It has become something of an annual event, my telling
the public how I perceive that we men spend the Christmas season, so this year I
decided to do it outside the news and play it on Christmas and Boxing days as a
sort of Christmas commentary, first I want to thank you for your support during
the year and to wish you peace and happiness in the new year, I especially want
to send a greeting to my two daughters in Canada who, now that these
commentaries are on the Internet, want to know why I continually forget them
when I send out my Christmas greetings, I have not forgotten you Amanda and
Nicole Merry Christmas.
This Christmas apart from the usual cob webbing and
moving of furniture, my wife decided that our kitchen looked horrible and that
she is not spending another second in it.
Now ladies and gentlemen those of you who know my wife
Jewel as the Boss at VCT will laugh at this, as I did, since we employ a cook
and if Jewel cooks a complete meal more than five times in any one year, I am
calling the Guinness Book of World Records people.
Nevertheless on the off chance that we may have to fire
the cook if the economy continues to go down drain the way it has been going,
and we can't afford to pay her next year, I decided to do the safe thing and
renovate the kitchen for her.
First of all "fear is the key" in trying to renovate any
house which is approaching 100 years old, and to give you an example of what
these old colonial houses like mine are like I'll give you an actual example, a
few years ago I decided to paint my bedroom and the painter having started the
job, told me that he had found that there were some rotten boards in the wall,
so I asked him to remove all the rotten boards in order that we can determine
how much new wood we will have to buy.
Several hours later when I came home from work and went
into the bedroom I was horrified to see that nearly all of the wood had been
removed, the place looked like a veranda, there were no walls at all.
So this year expecting the worst, I summoned the VCT
construction crew i.e. the boys who work in my Garden and under my personal
command, carpenter/contractor Vieira commenced the destruction of the place. I
am proud to tell you that we did not hire even one carpenter but we changed
cupboard doors which we bought from a well known hardware store in Georgetown
and sprayed them here at Versailles with car paint, of course not having a
building code in this country the new doors we bought were different to the
original, so where there were 4 cupboard doors there are now 5 and so on, the
only really difficult part of the carpentry work was rebuilding the cupboards
to the fit the new doors which were narrower, the renovation also entailed
installing a new counter top and a new sink. Now there are huge money making
Television programmes in the US, which we see on TV here, showing you how you
can "make over" your house using a few basic things and some ingenuity. This not
true here in Guyana.
I have to take my hat off to Gafoor and National
Hardware, they have achieved the impossible task of allowing the not so wealthy
Guyanese, access to affordable home building paraphernalia. If one however
wanted to be creative in a renovation or "makeover" situation in Guyana you have to be Houdini and David Copperfield combined since your choices are really
limited. But between what was available at Gafoors, National Hardware and Kei-Shar's
I managed to do the job. These are the pictures of before and after this
makeover my wife is very happy with it and so am I. And no I do not do outside
work. I will tell you that it is neater, more to my liking and cheaper than if
I had simply employed a contractor.
These little periods of rest from the normal stress of
running a media operation like VCT which is a 24 hours a day story are good for
me, the distraction of rebuilding something or the other every now and then
really relaxes me, now remember that it was I as contractor with my boys here
at Versailles who built and maintain everything that VCT owns, Blairmont, Bushy
Park, Versailles, the Quamina Street studio, in 22 years VCT has never hired a
contractor to build anything for us, we do it ourselves, we may hire extra
hands to help but never a contractor, architect etc, it also keeps me fit since
the body gets accustomed to the climbing and bending and at night you can actually
sleep for a few weeks, which is the most important thing since it keeps your
mind from dwelling on the complete nonsense going on everywhere around you.
You then forget that there is an engineer in this country
by the name of Sankies who is saying that we should be building up our
hydropower potential, something that I have been telling you for nearly three
and a half years, since I started these commentaries, this Mr. Sankies should
be made President of Guyana and we should fire Jagdeo who is wasting our scarce
money on the dead Sugar Industry, a cricket stadium, a new Caricom
Building, a new Convention Centre, a 3 billion dollar Public Service
modernization programme whilst giving the people who work in it a Paltry 5%
salary increase, what sort of nonsense is that and it is not true that the IDB
said that they must only get 5% the IDB said not more than 6%! The East
Coast Road, why such an elaborate makeover at this time?
