Tony Vieira's Comments
18 October 2017

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Fleas that Kill
(Aired 19 September 2003)

In the Stabroek news of 16th September 2003 Minister Kowlessar, who we all know is only a phantom in the Ministry of Finance, the real Minister of Finance's office being on Vlissengen road, Kowlessar nevertheless attempts to defend his government against the World Bank's accusations that this country is experiencing a "crisis of governance" under the PPP.

   I read this with no surprise whatsoever, I saw it coming since I started these commentaries two years ago, in fact it was the reason why I began doing them in the first place. Bharrat Jagdeo notwithstanding having double the Ministers he needs, continues to micro manage the country with a definite agenda of control, from the office of the President with half the central executive of the PPP there to support him, at some very fancy salaries and conditions indeed.

    Every single day they are figuring out newer ways to tax the citizens of the country into further poverty, whilst at the same time the bureaucratic cost to run this small bankrupt country gets heavier and heavier. It is like fleas on a dog, the weaker the dog gets the more fleas infest it, in this country the fleas are heavier than the dog. So we should tell them to get off our backs and stop killing us with these dictatorial efforts to collect money to run that bloated, incompetent, corrupt, monstrosity they call a government administration, we can't afford it, but instead of telling them so, we sit here and accept these heavier and heavier taxes.

     In the US for the three week period ending the 12th September 2003 the cost of fuel at the gas station Pump was 1.7 US per gallon that is 335 Guyana dollars a gallon, the fuel price in Guyana is nearly 500 Guyana dollars a gallon, why? We are closer to the fuel in Venezuela than the US is to any of their suppliers so the shipping cost has got to be cheaper, it is caused by Taxation on the fuel of course! we have to find money to feed our fleas and some of them want a lot of blood, anyone who is interested should drive to Eccles and see the new house Manzoor Nadir is building there, a shot of which should be on the screen now, this is called inexplicable enrichment, but we know where this enrichment came from, don't we ladies and gentlemen? This is a man who was penniless a couple years ago can now after being a Minister for less than two years, afford to build a house like this, and we got over 20 like he, and hundreds more behind the scenes [the inner core of the PPP] sucking us to death daily. Now we have to pay 146 million G dollars of our taxes to mark our fuel so that we can be taxed properly for it, to keep the fleas fat.

     If this government taxed our imports reasonably we would not need to smuggle anything but the IMF, the IDB and the World Bank are telling the Government what to do, believe it or not we are not in charge of fiscal policy in this nation, we are being told what to do daily by the International lenders, it is they who are in charge of fiscal policy and are forcing the government to do things that will balance the budget, tax this more, tax that more, etc.

     But what the World Bank cannot do, but it is what we have to do to solve this problem, is not to tax the people of Guyana into further poverty, the way to do it is to cut deep into the government bureaucracy itself and trim off all the fleas that are feeding on us. Isn't it sad that in a land of such plenty the vast majority of us will never be able to own our own car, even those of us who are fortunate enough to be in the highest income bracket in this country will never own a new car, we will have to buy cars that are unfit for Japanese roads, but all of the fleas are driving brand new Prados.

   Why doesn't the World Bank and the IDB tell the government that the corruption and the bureaucratic burden on the people of this nation is too great, to fire half the Ministers and stop all corruption? Well the answer is simple the World Bank assumes that we know what is going on, that we know that the fleas are killing us and that we accept it. So they keep lending us more and more money which our children in generations as yet unborn will have to pay back. Also if the lenders did not prop up this government with financial aid, it would fall to pieces in a matter of months. The fleas are killing the dog sucking out all of its blood, and the dog is getting transfusions from the International Lenders which pass through the dog, to the fleas, the dog is getting nothing in real terms, it is just being kept barely alive with the loan of blood from the lenders, but the fleas are getting bigger and fatter.

    So after 11 years the World Bank has finally spoken, the PPP has created a crisis of governance in our country, actually given what we have seen in this country over the past 11 years that this is a very nice way of putting it, and Jagdeo/Kowlessar have the effrontery in their response to the Bank's comment to ask this ridiculous question quote "is it the objective of the Bank's Development Policy Review, to paint a bad picture of Guyana?" no boys, the World Bank did not paint this picture, you did! They are simply reporting what they see in that picture. What we all see. A bloated incompetent greedy government, guilty of deception and marginalisation of a large section of its population, guilty of unbridled corruption and bringing the country closer to civil war and economic chaos than it has ever been.  

    The World Bank is telling the truth, it is what they see and they have no agenda in this, they are lending huge amounts of money to do national projects, where are they? Is any Guyanese better off today than 10 years ago? I'm not, how about you?

    Sometimes ladies and gentlemen I despair for the attitude of my fellow Guyanese, when will we raise our voices? What has to happen before we do? Every word I have told you was the truth, what the World Bank is telling you is the truth, I see that the Stabroek News has given Jagdeo/Kowlessar one whole page to tell us a comprehensive pack of lies, half truths and excuses, which I didn't have the stomach to read in its entirety, ladies and gentlemen I want you to ask yourself two questions, you do not have to discuss it with anyone, just and ask yourself 1. "Why would the World Bank lie?" and 2. "What do I see happening around me?" it is the most serious indictment yet against this government so far, and is practically unheard of in the World Bank's usual policy not to speak out publicly in this fashion this is a message us Guyanese for you and for me from the World Bank, and we should listen