Tony Vieira's Comments
18 October 2017

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Information Technology [IT]
(Aired 19 April 2006)

    Recently at our new Convention Centre the building of which puts us deeper in debt to communist China, our President told the nation about his commitment to Information Communication Technology. Before I start, I want to point out to the Guyanese people the difference in size of the Chinese Embassy in Guyana compared to those in Trinidad, Jamaica and Barbados. Why does the Chinese Government need this huge embassy here in Guyana the poorest nation in CARICOM? well the answer could only be that the Chinese see Guyana as the focal point of access to Latin America especially Brazil's trade expansion to international markets, something which inexplicably the PPP just do not seem either to grasp or have not capitalised on by building the road to Brazil, I guess that they are too busy granting Casino Licenses to people to launder drug money to bother with real development. But I think that I know the reason why, the PPP is afraid of the demographic changes that can accompany a major trade and development collaboration with Brazil and the rest of South America, because those associations could affect the demographics of Guyana and change the voting pattern, and I want you to consider this, to stay in power the PPP are not prepared to embark on alliances that could make this a wealthy nation simply because it can remove them from power. If that is not the most obscene thing you ever heard, then tell me what is!  

      In its joint report for the years 2000 and 2001 the Public Accounts Committee chaired by opposition member and chairman of the PNC Winston Murray, who is in my opinion the most lethal opposition MP in Guyana, Murray reported that there was inadequate use of information technology; archaic and cumbersome systems; inadequate supervision leading to diseconomy, inefficiency, ineffectiveness in the use of resources; non-compliance with the Financial Administration and Audit Act (FAAA); unsatisfactory management of cash resources; failure to reconcile bank accounts; non compliance with tender board regulations and poor control over the use of government vehicles. The Public Accounts Committee's work was hampered by lack of information concerning Divestment deals; the Auditor General's report is produced consistently late due to slackness by the Ministries and the staffing problems at the Auditor General's office. I must add that since Anand Goolsaran left it has become worse; and says Murray, the Auditor General report contains numerous repeated reports of irregularities which are not heeded, of course I have been telling you all of this since 2001, the Bank of Guyana statistics are now produced on beautiful shiny paper but reveals practically no information, it has become a document/report that conceals rather than reveals information, we have not seen any report from the NIS tabled in the parliament since the PPP took office, we have not seen an annual report from GUYSUCO since 2001 and there has been no comprehensive report on any privatisation of national assets placed before the Parliament since 1992. In other words accountability has been non existent. So we come back to the President telling us how committed he and his government are to Information Communication Technology. All the things that I have listed above is information in its purest form, this information has to be communicated to the people on whose behalf the government functions in this case you the Guyanese voters, but the PPP is short changing you and are producing information which is unreliable, late and sometimes non existent and let me say this our new auditor General is totally unqualified for that job, you will understand why!

   Information Communication Technology is the practice of using new technological advances in communications to disseminate information. No matter how good the technology, if those in charge refuse to make the information available then it is a waste of time, so Mr. Jagdeo should not be standing up in the convention centre telling us how committed he is to information dissemination, he then repeats this hypocrisy of wanting to break the monopoly of GT&T but at the same time he breaks every convention we have ever signed on to concerning free speech, by keeping the monopoly of radio to himself.  A week ago I had the displeasure of seeing 3 members of the PPP masseurs Rohee, Jeffrey and Collymore on Christopher Ram's "Plain Talk" I will not dwell of the nonsense these three had to tell the nation, I just want to reveal that Rohee said words to the effect that all the government had to communicate their ideas and accomplishments to the public were one newspaper, one radio Station and one Television Station. That's all poor Cement has to communicate his government's propaganda on any matter to the public; and they do it 24 hours a day on the electronic media and 100 percent of the print in the newspaper.

    It totally escapes Cement that the PNC, WPA, GAP, ROAR supporters are paying for these state owned entities with their taxes and have no say whatsoever on them, it also escapes his attention that the newspaper represents 33% of that media, the radio represents 100 percent of that media and the television station is the only network other then VCT in the country and that it enjoys a monopoly in Linden. That's all the media that poor Cement has to communicate his opinion and that of his poor colleagues like Colly to the public!

     Andre Griffith, Canadian -trained telecommunications engineer and Chairman of the Information Communication Technology convention forum said at the ICT Workshop  that, having systems in place to ensure that information is available on every transaction, and every procurement is essential, nothing in Guyana is more clouded in secrecy than procurement and government transactions, he also said that a sound Information Communication Technology (ICT) strategy and infrastructure are essential prerequisites for a modern competitive business sector, how can the business sector function when the Bank of Guyana itself produces information that clouds rather than reveals the production of Sugar, Rice, Bauxite, gold, Lumber, fish, and other industries so that we are unable compare it to the production of previous years to make informed decisions as to what is doing well and what is not! One look at the Bank of Guyana's Bulletins for 2002 and for  2005 will immediately reveal, that in 2002 you could tell what the production was for sugar from 1992 to 2002 i.e. there was a 10 year flow chart of production in the major sectors but in the 2005 report you cannot tell what the sugar production was in 1995! The flow charts that show the 10 year production trends in each sector have been eliminated from the 2005 Bank of Guyana report, thus you have to do your own research through the old records to find out if we are trending upwards or downwards.

   But who am I to argue with our President? He wants better Information Communications Technology i.e. ever more modern, complex and efficient methods of communicating non-information! What is hilarious is that at the tabling of the three modifications to the 2000 law regarding registration Doodnauth Singh had the effrontery to say words to this effect, I don't know why there's all this suspicion at these changes, they are necessary and they are harmless; well Mr Nauth if you deceive people enough, sooner than later they will become suspicious of your every action. And frankly since ongoing registration has been a total failure, relying on it and removing the provision for registration as required in the 2000 act is ridiculous, also please note that it's a little late in the day to implement it, and frankly sir, it stinks to high heaven as did your election in 1997. The first real step to true information communication technology in this country would be a Freedom of Information Act.