canada. I thought we had three state-of-the art printing presses.
Then many of our artistes have not received their emoluments as yet. We paid the Canadians for the tickets but not our own performers who made Carifesta possible.
So the PPP monarchs boast of the bridge and Carifesta. Can someone come forward and identify another successful desire that was fulfilled. Yes, there is another one. Asbestos, a carcinogenic substance, was removed from the physical structure of the University of Guyana. But this too had its humiliating dimensions.
In 2008, the Environmental Protection Agency proved to be a farcical institution that revealed the mockery and nonsense Mr. Ralph Ramkarran told Berbice UG graduates in November. He assured them that they had benefitted from the legal autonomy of certain state institutions.
In no other Caribbean country, the people would have allowed asbestos to removed and be transported the way it was done last year.
All of us who criticized the PNC Government from 1968 to 1992 should be exasperated at this sordid drama last year. Security guards without protective clothing were on duty while asbestos was falling all around them. Open back Canter trucks were disposing of this dangerous chemical at the Mandela dumping site. The EPA remained unmoved.
I wonder if Mr. Ralph Ramkarran still thinks we have autonomous state institutions. Hard as one tries to find something good, the past year saw nothing phenomenal in the use of power by the Government of Guyana.
In 2008, Caricom began paying US$50,000 monthly rent for office space in large Guyana.
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