This two-party, winner-take-all approach to governance in Guyana is failing the Guyanese people, miserably. Imagine in a country that has a democratic approach to governance, the majority of the voters have to just sit back and allow either of the ruling parties to shaft them, with impunity! For the better part of 23 long years, we were subjected to the onslaught of the PPP. They used the blind support of their loyal Indian supporters, with a token amount of bought Indigenous and Black votes, to maintain their slight majority. And over the years they inflicted and molested us with every kind of political depravity that they can think up.
The stole billions for themselves, their families and their close friends; they took huge chunks of land in the best parts of the country, at giveaway prices; they blatantly refused to meet with the Unions that represented those they believed to be members of the opposition; they increased their salaries in disproportionate quotas; and the atrocities went on and on. Until the country could take no more and we fought tooth and nail to remove those wicked, vicious politicians from power.
But in just two short years, Guyana has proven that most of our career politicians are daft and insensitive. They have run from the proverbial coffin and ‘butt-up’ with the jumbie. Who would have thought that a government that just gained power by a mere one-seat majority, would be this politically and humanistically tone deaf? Who would have ever thought that a party that was out of office for two decades can be this uncaring and stiff-necked? But here we are.
First, they raised their salaries from the staggering amount of $500,000 to a dazzling $800,000, plus entertainment and travel allowances. Plus the tax payers pay all their utilities bills, plus we pay for their gardeners, guards, chauffeurs (who drive them and the spouse and children, any and everywhere they desire), and if they are renting, we pay their rent.
Yet, the students and parents who are begging them to remove the diabolical VAT on tuition are being told that that would allow for an untold burden on the finances of the country. The Prime Minister, Mr. Moses Nagamootoo, held a straight face and told the protesting children that his Government will not relent on keeping the ungodly tax on education. Imagine. Just imagine a government that is so heartless and unsympathetic. In a country that is known for its brain drain and academic misfits, this government sees fit to place a tax on the education of the Guyanese.
The United Republican Party (URP) is again convinced that there must be some sinister plot in relation to the upcoming elections. There is no other logical reason for the manner in which this Coalition is managing the affairs of the nation. How can a party with a simple majority be so uncouth, stubborn and indifferent towards the people who risked all to support them? Don’t they understand that if the PPP gets back into power, their supporters will be severely victimized, ostracized and relegated again to 2nd class citizens? Are the PNC and the AFC that politically dumb to not see the handwriting on the wall?
Are they not hearing the vicious drumbeat of the PPP henchman and his cronies? I told Mr. Granger, while on a flight to New York after the last elections, that the URP stands willing and ready to work with his administration. I have yet to receive one call from the President, signalling his promised ‘big-tent’ approach to governance. However, the country and I are watching as this government mimics the worse of the Jagdeoite behaviour. They are financially positioning themselves to leave office as wealthy and financially established as they can be. They are governing, not with the interest of the population at heart but with their own personal futures in mind.
The URP is very concerned that these two large parties are convinced that they can take advantage of the Guyanese people because their political allegiance is so predictable that either way, one of them will win. Editor, the URP is working feverishly to provide another option for the Guyanese people. Guyana must not suffer another half-century of this kind of political and financial abuse. With the URP a third party in parliament, this nonsense will stop!
Dr. Vishnu Bandhu
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