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
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
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"