Almost five years past, five budgets presented, more than one trillion dollars squandered, David Granger and his clueless Cabinet and other big officials jetted around the world many times, frequent all the “hot” spots in Guyana, while communities like Linden were been ignored and neglected. This past weekend, Granger and his PNC colleagues woke up and discovered that without Linden they have no chance of winning the March 2 elections. They came, as usual with empty promises, hoping they can still fool the people.
Granger decided to take the PNC to Linden to celebrate the 62nd founding anniversary of Forbes Burnham’s party. They brought supporters from all over the country; generously utilising government resources for what was essentially the PNC launching its elections campaign. To ensure the presence of enough people, they brought out schoolchildren in their uniforms. In the process, Granger appealed to Lindeners to give him a second chance, admitting he neglected them for five years, even if he did not admit it out loud.
In his second chance appeal, he promised them, if they give him a second chance, he will ensure 150 new jobs will be created in 2020 by the establishment of a new call center at Kuru Kuru. He promised also 500 new house lots if he gets his second chance. He promised them that a private sector investor will build an oil refinery in Linden. Clearly, Granger and the PNC recognised they abandoned people, including their own supporters. Linden has been loyal to the PNC, no matter what form they assumed. When they re-birthed themselves into the PNC/One R, the Linden people stuck with them. When they took on a new name – APNU, the people of Linden stayed with them. When they took on the name APNU+AFC, the people continue to support them.
But it has now been almost five years since they have had the power of government. In those five years, they expended more than one trillion dollars. Yet Linden is no better than they were in 2015, indeed, Linden is worse than they were in 2015. The people of Linden have begun to whisper, they were better off with the PPP. Just as people realised that they were deserted by the PNC before 1992, the people of Linden know they were taken for granted by the Granger-led PNC. As they descended mightily on Linden with supporters from around the country to prop them up, in case the people of Linden did not show up, they deliberately left their associates – WPA, AFC and the several others – in Georgetown. Really, it was Granger and the PNC being as devious as they have always been, whispering it was not the PNC that abandoned Linden, it was the WPA and the AFC and all the others.
As most people in Linden went about their business, it was pathetic seeing Granger in his “not bothered” pose watching the children sat there into the midnight hours, watching supporters from Regions 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 and other parts of Region 10 fetched there with government resources, wondering where the people of Linden were. In his “not bothered” pose, he kept waiting to see Linden turn out to salute him. They did not because in 2018, he told them to “get up and get going” and not wait for government to make things happen for them. The people of Linden did not forget. They also know elections are coming up and Granger and his bunch, all of whom have been incorporated into the PNC, are back with wild promises.
The PNC in the form of APNU+AFC gave up the housing programme of the PPP that brought thousands of house lots and thousands of new homes into Linden. Granger and APNU+AFC had told people before the 2015 elections they will create thousands of new house lots with thousands of new homeowners, make it easier for them to obtain low-interest mortgages. Now, as we approach 2020, they make the promise of 500 house lots, after delivering none in five years.
But the most hurtful promise was the promise of 150 new jobs through a new call center. In 2015, they promised thousands of new jobs with new call centers. But the first thing they did was a down-scaling of the call centre that was established under a PPP government. The call centre in Linden that was there in 2015 because of the PPP, first reduced its operation under APNU+AFC, and, by 2018 had closed its doors. The “not bothered” Granger did nothing about it. Suddenly, he shows up in Linden and in front of the fetched-in supporters told Lindeners, if they give him a second chance, he will bring 150 new jobs in a new call centre. Sheer hypocrisy and more empty promises.
In the meanwhile, other communities across the country that were neglected are making noises. The people of Buxton know they were neglected. The sugar workers across the country know they were neglected. The public servants know they were abandoned. Just yesterday, more than 4,000 sugar workers sent a petition to Granger to correct a wrong he personally led – they have not been given a wage increase since the end of 2014. Granger himself led the empty promise campaign in 2015 to fool workers that they would be given an annual increase of 20%. Instead, since Granger and APNU+AFC took over the government, the sugar workers have not been given a cent in increased wages. In addition, the same man, who he promised will build the oil refinery in Linden, was the same man he took around the country to promise rice farmers, they would be paid $9,000 per bag for paddy. Payback time has arrived and the people of Guyana will not be so forgiving, they will not give them another chance for empty promises.
Dr. Leslie Ramsammy
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