Encouraging Events, Disturbing Developments…
By GHK Lall
Kaieteur News – I encourage the unvaccinated to get vaccinated right away; don’t put self on trial with what is viral. It is a losing proposition; give everyone a fighting chance – get vaccinated.
The Hon. Minister of Education announced that seven more schools will be permitted to offer subjects at the CAPE level. This is encouraging for a couple of reasons. CAPE credentials are almost universally accepted, they have standing all over. Unlike the CSEC level examinations, which I think are seriously watered down, the curricula and demands of the various subjects are quite rigorous. They embody a two-year period of deep and comprehensive study, and are worth both effort put into them, and the recognition that comes along with success. CAPE students are presented with a foretaste of what post-secondary school education is about, and serves as training ground for intense university study. The more facilities we have available for interested (and qualified) students, the more we will be ready in years that are rushing by, to have the kind of quality Guyanese worker that we need for occupations in demand in one sector after another. I laud this development about more CAPE schools.
Then, there was this storm over made ‘misrepresentations’ involving the business of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). Misrepresentation is a word favoured by attorneys to convey that someone is lying through their teeth. Instead of my emphasis being on who misrepresented what (falsified), or didn’t, I prefer focusing on the vital work of the PAC. The PAC is akin to a last line of defense in getting to the bottom of how cleanly the monies of the people are being spent, and involving various projects scattered across Guyana. The PAC is now reviewing what happened in 2016, which qualifies to be ancient history. Meeting once weekly, with a bow to other duties, will extend this backlog situation way into the future. We must clear those away without rushing, while recognising that money is being spent hand over fist on huge new projects, which increase future piles.
The Audit Office is trying to catch up and so, too, must the PAC. The PPP/C and PNC and AFC may not be too keen on members of the public knowing how their business is conducted, but there are many who want to know. Things like the integrity and fairness of the bidding process, the accounting and record keeping for monies spent, and which State agencies (its officers) do a commendable job, and which ones do not. If Guyanese are not given the kind of insights that they need to know on what goes on, then all the crookedness and corruptions that have long plagued ruling political parties, governance, and state bureaucracies will be given free rein to continue unchecked. I understand that PACs operate like a type of political fraternal society, even in the most hostile of times, such as now. Further, they are backward looking and slothful, but they are what we have, and there is the occasional honesty, and resulting fireworks, when a PAC chair or member gets a bit exercised. Otherwise, it is pedestrian and largely humdrum, which means that the financial shenanigans go on without letup. If only we could get a group that is devoted to cleaning house, and laying people out on the carpet….
It looks like that excess gas from the Yellowtail Project does not have a ready home. Up the road in 2026, when the project is scheduled to be completed, looks like a long way off from today. It seems longer and unpromising, when one considers the concerted push to start serious delinking from fossil fuels before then. Barring some catastrophic energy demand scenario, prompted by force majeure combinations, there could be a massive oversupply of gas by that time. This is what Guyana could possibly be staring at, and with boatloads of excess gas having nowhere to go. The only buyers would be those looking for dirt cheap prices. Presently, the options are not encouraging, which begs the question: why proceed with such zeal with this project? KN termed it a dilemma; I recognise trouble.
(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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