Not one road built by the PPP in nearly 13 years is a
new road going to a new place to enhance development, all of these projects are
absolutely useless to our economy, it is criminal negligence for us not
to have had Hydro Power in this country long before now, and the PNC must share
the blame too, but I can tell you that it was an integral part of Desmond
Hoyte's economic recovery programme and so was the road to Brazil, the PPP are
going to make Guyana miss the boat with this road to Brazil too, they may have
already done so, since Chaves had promised the Brazilians in a speech earlier
this year in Manaus to build a deep water Harbor for them in Venezuela.
All of this is happening because the PPP want to hold on
to power in this country regardless of consequences to our people, and do not
want any significant migration of the 38 thousand Guyanese living in Brazil back
to Guyana to settle along this road, non of whom will vote for the PPP. A
national Census was completed this year and the full findings have never been
disclosed except that 19 thousand Indo Guyanese have migrated from region 6,
all that has happened is the PPP is finally paying a little attention to the
Amerindians what does this tell you? It tells me that the Indo Guyanese
are no longer the majority race in this country and that the Amerindians hold
the balance of power, I hope the Amerindians are not deceived by all of this "beads
passing" in their villages they have real power now and we must make the PPP
aware of it, I have looked at the New Act that this socialist Government has
proposed for the Amerindians, if these people want to go to the toilet they
have to get ministerial permission, it is the same reason we have fought a
Broadcast Bill for nearly 9 years, these are bills crafted to control
broadcasting not to regulate it, and so is this Amerindian Act and we must join
our Amerindian brothers and help to throw it out. There is a letter from one
Sharon Atkinson in the Stabroek News of December 22nd captioned
quote "draft Amerindian Act maintains Colonial relics and more" you are
perfectly correct Ms. Atkinson this is a travesty and I for one am prepared to
help the Amerindians fight it.
Ladies and Gentlemen all the Trinidadians have over us
is access to cheap power, nothing else! But look at how fast they are developing;
their budget is three billion US a year, ten times what the annual budget of Guyana is, all of our resources should be spent on getting Hydro Power and nothing
else until it is completed! When it is completed then we will build this
country there is no other way.
And don't worry with those people at Power and Light who
tell us that we don't need 600 megawatts of power; we will find a way to use it
and in doing so we will build up the private sector and create jobs for our
people, for example when the Aswan High Dam was first built in Egypt it used to
supply 80% of Egypt's total electrical requirements now it barely supplies 19%.
We will find a way to develop our economy and use the power to make value added
goods from our natural resources, furniture instead of wood, Aluminum instead
of Bauxite, alcohol from Sugar Cane.
Imagine Mr. Jagdeo's concept of using the new Skeldon Factory
to generate electricity for the national grid in a country as Rainy as Guyana, when
I ask what will happen when the rainy seasons come and the factory cannot
grind to produce bagasse I get a deafening silence, it is utter stupidity, I
always laugh at the people who regurgitate Burnham's slogan that Guyana is the
Bread Basket of the Caribbean and forget how important power is to us, sure we
have 83 thousand square miles but only the Coastal belt is viable agricultural
lands, the interior is very sandy and the savannas are mostly toxic to most
crops and difficult to access and to develop.
We need cheap reliable power to empower ourselves and
that power is here waiting for someone with a little vision to take the reigns
of government in this country and get it, 7000 megawatts of it, that is more
power than twice what every country in the Caribbean including Cuba and Haiti
uses, the people who manage our national affairs are shallow, lazy and ignorant
and somehow or the other I will have to convince you, all of you, both Indo and
Afro Guyanese, that we are better off without them.
