There are things that the APNU+AFC government has done that are so sickening that only a sick mind would want these people to be back in power. I stood in a picket line with several persons from the PNC and AFC leadership outside the construction of the Marriott Hotel demanding that local labour be employed in the construction.
I remember one day on the picket line, Joe Harmon asked me why Benschop was not in the demonstration. I told him Benschop had gone in Queenstown to do a one-man protest outside the home of the head of NICIL. When you read about the demented and sadistic directions of this government, how can you want it to be re-elected?
It has been revealed by this newspaper that the then Minister of Business had told it that when the government employed Michael Warner to produce the guiding document on local content, the contract was not advertised.
Before I proceed, I need to say a word about the crop of ministers as compared to their PPP predecessors.
We all thought the PPP had among its midst some pretty thoughtless ministers. I say in all sincerity from the time of the elected government under self-rule in 1953 right up to the present time, former Business Minister, Dominic Gaskin, has to be one of the most underperforming ministers ever. Gaskin, in my opinion, hardly knew anything about his portfolio, and clearly did not have what was required of a business minister in a world of cruel commercial and financial transactions. I don’t think he was suited for a ministerial portfolio.
When I saw Gaskin perform, I thought of how silly so many of us were to think that the removal of the PPP would bring bigger and better talent. I am no fan of Robert Persaud, but he did better than Raphael Trotman as Natural Resources Minister. One thing is for sure; Persaud’s tenure was not mired in the controversy as Trotman’s.
Every citizen of this country should demand, with emotional zest, the answer from Trotman as to who ordered him to sign an agreement with Tullow for a one percent recoverable royalty. He said he was ordered. He should have the decency to say by whom.
Analysts need to start comparing PPP ministers with our present team. Was Robeson Benn better than David Patterson? Was Rohee better than Ramjattan? Let me say without fear of contradiction, Rohee had a far more no-nonsense relations with the senior ranks in the police force. I think he got more out of them than Ramjattan has. Was Manickchand better than Nicolette Henry? Two conclusions for me are definite – Sam Hinds far outstripped Nagamootoo as an effective Prime Minister. Gaskin was a huge mistake as a minister.
Now back to Warner. Is there a human living in this country who, after reading what the government did in relation to the local content policy, would vote for them again? Let us repeat what the Kaieteur News reported last Sunday. Now read and after you have, tell me if you think the APNU+AFC regime is morally superior to the PPP leadership from Jagdeo to Ramotar.
When CARICOM national, Consultant, Anthony Paul submitted his second draft on local content policy in relation to petroleum investment in Guyana, there were dimensions that were favourable to Guyanese entrepreneurs. Paul said he relied on the experience of the oil industry in Trinidad where mistakes were made, and he wanted Guyana to avoid those pitfalls.
Anthony’s positive, pro-local recommendations were removed by Warner, but here is where the morbid politics of APNU+AFC comes in; here is where people who listened to APNU+AFC and voted out the PPP have to live with the scars, as Elton John sang in the theme of the great movie, Lion King.
Warner provides legal immunity for foreign companies for non-compliance with Guyana’s regulations. In Paul’s recommendations, foreign companies must partner with local investors. Warner ripped that out. Enter Professor Clive Thomas. When he reads these things, how does he view the anti-imperialist themes he touched on in so many of his books; themes that condemned the exploitative programmes that Warner has incorporated in his final draft? What is stated about, is just a few lines in the anti-Guyanese drama that is unfolding in this country with regards to local content.
The leadership of this government came to power riding on a wave of song – the PPP government is giving away Guyana’s resources to foreigners. The Chinese were singled out. Warner’s third draft is so sickening, that the only emotional redemption those who voted for APNU+AFC have is to vote them out. I know I will.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper)
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