Tony Vieira's Comments
22 October 2017

Updates!

Receive email notices when a commentary is uploaded. Join our mailing list.

E-Mail Address:

View Article

Insane Management
(Aired 26 May 2004)

   I have been a manager all of my life, when you are born into the kind of family that I was, you learn from very young that there are certain things that are administratively insane. You learn these things from listening to your father and his friends talking about business issues, a subject which most business men are apt to do whenever they meet, unless you are a complete fool you learn something, sometimes near the end of the year you hear your father telling your mother that we are going to have to tighten up it since it has not been a good year, people who live in families which do not own their own business but earn a salary do not normally hear about the budget, the salary comes whether the budget of the company they work for is OK or not. But those who, like me, come from business families always know when the budget of your father's company is in bad shape; in bad shape usually means that they spent more than they will make in our case, the sugar we produced did not cover the expenses we had, and things have got to be tightened up!

   So to people like me the budget is a sacred thing. Any rice farmer or businessman will tell you that.

   This is our country we own it, you and I, and every 5 years we vote to decide who will run it for us, so they are our paid managers and they work for US! They may behave as if we work for them but that is an illusion and that is why this country is in the mess it is in today. They are our workers and we must watch them carefully regardless of their colour PPP, PNC since when they don't manage it properly we all suffer.

   Now the budget of our country is a sacred thing, the laws that govern it are sacred and must be treated with respect, you plan what you are going to collect each year, how you are going to collect it, and you spend accordingly.

  So sometime near to year end the members of the budget team begin their consultation with the various ministries, regions and departments of government and decide what they will spend in the coming year depending on what their income will be.

    In our case almost 1/2 of our income comes from grant aid, loans HIPC relief etc. if one of those grants, loans and relief funds don't materalise we are usually in big trouble by year end at which time after nearly a year of excesses, incompetence and every conceivable form of corruption the revenue authority is told to extort the deficit from the public.

   Recently we lost out on a huge United States grant aid project called the Millennium Challenge of 5 billion US dollars to several countries, the reasons why countries like Guyana did not qualify, was, according to US secretary of State Colin Powell, guilty of any or all of the following three reasons, 1. Their Governments were not ruling justly; 2. They were not investing grant money on the poor where it was supposed to go; 3. They were not encouraging economic freedom; I agree with Secretary Powell this Government is guilty of all three transgressions.

  But back to this matter of the budget after consultations with all ministries Neighbourhood Councils, District Councils, Regional Councils, the State Planning department and the Ministry of Finance the head of which is the President himself, they come up with the Budget. This year it came up to 75.6 Billion dollars

   But apparently this budget which was made up by all of these people numbering in the hundreds who we are paying with our taxes, is a complete farce and has no relation in reality since this President runs all over the country allocating 60 Million more for Supernaam, 40 Million more for the Rupununi and so on. And in doing so he is breaking the law, since he must obtain Parliament's permission to vary the budget before he changes it or he is using the Lotto's funds illegally, since it is not his personal funds to dispense with as he sees fit, but it is supposed to go into the Consolidated fund, in either event it is irresponsible, an insult to the people who worked to make the budget and shows an economic immaturity which is noting short of criminal.

   Since the lotto started nearly 10 years ago the Auditor General has been asking someone in the government to account for where the two billion plus dollars paid by the Lottery Company to the Government went! He is still waiting.

    It is insane management and is just a sham to buy publicity and popularity for Mr. Jagdeo, but we should not be impressed by it we should condemn it. Didn't the neighbourhood Council in Supernaam ask for money to do their dams whilst making the Region 3 estimates for 2004? Didn't the Regional Engineer, the Regional Executive Officer, the Regional Council, State Planning, the Ministry of Finance know that the roads and the school were in bad shape in Supernaam and asked for money to fix it? They needed Jagdeo to go there personally and dispense the money after the budget was passed? It is an administrative slap in the face. But you see we don't have a democracy here we say that we do but it is a myth, no Regional Executive Officer will open his mouth and say a word about it since according to Dr. Walter Rodney the Guyanese people have been Hatanised by Forbes Burnham, in other words Burnham turned the Guyanese people into zombies, and the PPP is trying to do the same they quietly victimising to anyone who defies them, it is every much as reprehensible as what Burnham did but at least with him you knew what the score was, there was no pretence at telling the Guyanese people that this is the dawn of a new age, what new age? Can any of you truly say that you are free to speak your mind publicly without reprisal in this country?

   I am making my position as clear as possible tonight, if I discover that any company is victimising me through pressure from the PPP not to advertise on my channel, I am going to mention your names in certain quarters or on this same channel and you will find that if those who agree with what Vieira is saying will not buy a pin from you, then you may as well close shop now. Let the PPP victimise you at Customs and the Revenue Authority, if no one will buy from you, you will go down quicker. Your best course in search of real freedom is to tell them to go to hell, and report their threats to the US embassy and the Guyana Human Rights Association.

   Look around carefully; if you are a businessman you are going down anyway, you must see it since this government has proven to be the most unfriendly government to private enterprise ever seen in the Caribbean. Just look around you, if you want to go a little at a time and die from high blood pressure, then so be it, I prefer to go out fighting, let the PPP take it all now and have done with it, don't persecute me for years before I am forced to close with nothing. None of us are getting any younger and if we have to start over somewhere else as so many of our countrymen have done over the past 40 years, then it is better that we start when we and our children are young.