I have been attacked for saying that the
Afro Guyanese in this country are getting a raw deal. I do not make statements
lightly ladies and gentlemen and I can prove what I say.
The 2002 budget has several
typographical errors, this is not unusual, but this budget has some whoppers, on
introductory page Roman numeral VII of contents under "Regional Development Sector"
the budget sections 71-89 seeks to identify the monetary allocations of Central
Government to the 10 regions.
We find region ONE Barima/ Waini listed
as being in section 71, we also see region ONE Pomeroon / Supernam in section
72, we also find region ONE Essequibo Islands / West Demerara in section 73, then
there is region ONE Mahaica / Berbice in section 74, we then find another
region ONE Mahaica / Berbice in section 75, THEN we see region SIX East Berbice
According to this national 2002 budget
document therefore, region one is in fact regions 1-5 and was never corrected. Great
way to accept the national budget of this nation, members of parliament, on
Let us examine the budgetary allocation to
the Regions per capita; to do this we have to consider these regions as
populated by voters, it is the only viable statistic we have to determine the
amount of people living in the 10 regions.
I know that it is ridiculous ladies and
gentlemen, but they have to know who the voters are in each region so that we
can manipulate the ballot accordingly, so they keep a close check on THAT
figure and not what the actual population of the country is, region by region. By
the way has anyone heard of the status of the national census lately?
After spending half an hour deciphering
this nonsense I discovered that the total central government current
expenditure to Region ONE, the true Region ONE, Barima / Waini was 519.734
million, for the purpose of this commentary I am going to round off all amounts
to the nearest million so this is 520 million dollars.
Region 2 Pomeroon / Supernam, 1.04 Billion.
Region 3 Essequibo Islands / West Demerara, 1.35 Billion.
Region 4 Demerara / Mahaica, 1.36 Billion.
Region 5 Mahaica / Berbice, 811 million.
Region 6 East
Berbice / Corentyne, 1.7 billion.
Region 7 Cuyuni / Mazaruni, 488 million.
Region 8 Potaro / Siparuni, 274 million.
Region 9 Upper Takatu / Upper Essequibo got
Region 10 Upper
Demerara / Upper Berbice got 808 million.
What does this translate to in terms of
allocation in Guyana Dollars per voter? Let's see, we allocated a total of
8.817 billion to the 10 regions which had a total of 440,185 voters, if the
distribution was equitable it should work out to an average of $20,000 per
voter, here is what I found; in Region one it was $45,324 per voter; in Region
2 it was 39,643 per voter; in Region 3 it was 22,1238 per voter; in Region 4 it
was 7,025 repeat 7,025 per voter; in Region 5 it was 26,418 per voter; in Region
6 it was 23,611 per voter; in Region 7 it was 51,385 per voter; in Region 8 it
was 31,289 per voter; in region 9 it was 53,215 per voter and in Region 10 it
was 36,889 per voter.
Here is the problem, it is why I started
this investigation in the first place, Region 4 has nearly 44% of the
population of the country but only receive 15.4% of this regional budgetary
allocation, but East Berbice which has 16.5% of the voter population receives 19.3%
of the total allocation, it is out of all proportion to the reality of the
situation. Regions 1, 2, 7&9 also receive allocations which far exceed
their population. I have the budgets for the past 4 years and they all reflect
this imbalance, so in the past 4 years 1998-2002 Region 4 only got around 1/3 of
the allocation based on its population. Nearly 11 BILLION dollars less.
On inquiring why this was so, to be
completely fair and accurate in my investigation, I was told that the Region 4
contains the residents of Georgetown and they get subventions from central
Government in another way, I called the Mayor of Georgetown and he confirmed
that indeed Central government had given him 16 million Guyana dollars this
year, but that Central Government owes the city 60 million for non payment of
rates and taxes. He also informed me that every request he has ever made to
broaden his tax base, wharf fees, road taxes etc have all been refused by Central
I was told by the local government
people that the Georgetown city council collect rates from the residents of
Georgetown so they should not need help from Central Government, I asked myself
WHY I was paying Village rates in my area, if they are getting normal
allocations from Central Government, I was unable to give myself an answer.
There is no doubt in my mind, ladies
and gentlemen, no doubt whatsoever that Region 4 and the city of Georgetown are
getting a raw deal and are being systematically starved for funds, the money is
being used to buy votes in other regions not only regions where the Indo
Guyanese traditionally reside but this budget targets areas of the hinterland
to gain favour with the Amerindian vote. Open your eyes and look around you and
you will see endless and glaring examples of the neglect this starvation of
funds by this government since 1992 has caused in the Demerara Region and the Capitol
City of Georgetown, the atrocity they call the East Bank Highway, the bad
roads, the dirty drains, the vendors and where to put them, the mini buses and
where to park them, the filth everywhere, the poverty everywhere, the
What is most obscene is that within
this same Region 4 and the City of Georgetown reside 193,000 people who are the
sitting ducks for taxation in this country, the civil servants, the police, the
army, the nurses and doctors of all the hospitals, the teachers, the employees
of the courts, ALL of them, lawyers, clerks, judges magistrates, large
businesses like Banks DIH, DDL etc, the employees of the various Ministries,
they all reside in Georgetown. It is their taxes, why starve then of it in
their environment. I need hardly add that the Indo Guyanese living in the
Demerara / Mahaica Region 4 and in Georgetown are also affected by this lopsided allocation of funds.
I must pause at this point, and tell you
that those who make these plans have to plan for development, so it would not
be inconsistent with that development plan, if some regions got moneys out of
proportion to their population, this however is a consistent deprivation of
funds to Region 4 which cannot be explained by development in other areas.
Our Indo Guyanese brothers must
understand, that I am not saying that they should get less allocations, I would
not think of suggesting such a thing, but you must pay attention to this
inequity, since it is you, the Indo Guyanese, whose votes are being bought with
these lopsided allocations, you must understand that unless the playing field
is levelled there cannot be peace, and in the end after you have voted for the unscrupulous
persons who allocate this nation's resources in such a lopsided manner, simply
to keep themselves in power, YOU have been made the targets of the anger of your
Afro Guyanese brothers, not the corrupt politicians who are buying your votes regardless
of the consequences to you, their own supporters, oh no, they are living in the
mansions in which you have placed them surrounded by the total security you
have given them, but are incapable of protecting YOU and me. In the interest of
peace YOU have to demand that the pie be shared more equitably.
What also has to enter the equation is
the waste that occurs in the rural and hinterland regions away from the scrutiny
of the local media which, concentrated as they are in Region 4, are not
vigilant enough to police it on behalf of the nation.
There are certainly budgetary constraints
to news gathering, but that is not an excuse, we are not keeping an eye on the
way contracts are awarded, executed and monitored in these far flung regions and
so the corruption, nepotism and waste that goes on in these rural and
hinterland areas passes unseen and continues to cause unrest in the country,
since depriving the most populous Region & the city of finances creates
joblessness, poverty, despair and therefore CRIME. I, like you certainly do not
condone it, but I understand what is fuelling it and so must you.
Corruption destroys countries ladies and
gentlemen, my commentary on Egypt and Venezuela showed you that, corruption HAS
and still IS destroying this country as well, it must stop, or we will all
perish and I don't mean punish, I MEAN perish.
These are the things I have been
telling you in these comments ladies and gentlemen but when I tell you the
truth, and I do so with some measure of danger to myself, I do it because it is
time that the truth is told in this country. We are too close to anarchy to delude
ourselves further, the question now, is, are you ready to hear the truth? Or do
you want to continue listening to rhetoric, excuses and lies?