Encouraging Events, Disturbing Developments
By GHK Lall
Kaieteur News – A multibillion-dollar slush fund is a politician’s dream come true. Our political operators now have 44 of such billions to splurge and enjoy to their hearts delight. It is going to be Christmas starting in August and continuing for the rest of the year at high celebration levels. Then, the fun will begin again with the next budget. It would normally be encouraging to learn of billions approved for health, public works, agriculture, and more. But it can only be so when there is some reasonable basis to believe that the taxpayers’ money is in good, capable, and trusted hands. Trusted hands, I emphasise. As much as almost half of Guyana worships those in charge of various vital areas in this country, I need some help with something. Name those among the loyalists who would leave their children’s welfare – land title, cash in the bank, a small business -with those now in charge of a billion more here, and a billion for that undertaking over there. This is my concern, and it is what disturbs. Because I scan the political coast, inclusive of leaders and ministers, and I struggle to identify a small handful that inspire trust, has earned credibility due to their integrity. Just a tiny few of them in whom I can say, we are in good hands, that those supplementary billions are not the PPP Government’s way of ‘topping up’ the gravy train, the slush fund, under parliamentary cover. Projects mean spending; spending means teefin’.
Then, the announcement came that the land awarded by the former Coalition Government to cultivate a coconut farm is being taken back. This is either Animal Farm or lunatic asylum, for the first drop of coconut water is still to come five years later. The PPP Government did a rare, good thing in taking back the land. I would have charged those who made big promises, but didn’t deliver hefty back rent. Now the Opposition Leader, not to be outdone, came up with his own tidy idea: take back all those thousands of acres doled out to Mr. Su. I hope Guyanese haven’t forgotten him, or wished him away, for he is not going anywhere. At least, not the stench of his ugly memory. I should have a tenant like him; the only problem is there is no house to rent. But we do have land to yank back from Comrade-Tenant Su, so we should. It would encourage me to see him take the mighty Guyana Government and the mightier VP to court to settle these sordid affairs. It would be poetic justice. I am not so sure that Guyanese would get justice, but there would be some more jive talking lines and rhymes from the powerful landlord to keep us entertained for a while.
Next, I was disappointed that the former Finance Minister warned about the appearance of the dreaded ‘Dutch disease.’ Though that is bad, the rampant Guyanese disease that we have here is infinitely worse. Its symptoms are such malaises as rogue cells (politicians), malignant flesh (public servants), and rotted extremities (aiders and abettors). All Guyanese should worry more about the Guyanese disease(s) which brings chronic fevers, provokes shivering, and leaves us looking like skeletons, while our politicians drink the nation’s blood. Whenever the PPP Government (PNC not excluded) needs more vitamins and minerals, leaders go to parliament to get supplements. Political schemers and scoundrels have an open drugstore in parliament, where they fill up ministerial baskets with tonics and builders. This is the Guyanese disease to focus on, because it sickens us, stunts our growth, and pauperise us some more.
Last, I read that the Yankees are going to study the feasibility of hydropower. This is further confirmation of Americans dictating to our leaders of how things must be. The Chinese are kicked out, and the Yanks step in, which is the emerging strategy. EXIM freed up US$2B, and because it is American (not Chinese) cash, PPP hustlers have to settle for ‘teefin’ way less. Incidentally, the study will disclose that hydropower is feasible, and I can see an American company involved. Ditto for bridge building. I am encouraged.
(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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