Tony Vieira's Comments
18 October 2017


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

E-Mail Address:

View Article

(Aired 13 May 2005)

    My dictionary tells me that the word manifesto means a public written declaration of the intentions, opinions, or motives of a sovereign {a King} or a leader, a political party or a body.

    My commentary outlining what a third force should be, was replayed on Friday it was first presented to you by me in December 2004.

    Apparently a third force could take the elections next year since it is not possible for any government to be as unpopular as the PPP and still win an election, but this is Guyana and anything can happen. We must remember that in the 1997 elections petition case enough evidence was presented to the Judge so she ruled that irregularities did take place, but that the PNC were unable to establish, with the evidence they led in the trial, that the irregularities could have affected the outcome, let me repeat this for those who, like me, like their story plain, this judge did not tell us that the PPP and Doodnauth Singh did not commit what amounted to acts of interference to the transparency of the elections in 1997, she ruled that they did commit acts of interference but that these acts as far as what was presented to her in the trial were not enough to null the election. So this Judge found that the PPP did attempt to rig in 1997.

   This brings me to the important question I want you to answer, would the PPP rig an election? The answer is yes! This government has proved itself to be more dishonest than any government we ever had, so why would they stop at rigging?   

    Before I get involved in this question of Manifesto I want to tell you that all of these contenders are my friends, except Mr. Ramsaroop whom I do not have the pleasure of knowing personally, but Paul Hardy, Sheila Holder, Ravi Dev, Raphiel Trotman , Khemraj Ramjattan, Joey Jagan and C.N. Sharma are all friends some are even very close friends and it would be my fondest wish if they got together and comprise the third force, since in their own way they have a lot to contribute and they have all showed courage in coming forward. But since you do not know exactly where these people stand on certain issues you have a right to ask them to tell you, before, you rush out to embrace them.

    So now we come to their manifesto, their public statement of what they stand for. Since independence and the socialist policies of Burnham, and then Jagan this country has had a closed land policy. No one owns a square foot of land in Black Bush Polder or the MMA scheme all the land is leased to various people but no one is allowed to own it, I found that it was impossible to buy a piece of land on the banks of the Essequibo river and if you were not a friend of the government it was impossible to even lease a piece, now if the private sector is going to be the engine of growth then all of this will have to change. Of course it is important to have foreign inflow of capital to fuel the economy, but investment can also come from your own local business community but they can't function if the government's private sector policies are choking them, high up on the list of priorities is to protect them from competitors who are laundering drug money, it is impossible for local business people to compete with that, there are even examples of local investors being penalised because their political allegiance is not what this government wants it to be. So the third force will have to tell us where they stand on ownership of land and they will have to tell us where they stand on the current private sector mutilation going on right before your eyes from unfair competition, outrageous Electrical power charges, and non existent government support, private sector mutilation destroys jobs, so if you revitalise the private sector, you create employment.

    They are going to have to tell us where they stand on the issue of the Amerindian Ancestral Lands, at Independence the British as a condition of granting Burnham independence asked him to honour their commitment to the Amerindians to ownership of 24 thousand of the 86 thousand square miles and he promised to honour it there was even a Commission set up in 1969 identifying this 24,000 square miles of land, the PNC and the PPP have whittled this 24,000 square miles down to 4,000 square miles, neither the PNC nor the PPP have ever honoured this agreement, ladies and gentlemen you can't build a decent nation when one of the first things you agreed to on forming your new nation was a lie.

   They are going to have to tell you exactly how they intend to separate the Executive from the Judicial and the Legislative branches of government, so that the three will never again be controlled by one person and operate like a dictatorship as it does now. This will have to include fundamental changes to the way our parliament functions as outlined by Sir Michael Davies. For example I see Mr. Collymore telling the public that he does not care what the PNC does or thinks, he is putting in an interim body to run Region 6 and everyone can go to hell, that's why there is no security in this country. There never will be, with this kind of attitude.

   They are going to have to tell us where they stand with freedom of speech issues and whether they will continue to allow state monopolies in the broadcasting media. Tonight as I am speaking to you there is a move to make NCN more powerful in preparation for the 2006 elections, i.e. the government has advanced 100 million dollars of your taxes to NCN to make their propaganda machine more powerful, this comes at a time when Trinidad has divested itself of all state media since they have been forced by the law itself to treat state media as owned by the people and not by the government, this 100 million dollars comes from the taxes of people who voted for the PNC but it is being used to build a propaganda machine for the PPP to which the PNC have no access. Words fail me to adequately describe this nonsense.

   They are going to have to tell you if they are prepared to fight for a freedom of information act and an impartial Broadcast Authority which will regulate and not seek to control broadcasting.

   They are going to have to tell you truthfully where they stand on the Guyana/Brazil issue, are they going to throw in our lot with Brazil which needs us? or continue this disastrous relationship with Caricom, members of which are abusing our citizens.

   They are going to have to tell you exactly how they intend to solve Guyana's growing fuel and energy crisis this will of course have to include hydro power which this government is only paying lip service to building, why build another factory at Skeldon when sugar is dead and why waste money on a stadium which we will only use once why not take that 200 million US and build a hydro power facility for your people.

   They are going to have to tell you how they will force the reinstatement of our crime fighting capabilities so that the police can indeed protect and serve us, fundamental to this would be an increase of pay to the police force as a top priority.    

   They are going to have to tell you how they will enforce the constitution so that every person is equal under the law.

    They are going to have to tell you how they will encourage the PPP and the PNC to sit down and talk, this third force must understand that if they gain control they will still have to deal with the PPP and the PNC as opposition in Parliament and if they merely end up with the balance of power they will have to tell you how they intend to arbitrate between these two parties to bring cooperation, peace and development to this nation. It would be unacceptable to me as a member of this third force if it ended up with the Mr. Collymore's "to hell with all of you this is what we doing" attitude.

     These are just a few important areas to which we require answers.

     All that I ask is this time let us put people in power that will put the country first and forget personal aggrandisement, become a politician to build your nation, not to fill your pockets from the process. If these people who are our friends understand this, then they will be a proper third force worthy of your support.