Tony Vieira's Comments
18 October 2017

Updates!

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

E-Mail Address:

View Article

Sam is the Man in the Band
(Aired 11 August 2006)

    On the evening of Monday 7th August I was treated to the most incredible sight; it was our Prime Minister Mr. Sam Hinds in such a rage that he was literally stuttering and flabbergasted I never understood what this word meant until I Saw Sam Hinds literally babbling and unable to form a coherent sentence, he was trying to find the words to describe his outrage that the PNCR 1G had, on the day after the Linden rally on Channel 9, made a false report as did the Stabroek news that only 300 people attended the PPPC's rally in linden. He said the PNCR-1G must have been so disappointed by the large turnout to the PPP/C rally that it launched a misinformation campaign about the attendance at the rally. He said it would seem that Stabroek News was merely repeating the opposition's campaign of lies and misinformation during this election period. And that he was disappointed but not surprised by the Stabroek News' report.

   So tonight I want to address misinformation, deception and lies in this country, the first one I will address has to do with the Alcoa matter which I told you about on 25th June 2001. Alcoa is the biggest aluminium company in the world with annual sales of 22.9 billion US dollars. This is the story after the 2001 elections the PPP had won but they had also agreed to have dialog with Hoyte on his 17 demands, now number one on the list of demands was the resuscitation of bauxite industry and the rejuvenation of the Linden community, having agreed to this dialog between Jagdeo and Hoyte, the PPP government in the person of Sam Hinds should not have been conducting secret negotiations with Alcoa about the Araroima mine which ultimately blew up in his face when the unions and the PNCR discovered that he was negotiating for Alcoa to merge Bermine and Araroima mines and in the process some jobs would have been lost, nothing was wrong with that, since when for example GT&T first started up they laid off half the workforce and doubled the salaries of the half that were left; now Hoyte was a reasonable man, so if Hinds or Jagdeo had called him and disclosed this dilemma Desmond Hoyte would have listened but when he discovered this bad faith by Hinds of negotiating behind his back during the Dialog, all hell broke loose and in the explosion that followed Alcoa withdrew from Guyana took one dollar for the millions of dollars in equipment they left behind, went to Suriname and promptly invested 2 billion US dollars in the Bauxite Industry there. We lost big in this deal and Hinds' secrecy, deception and stupidity caused it. Mr. Hinds does not know want real anger and frustration is.

   Then we had the Guyana Power and Light deal with ESBI, I want everyone to know that whilst Mr. Hinds was secretly negotiating the ESBI deal which established a new power company in this country which would not be bound by any regulatory authority such as the Public Utilities Commission [PUC], and consequently gave GP&L the power to raise the price of your electricity anytime they wanted, a concession which has led to so much hardship for you with the resultant escalating electrical costs, the company Synergy that wanted to put a Hydropower station at Amelia falls, had already approached the government to sign an agreement to supply hydro power delivered at Sophia for a fixed fee, which would go down to nearly 4 cents a kilowatt hour in 10 years after the project first came on stream. Instead of going for the Hydro Power deal Synergy was offering him, which was clearly the obvious choice, our Prime Minister made that ridiculous deal with ESBI in such complete secrecy that the opposition only knew about it after, he signed it. He even went to parliament and passed laws setting up the company which would not be responsible to the PUC so that ESBI and Power and Light could put the screws to this nation. Mr. Hinds does not know want real anger and frustration is.

    As a result of the Dialog process in 2001 a Bipartisan board on Broadcasting was established to decide on a system which would allow the opposition time on the national state owned media including the Chronicle, GBC & GTV the specific demand by Hoyte was number three of his 17 demands, so it was important to him, and I quote it "the immediate end to the political monopoly of state owned radio and the introduction of independent management of GTV, GBC, the state owned newspaper and the National Frequency Management Unit" I want everyone to know why this came up on Hoyte's list of demands, it came up because he was denied access to GBC during the 2001 election campaign, they even refused to play his ads for which he was prepared to pay, during the time this Bipartisan Board was meeting Mr. Hinds as the subject minister responsible for broadcasting called in all of the owners of the television stations and conducted secret meetings with them, setting up their annual fee structure for broadcasting, this was a matter which was supposed to be handled by the Broadcast Authority when set up according to the guidelines that the Bi-partisan Board on Broadcasting would define. Desmond Hoyte was fit to be tied at this deception and show of bad faith. Mr. Hinds does not know want real anger and frustration is.

   Having frustrated the work of the Bi-partisan board, Mr. Hinds told those of us who wanted to expand, that one of the bipartisan boards decisions was that no new licenses would be granted for television until the broadcast authority was formed, now whilst it was true that the Bipartisan Board did say no new licenses until the Broadcast authority was formed, this was not intend to restrict those with existing stations who would like to expand in an effort to serve the public's interest, convenience and necessity, so whilst I agree that the Bi-partisan board on broadcasting had recommended that no new stations would come on  the air, at no time was that intended to mean that existing stations would not be allowed to expand, the hypocrisy is that GTV have been allowed to expand, there is a 400 foot tower in New Amsterdam transmitting television which was not there last year August. Mr. Hinds does not know what real anger and frustration is.

   The PPP keeps repeating the lie that they brought democracy back to this country, any lie repeated often enough will begin to enter the consciousness of people, but by denying these fundamental freedoms that a democracy requires 1. Access by the opposition leaders to the state boards so that they could be part of the decision making process, 2. Breaking the monopoly of radio. 3. Agreeing to, but not, putting in place the Procurement Commission comprising members of the opposition as is required by the constitution itself, to ensure that contracts are awarded fairly. 4. Denying the people of Linden the democratic right to hear the views of their leaders, in fact to hear the views of anyone other than the PPP. 5. Attempting to manipulate these 2006 elections through GECOM. 6. Tampering with the 1997 elections results, I want to remind everyone that the PPP never got a judge to say that they did not temper with the 1997 elections, the judge in the Ester Pereira matter found that there was definite evidence of tampering, but that the PNC had not presented enough evidence to establish that the tampering affected the result of the elections, the Honourable Judge did however set aside the result and ordered a new election in 2001. 7. Anyone who does not understand that Mark Benchop is a political prisoner in this country is not paying attention and having political prisoners is not the democratic way.  8. Any government that forms an association with a known and accused drug lord to help it to fight crime and conduct extrajudicial killings, an association which ultimately led to the escalation rather than the curbing of crime in this country, cannot possibly lay claim to being a democracy. 9. Using state funds to bribe people by waiting close to an election to have a cabinet out reach thereby giving yourself an unfair advantage over the opposition is completely unacceptable and probably breaches the law itself as outlined in the Representation of the Peoples Act. Prime Minister Hinds does not know what real anger and frustration is. I was at the Linden rally, I don't know how many people were at the PNCR 1G rally because it is, as the editor of the Stabroek news said, hard to estimate these things, but I saw thousands of people and the next day an independent observer of the WPA told me that the crowd for the PNCR one Guyana platform, was 10 times bigger than the one for the PPPC. Last Saturday night the people of Linden voted and the PPP lost, big! That's why PM Sam is so upset. Learn to hold your anger chap, we have! Ladies and gentlemen my name is Tony Vieira and I am a member of the PNCR 1Guyana platform.