Tony Vieira's Comments
18 October 2017

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Total Incompetence
(Aired 15 October 2003)

   On the 26th September 2003 I did a commentary outlining the situation of the Amerindians in this country over the past 10 years, which was a desperate one according to the World Bank and the International Human Rights Reports for 2002.

    Amid much fanfare in the newspaper Minister Rodrigues tells us that my commentary was filled with false accusations and false opinions.

   Incredibly she then appeals to the Advisory Committee on Broadcasting to censure me for refusing to play the diatribe contained on a tape she recorded in answer to the serious charges levelled at this government by both the World Bank and the International Human Rights Organisation's report of Guyana for 2002.

   To establish that all of this was not true that the Amerindians are, and have been, properly treated by the PPP government, Rodriguez's answer to my commentary is to quote from page 29 of the national estimates for 2003 where it is stated, that from the Office of the President $87.636 million will be allocated to Amerindian development this year, and includes $24.093 million as wages for around 10-11 people. I am not kidding ladies and gentlemen you just saw the tape, I am playing it as part of this crucifixion not because I have to, because I want to, in it she actually stipulates that this 24 million will be paid to 10 or 11 people. We are paying some very fancy salaries at the Office of the President; I have been telling you this for some time now. But in the actual estimates for 2003 the main table called General Summary table 7, tells us that the allocation to the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs will be 1000 dollars for labour and 54.2 million for other charges. Now it appears that the Amerindians are being allocated monies from the office of the President, directly, in addition to the normal allocation in the main budget; one can only ask why? So the total allocation to the Amerindians is 54.201 million plus 87.636 million a total of 141.84 million dollars.  I wonder why?

   I went to Brazil from Monday 6th October 2003 and returned on Wednesday 8th October 2003, I wanted to see first hand where the road to Brazil is now, what we are doing and what the Brazilians are doing to make this important project for this country's future, a reality. I decided to start in Boa Vista, travel to Lethem by road on the Brazilin side of the border and return to Georgetown through Lethem. And that's what I did.

    To do this properly I organised to meet Paul Hardy the leader of GAP who spends a lot of his time at Lethem and who could tell me accurately what is going on, now at this very moment Hardy and around 150 Amerindians are building a road about 50 miles from Lethem which Hardy calls "the big hole" they are literally fetching huge boulders on their backs to make up this road, but Hardy crossed over from Lethem and met me in Boa Vista. I will not tell you the full story of how the Brazilians live in Boa Vista, tonight, I will leave that for another commentary but for those who are expecting [gimperos?] at every corner killing everyone, forget it! The Brazilians in Boa Vista live in peace and tranquillity and have a budget for its 200 thousand citizens which is larger than our national budget and now receive power from the Guri Dam. It is a place where law and order flourishes and you can walk with your wife or woman anywhere in that city at night without fear, and it is clean, even beautiful. Now I come to the point of this commentary, I was not going to make all of this public but this silly woman who aspires to be a Minister of Government in this country, but who is totally incompetent to do so, has forced her own crucifixion and so I will be happy to accommodate her, on Tuesday 7th October 2003 Paul Hardy took me to two hospitals in Boa Vista, at the first one he visits 42 Guyanese Amerindians who are hospitalised there for afflictions ranging from TB to Bush Yaws, he collects their mail for them and he translates their fears/concerns for the Brazilian doctors, now remember that Hardy has no budget he is spending his own money to take these people there to Brazil, where the Brazilin Government treats them for free, one lady however an Amerindian woman called Pauline Jovence is hospitalised at a private hospital where Hardy is personally paying the bill, she has cancer of the cervix; and this is her sad story, and I want Rodriguez to listen carefully, this lady was diagnosed as having cervical cancer ion 9th June 2003 at the Public Hospital Georgetown, her doctor was one Montero, Montero recommends overseas treatment and discharges this woman with this cancer from the hospital on the 11th June 2003, that's what we do in this country ladies and gentlemen, we do not even try to give chemotherapy to delay the progress of the disease until the red tape can be unravelled, we just discharge people diagnosed with a cancer and put them on the road, the woman and her husband then appeal to the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs, who are getting according to this same incompetent Minister [who is paying 24 million dollars to 10 people] and who is getting a total of 142 million dollars this year to look after the welfare of the Amerindians; but nothing happened! the husband fed up with being pushed around at the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs, then approached the Ministry of Health, a Ministry headed by one Ramsammy a corrupt official whose honesty cannot be relied upon according to reports which have already surfaced in the public domain, and again nothing happened, so the husband who was desperately trying to save his wife's life went to the Cancer Association of Guyana which with Hardy's help got her to Boa Vista on the 1st September 2003, the Brazilians have tried with her since then but unfortunately it was several WEEKS too late for this poor woman who was wasting precious time running behind the Guyanese authorities for nearly 3 months, if Rodrigues had done something for her in June, I would not be telling you this sad story now, she is not expected to live, having been completely let down by the very government who is telling us that they are doing so much for the poor and the dispossessed Amerindians in this country, to make matters worse the husband also a pure Amerindian, with whom I spoke personally, works at the Ministry of Health in the vector control unit and they are telling him that he has taken such a long leave of absence that he may not be able to get his job back. This man was by his wife's side fighting for her life and the unfeeling criminals in authority in this country tells him that not only will he lose his wife he will lose his livelihood as well. This is my message to you Rodrigues stop grandstanding and paying these fancy salaries to yourself and your colleagues, start doing something for the Amerindians in this country who have now reached the 92.3 % level of poverty under the PPP.