In the mean time I will tell you where Santa Clause is
for us Guyanese, he is located along the Mazaruni river at various points with
a free gift of over 3000 megawatts of Electricity for us, this can mean huge
investment in our country, huge benefits for our peoples all we need is the
conviction and the knowledge that it has to be done and let me tell you a
secret, apparently none of them Jagdeo, Luncheon, Collymore, Nocta or Rohee
Not because I am doing a little construction work means
that I am not keeping my eye on our situation, the work men have to go home
sometime, I see our President making a long speech in the media which we are
bombarded with several times a day from Channels 11, 65 and 69 as if it is a masterpiece
of logic coming from the mouth of the almighty himself, what I see is complete
nonsense, so if you will allow me let's examine what this President is saying
in this long speech delivered Friday 17th December at the Office of
the President, to which all media were invited, now it is Christmas so I will
not burden you with all of the flaws in this speech just four or five of them,
I have already told you about this nonsense of generating electricity at
Skeldon from the new sugar Factory.
Mr. Jagdeo in this speech also tells us that the Ansa/Banks
matter should serve as a wake up call for companies to be managed properly in
order to create equity and value for their shareholders, but it is this same
Bharat Jagdeo who raised the consumption tax on Beer in this country by 10
percent last week!! So if creative management only serves to alert the
government to tax you more, why declare any profit at all?
Then he tells us that it is time for companies to start
paying attention to their shareholders, well Mr. Jagdeo I am a shareholder in
this country and I am totally dissatisfied with the way you are running it, and
so does half of the rest of the population.
He also told the media that Banks had not asked him to
get involved in the Ansa matter and so he has not done anything about the take
over, but here is a local company fighting for its very existence and all that
Jagdeo can do to help them, is increase their taxes and therefore their profits,
and he has the gall to say that they did not ask for his help? Is Jagdeo
kidding? Who at DIH would ask for his help when it is clear that his agenda is
to crucify them?
Then we come to the most subtle nonsense of all Mr.
Jagdeo says this and I Quote him "on the one hand you have 13,000 share holders
who want to maximize value ... on the other hand you have the employees who are
not sure of what the company that wants to take over will do, whether it would
break up the company and shift production elsewhere" end quote.
So let me understand this! This president is saying that
he is not concerned if production is shifted elsewhere and 1500 jobs are lost
in this country and he does not feel obligated by his oath of office to call in
Ansa and ask them what the hell their intentions are? I would!
He then tells the media workers that sooner than later
the government will get involved since the Bank of Guyana, which everyone knows
is controlled by him, will have an interest in who they are dealing with if
Ansa gets control of Citizens Bank.
So I have this question, when we privatized the Co-op Bank
and sold it to Republic Bank, an already existing Bank, why was Mr. Jagdeo totally
oblivious to the fact that Republic Bank did not want to operate the Co-Op bank
as an independent entity but to absorb it into NBIC and Republic Bank of
Trinidad and Tobago removing competition in the banking sector and in the
process were not hundreds of jobs at Co-Op Bank lost? And is the amount of
taxes we collect from NBIC today 50% less than what we used to be before they
were privatized? Did he not have an obligation to sell the Co-Op Bank to
someone who wanted to carry it on as a Bank to employ Guyanese and to pay
taxes? Why did Mr. Jagdeo not learn from it, is it because he knew what would
happen and did not care, as long as he can show foreign investment this
President doesn't seem to care how many citizens in this country loses their jobs
or what revenues are lost to the Consolidated Fund, is this anyway for a
President to behave? What kind of Economics did he study in Russia?
Would any citizen in this country vote for someone like
this? In his long, long speech of what WILL come, there is not one word
of what has been achieved in 12 years that we can identify as real progress nor
are we offered an explanation as to why this bankrupt country is being chased
down by the World Bank to channel the HIPC money to the poor.
That's what I see, not the dreamland outlined by Mr.
Jagdeo. If GINA had one functioning brain cell in the place they would withdraw
this tape from the airwaves in embarrassment and not play it ad nausium since
it displays just how much trouble we are really in, with this micro-managing President
displaying his ignorance in all of its glory, for us to see.