The largest injection of money into the affairs of the country to help the economy in American history occurred yesterday. In a bipartisan pact, Democrats and Republicans limited the damage done by the coronavirus; the legislators agreed to spend two trillion dollars.
The beneficiaries include all sectors of America that have suffered from the consequences of the virus. Those sent home by employers will receive their salaries. There are special provisions for hospitals and medical workers. There is money for all types of classes including the poor, small and large businesses.
This is what countries do when they are faced with war-like conditions. Here in Guyana we would never survive a devastating outbreak of the virus, but yet look how our leaders are behaving.
With warnings about preventative measures, that the government of Guyana itself proclaimed, the rulers ignored prevailing medical sensitivities and sent GECOM and police officials to move the containers with the ballot boxes from the Arthur Chung Convention Centre. It was a sickening example where power was put in front of the lives of citizens. And this mentality persists.
In the midst of a global outbreak of a deadly virus, Guyana is paralyzed at the moment, and politics and power are at the centre of the tragedy. We are facing a crisis that is beyond imagination. Which other country is fighting the virus yet immobilized by the syndrome of bitter political rivalry?
One of the consequences of this tragic stagnation is that ministers are unable to free themselves from their prison to stand tall in the fight against the virus. As a spin-off from this, is the attitude of the population to such ministers. Will they be willing to ignore the current political/ethnic crisis and embrace their leaders in the confrontation against the pandemic?
Unfortunately, the Minister of Public Health is alleged to be one of the rulers deeply involved in the election controversy. She has had a private criminal charge filed against her on the basis that her signature appeared on the declaration sheet for Region 4, which may not be permissible. There has been no official explanation either from GECOM or the minister explaining why her signature was there.
There are Facebook postings from her accusing the opposition, PPP, of using an American company named Mercury to interfere with the election process. My point is that it is this minister that has to be the face of the campaign against the coronavirus and her overt political involvement in the election controversy will not help a process of citizen-government cooperation.
Only a fool cannot see that the political situation is expanding the horizon of uncertainties that the virus outbreak has caused, and we are nowhere near a solution. Only a fool will refuse to see that the economy has been badly hit. Guyana is no exception – if businesses of all types are closed then the ripple effect will be horrible. And it has been horrible in the US, thus the 2 trillion dollars expenditure.
I have read powerfully placed persons in American society saying that if the withdrawal and close-down scenario continues, it could cause the American economy to collapse.
To underscore the double danger we are facing, the title of the Bloomberg article on the Guyana economy says it all – “A country’s future of world’s fastest growing economy dims.” Anyone who lives here and has no immediate plans to leave has to be mentally jolted by that caption – it refers to not one of the world’s growing economies, but categorizes Guyana as the designated country that will grow faster than any other in the immediate future.
As the writers around the world ponder on the uncertainty of Guyana’s future in their magazines and newspapers, power-drunk people sit happily ensconced in their cocoons, and refuse to carve out an aperture so sunlight and fresh breeze can fumigate their minds.
We have to be the only country since the 19th century started, to be canopied in election doubt as to who won and refuse to accept the commonsensical method of determining the result. First, the imbroglio centred on just one section of the votes. The consensus around the world was just recount those particular ballots if there were questions about what was on the relevant paperwork. That did not happen.
Then, the commonsensical avenue, was further expanded when the desire emerged to count the whole damn thing again. That has not happened, and the world is wondering why, and the whole damn world thinks that Guyana is just playing the fool and has in the process jeopardized its future. And the entire country is helpless to act.
(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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