The things that this coalition government has done in the last 3 years amount to a lot more than the PPP did in 20 years of debauchery and theft. Every indicator, every foreign organization’s opinion and report shows Guyana making progress, instituting policies and real programmes to make its citizens comfortable, able to provide for home, body and soul … and wealthier.
To suggest that this government has “outlived its usefulness” is ludicrous and bizarre. The AFC is issuing a challenge to the writer of the letter printed in one of the nation’s dailies to support his nonsensical claims. We challenge him to make a case, leaving out the tired, old and baseless accusations that appeal to ethnic sympathies.
While we wait for what won’t come, let’s take a glance at Guyana’s scorecard as at April 2019:-
· Nightlife has come back to life because the street corner shootings have been minimized. Every bar is still open at 11.00 filled with unafraid patrons. The frequent street corner shootings made people scared to leave their homes, or answer their doors after dark. The authorities did nothing. They did not even look for the men with illegal guns ruthlessly killing people who just annoyed them. Nowadays, the criminals aren’t so bold because the police catch them and quickly remove them from society
· No ‘black clothes’ policemen are terrorizing citizens. Most people have heard the boasts of the leader of the black-clothed cops (now deceased) who made it a habit of saying he was not taking orders from the Commissioner of Police.
· Today Guyana has NO Political prisoners, no one locked up like Mark Benschop because he dared to defy anyone’s orders to protest injustices. Under the law, every Guyanese is free to express his/her opinions that do not threaten anyone.
· These days the couriers and kingpins behind the once lucrative drug business in Guyana are being closed down. It took a lot of negotiation and a long crawl for this government to free Guyana from the bad reputation we had as a drug transshipment point with unguarded borders and large swathes of forests to build unlicensed airstrips and make drug drops.
· Foreign governments were advising their nationals not to come to Guyana because the dangers posed by the police and the numerous operators in the drug trade were too many. That has not happened to Guyana in a while.
· The Customs and Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) was toothless before 2015 with less than 50 employees, and that is counting the drivers, secretaries and janitors. Imagine how few trained agents were available to combat the many drug-related crimes and the inflow of uncustomed goods. CANU is coming back now, making busts while recruiting new talent.
· When he was President, Jagdeo famously refused point blank a no-strings-attached offer from the British government to reform the Guyana Police Force. He also turned down the United States’ request to open an office for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) here, an agency that has some presence in most democratically-run countries around the world.
Now we come to that sore subject of GuySuCo, the PPP’s campaign flag. We heard the Presidential candidate promising to reopen all the sugar estates that were closed in 2017 as this Government tried to clean up the industry’s operations, make it leaner and mould it into a profitable business. Between 2015 and 2017, this Government poured over one Billion taxpayer dollars per month into GuySuCo to keep it breathing, and keep the jobs of thousands of people. Much of that money went to pay wages and salaries, and GAWU’s dues, none towards improving the efficiency of the corporation.
The PPP received European Union grants but did not spend them to mechanize planting or harvesting, or on new equipment for the factories to reduce the high cost of making sugar. The PPP should tell the nation what happened to those funds!
Now the party’s presidential candidate promises to re-open the estates and provide 50,000 jobs. Well, perhaps his plan is to take more than a billion dollars every month from our oil revenue and pour it into the black hole that is GuySuCo. The fact is, the quality jobs that are becoming available in the oil sector will surpass 50,000 in less than one year.
This government has spent many millions to re-train about 10,000 of the displaced sugar workers, teaching them other skills, and encouraging them to go into business for themselves. Many were re-hired when a few estates/factories were re-opened to prepare for possible sale to investors.
And while we talk of investors, look to Jet Blue, American Airlines and other international air carriers that have added Guyana to their routes/markets.
And, thousands of Guyanese living in the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, the Caribbean, Germany and other countries around the world are coming back home to live and lend their skills to the country of their birth, or their parents’ birth. Foreigners are pouring in, and if we don’t look sharp, they will qualify themselves for the available jobs before we manage to get past the PPP’s lies and political posturing.
It is time for every Guyanese to stand above the PPP’s petty politics and grab your God-given future.
The AFC takes this opportunity to wish us all the peace and serenity of Easter.
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