Tony Vieira's Comments
22 October 2017

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What Comes From Above
(Aired 24 January 2006)

    All my life I have heard people saying that "what comes from above are blessings" Like most of you I always thought that this was the most limp cliché ever invented by man on this planet, and I will come back to it later.

    Very soon after starting these commentaries in 2001 I have been saying that the PPP have been very lucky since coming to power, because they have not received the kind of rain this country historically gets; between 1992 and 2004 the average rainfall per annum in Demerara was 75 inches. Last year 2005 it was 135 inches in Demerara but this exact figure of 135 inches was what we received as an average between 1966 to 1976.

    I don't have to describe for you what happened as a result of our un-preparedness and incompetence to maintain our drainage system at its designed parameters, you saw that for yourself, but even after we experienced the disaster of January 2005 the sharing of corrupt contracts to rebuild and maintain our drainage infrastructure continued to be done by unqualified people who could not solve these problems for you, in 2005 the PPP Government under public pressure set up a task Force to do the things necessary to rectify the system, but promptly disbanded this Task Force when the situation returned to normalcy and handed it back to the very incompetent, corrupt officials who created the problem in the first place and so the millions we spent allegedly rebuilding the drainage system was wasted since the money was not spent wisely, or spent in the wrong areas, with little or no supervision by those incompetent drunkards we are paying to be our managers, with disastrous results again this year!

    Since starting these commentaries a lot of you out there accused me of being anti-government, of not liking the PPP, well, what I was warning you about came to pass in a manner that you can see tangibly in January 2005 when the entire drainage system in the Demerara region fell to pieces due to neglect and poor management and the result was flooding everywhere. Incredibly we learnt nothing and so you are subjected to it again now!

    First I want to correct a few misconceptions, in the past it was not unusual to get 30 inches of rain in May and 30 inches in June during what is our biggest rainfall season.

   I have seen a lot of people in the media making this mistake that the December/January rainy season is our main/heavy rainy season. It is not true!

    Over the past 100 years our records show that more rain fell in May/June than in December/January. There were even some years when the December/January rains did not come at all, but the May/June rainfall season has never failed to come.

    But there is one important difference between our two rainfall seasons, and we are only now beginning to understand it due to advances in weather predicting through satellites, the use of Doppler radar etc, since occasionally when the intertropical convergence zone is in enough turbulence the December/January rains can fall with more intensity. i.e. more rain can fall in 3-7 days that the average of the May/June rains.

    But make no mistake about it ladies and gentlemen the May/June rains have historically produced much more rainfall as a total for the rainy season than the December January rains.

    So let's get back to why we have these problems, the PPP have consistently refused to allow anyone other than close PPP supporters to make an input in any area of the workings of the state, examples include denying opposition members from occupying positions on state run and other boards such as GUYSUCO, the Procurement Commission etc. and numerous other state entities.

    I keep coming back to the Procurement Commission which is required by the Constitution itself and which the PPP have refused to implement and it certainly would have given some transparency to the process of allocating all of the contracts in this nation from maintaining schools, roads and the drainage system; but they have refused to allow anyone other than PPP people to have a say in anything, so what you see happening is the responsibility of the PPP totally and no one else.  Unfortunately we, their bosses, since it is our vote that puts them in charge and it is our taxes that pays their salaries, have allowed it to happen and so we will have to share in the blame, we have stood by and allowed it to happen for 40 years because we were not voting for the best possible people to run your affairs, but what colour they were.

   Of course during a substantial period of this time we lost the option of having our voices heard at all since the ballot was manipulated and I don't want any fool writing to tell me that I said nothing then, I was just a young estate manager and there was no mechanism for me to say anything. So much of what we see happening here is our own fault. The question is have we learnt anything?

    And if you think that it was only the drainage system that has been mutilated, think again the other disasters are not as visible but they are there nevertheless, I have pointed most of them out to you in these commentaries.

   I have been telling you that there is incompetence in the legal system, the two British Judges Baker and Lewis confirmed this, I have told you that there is massive corruption in the constriction, of all roads, schools, drainage and other buildings, the IDB and the World Bank now concur, they have even decided that no more money will be allocated to this Government until they produce a proper feasibility study of each project, the Berbice Bridge, the Sugar expansion at Skeldon and the Stadium and I am sorry to be the one to tell you this, but everything else in this country is on the verge of collapse, the floods are tangible evidence of incompetence and it creates direct suffering to you since its physical presence cannot be hidden like the other evidence of corruption I have been telling you about, but the fact of the matter is that GUYSUCO is bankrupt they could not pay their Annual Production Incentive this yeas, I just want to remind every one that in 1992 GUYSUCO paid almost 2 billion dollars in Levy to the national treasury, today we have to fetch them on our backs with our taxes. The Rice Industry has also virtually collapsed, there was negative growth last year, the economy is in a complete mess, so we are going downhill, fast, I will not even dwell on Fishing and Bauxite. These floods are the last straw, a final wake up call.

    And so we come back to the saying that "what comes from above are blessings" if it takes this rainfall and the consequential damage it is doing to us economically and physically and I want you to know that my family lost 55 million dollars last year a lot of which was due to the rain but was also due to victimisation from a rat in GUYSUCO which I will deal with later, I want you to know that I for one, hope that the people in this country are learning something and that when the time comes, we will do what is necessary to rectify the situation by putting our x at a spot where it will make a difference. If we don't, then we will be doomed to continue like this until we all fall down from lepto or starvation.

It is as if God himself is sending this last message to us in the clearest possible terms to inform us that there may still be time to save ourselves but to do that we have to change the way we select our leaders, so if you look at it that way then yes "what comes from above are blessings"