For 45 years, we, the citizens of Guyana, have been living with some sort of “socialism-communism” at the governmental level, while at the private sector level, there’s a sort of laissez-faire attitude on one hand, to the seemingly structured free enterprise in the traditional rationale, on the other.
But basically, state intervention into the economic life of our country has, overall, been detrimental to every generation of Guyanese since independence; a command type of economy never works because corruption, ineptitude and sloth take hold easier than in private sector concerns, resulting in burdens of great magnitude on the tax paying public. Mr. Editor, let me give examples of what I am talking about; let’s take GT&T now and compare it to when government owned it, not too many years ago. GT&T serves the Guyanese citizens much better than before – do you think that if the government still owned this entity, we could pick up our cell phones and call Moscow or New York anytime of the day or night? No way! Do you think that we would have house phones that work to call anywhere if the state owned it? No way! I need say no more except to point to the deficient water and electricity sectors which government owns, not to mention the shabby GUYOIL gas stations, with the bad service they provide and GuySuCo, with taxpayers’ money going down the drain.
For 45 years we, the citizens have had to endure leaving our loved country or staying to live in poverty, degradation and despair, while the ‘big shot’ politicians with their patronage powers enjoy the fruits of our sweat, and we get the left overs. For 45 years, all of our governments have led us in the command type system with it’s centralism (everything in Georgetown), bureaucracy (25 ministers!) and inherent corruption (where’s the Ombudsman?). For 45 years, we’ve been told of the evils of America and the imminent collapse of capitalism and the fall of that country’s economy, but yet, America is the place where most of our people have fled to and are doing well, just look at remittances to Guyana from the USA from our brethren there to help their kith and kin. For 45 years, the private sector is at the mercy of governmental policies, where foreign investment and trade is lopsided against USA and European potential investments; where our natural resources are not exploited in the correct way to produce wealth and prosperity for all our children. For 45 years we, the citizens, have had to live with: terrible roadways, demoralizing crime, ridiculous wages, poor services like sanitation and irrigation, outrageous taxes and duties, serious curbs on our fragile democracy like the one radio station government owns, lack of proper local government authority instead of central government dictat, and, lastly, a flawed constitution .
The causative factor of all these maladies mentioned above is the command type administrations in our country where instead of the private sector playing the pivotal role for a renewed Guyanese style free enterprise, we have instead the continuing domination by government intrusion into our economic and political life, placing private enterprise in secondary and even tertiary roles.
Mr. Editor, the only answer to our forward movement as a nation is to base our institutional norms at a level where democracy interacts with a Guyanese flavoured private enterprise system, which should be modeled on the American system and where, the United States would become our dominant investment and trading partner.
Because of the widespread settlement of our people all over America and their successes, it is incumbent that we court them as investors and experts in differing fields, especially where we are deficient of skilled and experienced personnel. We need to support great initiatives like Mr.Yesui Persaud’s IPED, a great start in private enterprise development at the base of our society; we need to do like in America and get rid of state ownership of water, electricity, TV stations and press, gasoline stations, etc. and like in America, the government needs to subsidize all farmers handsomely, in order to grow and export more food.
I need not say more , except to mention that the USA is a living example of democracy and humanistic capitalism at work and we in Guyana do not have to “invent the wheel”, because it’s right in front of us, in America.
You know, Mr. Editor, I always ask people in Guyana if there was a great natural calamity here, who would be the first nation to help us in our great hour of need and I always remind them that it would be the USA. We need a new dispensation for our political and economic future; we need change so I urge all potential voters, it’s not too late to register.
As to Sasenarine Singh’s letter in Sunday’s KN, the voters should remember that Sasenarine Singh is involved in serious ‘marijuana’ madness when he tells us that the AFC, a bunch of former communists and sour grape losers, will do well in these upcoming elections. No Sir! The AFC is going down and Sase, my man, get a job at Macy’s – they do hire former communists – only in America!
Cheddi (Joey) Jagan (Jr.)
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