Tony Vieira's Comments
18 October 2017

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Written Manifesto
(Aired 24 July 2006)

Elections are now six weeks away but to the best of my knowledge no political party has yet produced for you a coherent plan for the development of this country, if you voted for them. The leaders of all of these parties contesting this election seem to feel that their very presence and the perception of the public of their abilities is enough to get them elected, frankly ladies and gentlemen that is your fault. For nearly 50 years you have selected your leaders, more for their ethnic composition than for their managerial qualities and as a consequence their vision for the development of this country seems to be irrelevant to you, and yet you are the ones who complain bitterly when the country sinks deeper into economic doom and confusion.

    Most of you, have expressed the need for change, if true, then you have to look around you and see which party is offering the right vision for a reversal of our economic woes. None of them have and I don't care if the PPP or the PNC produced one in 2001 since like the obsolete list we are setting up to use in this 2006 elections, a 2001 manifesto from any party would be obsolete, useless and out of context today. So now lets see what you the people want, its is all about you, it is not about keeping Rohee, Shadik, Collymore, Lambada etc in power, it is about who you see as being capable of taking you to prosperity and respecting your rights.

   A professional survey conducted in this country last year October tells us that as a nation, your main concerns are about money and security, the poll showed that 76 percent of you are preoccupied with 4 main issues the most important one is the cost of living, 23% of you said that it was too high; 22% of you said that you felt that unemployment was unacceptably high; 16 % of you said that you felt that the economy of the country was going down the tubes; and 15 % of you said that crime was a real concern to your security.

    Not one the parties contesting the 2006 elections have to date offered a comprehensive written manifesto or plan as to how they intend to deal with these four issues of burning concern to you, for example only 6% of you had housing issues, only 2% had education issues, only 4% had health issues! it is not that these are not major issues that are not of concern to you, all you have to do is look at what C.N. Sharma is exposing daily and you will see that health, housing and education etc. are real issues that affect your daily lives, but they pale into insignificance in your minds when compared to your four major areas of concern which are 1. The cost of living. 2. The economy. 3. Unemployment. and 4. Crime.

   What do you the people think about the way the PPP government is addressing these issues? lets see what the poll says, 8% of you said they were dealing with these bread and butter issues in an excellent manner, and 27% said that they were doing a good job dealing with them, but a whopping 39% of you said that the PPP was not doing a good job dealing with these problems and 26% said that they were doing a downright poor job in dealing with them. That's 65% of you, the people, saying that the PPP just can't cut it. If racial considerations can be effectively removed from the electoral equation, the PPP would have been out of power yesterday!!

   Dealing with these 4 major issues will inevitably require a plan, a written plan, from each party contesting this election and they will have to tell you how they will address these 4 problem areas. Now remember that of the 1300 people polled approximately half were women so one can safely say that even though important, women's issues are not preoccupying our sisters in this country since it did not even register as an issue in this poll.

    Now I have to say that like you I have a vision of what has to be done to set things right and I am looking for the party that shows me the best plan; it starts with the rule of law, now numerous persons have called me to sympathise with me about this trespass by the NFMU to seize my FM equipment and the failure of the justice system to protect me, as outlined in the commentary I did last week, and I thank you for that; so we must start with justice. We have to set up a mechanism that isolates the court from political or executive interference, Judges must be chosen in a way that involves the parliament, in a significant way in other words like the National Development Strategy recommends, a judge cannot be appointed unless 2/3 of the parliament agrees. Now a lot of you believe deep down that good judges and the rule of law has nothing to do with the economy, jobs and unemployment, and you would be wrong, people invest legitimate money which is the good investment, the ones that create jobs and wealth for a nation in countries where they know that if something goes wrong they have recourse to the law, that their properties and their employees will be protected by the law; so a proper judicial system is essential to investment, just as investment is essential to creating jobs and rejuvenating the economy .

   Without the rule of law you cannot have investment, you cannot have decent politics and you cannot have a decent economy, or a decent society, or security, so it's very important ladies and gentlemen and you must demand it from the persons you decide you will allow to rule you, they must rule you by using the rule of law to protect you and not to bend the law to protect themselves, that is not the democratic way, but that is the way we have been going since Independence. In this year's budget we allocated 619,260 million to the Supreme Court that is only 6 percent of the national budget, I think that the allocation to the Supreme Court should be at least 1.2 billion dollars to make it function properly.     

   Then these political aspirants are going to have to tell us how we will stimulate the economy to create jobs and make us a more prosperous nation, this country has the potential to generate 7500 Megawatts of power from Hydro electricity. We are generating none, a company called Synergy was begging this government since 1995 to allow them to build a hydro power facility at Amelia Falls, after numerous delays Sam Hinds gave them a license to build the Hydro power facility, but ESBI refused to sign the agreement to buy even 50 megawatts of power from the company building the hydro power station and after years of waiting the company left. So right now I don't want to listen to Mr. Jagdeo telling me about getting Hydro power after elections, he had his chance and he blew it. The Brazilians through Investe Brazil were going to build a road from our coastland to Boa Vista including fibre optic connections to Boa Vista and Manaus since these areas are not now serviced by the Americas 2 cable, included in the deal was a 1500 megawatt hydro project located at Tortuba in the Mazuruni River, these collaborations with Brazil offered real developments for us including smelting of our bauxite but for whatever reason the PPP apparently does not like doing business with our Brazilian neighbours, they prefer to take hand outs from China and India, ladies and gentlemen if I live to be 1000 years old I will never understand this nonsense, these northern states of Brazil need us as partners to develop their country I don't know of one reason why India would need us except to buy Indian goods. the other day one of my friends expressed the view that an alliance with Brazil can gobble us up, and I had to ask him how, since I thought it ridiculous that such a concept can even cross someone's mind but he was serious, I was then forced to ask him if he was aware that the oil pipeline from Russia to Western Europe passed through the Ukraine and around 5 years ago the Ukrainians started demanding large increases for these pipelines on their land which the Russians could not pay so they diverted the pipeline, they did not gobble up the Ukraine as they could have the UN would not have allowed it, they found a way to bypass them. So if we do the deal with Brazil and part of the agreement is that any transgression on either side will be conciliated by the European Union or the World or US courts it gives protection. What is wrong with us? When will we get rid of this small town mentality and think big?

   That's what you have to vote for ladies and gentlemen you have to vote for people with vision who think big, to create wealth for all of our people; that's how you have progress; that's how you create jobs, that's how you grow and that's how can afford to pay for your security.

   So I want to see some manifestos, and I want to see them in writing. This is not a time for star boys, it is time for competent men of vision to take this nation out of the hole it is currently in, and make it realise its potential.