Since 2003 I had proposed a third force in this country since the animosity
between the PPP and the PNC, the Indo Guyanese and the Afro Guyanese in this
nation was very high, the third force was supposed to come in after an election
and take control of the parliament i.e. neither the PNC or the PPP would have a
clear majority and the third force would make the PPP and the PNC work together
for a more equitable sharing of the national pie and to curb the excess of the
PPP, since believing that they cannot be defeated in an election, has made the
PPP bolder in their corruption to the point of breaking the law in the
execution of their job of running the country. Under such a situation the third
force could force shared governance between the two sides.
It is my opinion that if Mr. Jagdeo would spend more time democratising the
system and running the country like a good manager, since that is what he was elected
to do, we would have made some little progress since he became president; too
much of his time is spent micromanaging numerous situations for two reasons 1.
To enrich his cronies and friends and 2. To control, the situation in the
country, even to the extent of creating fear and deprivation of rights and thereby
stultifying economic growth in certain sectors of it. Linden is a good example.
Sugar is also a good example.
We were doing well under Desmond Hoyte, the PPP don't like to talk about the Desmond
Hoyte years 1985 to 1992 because it was a bright shining light in the total darkness
from 1964 to now.
Hoyte had one plan on his agenda; to manage the nation's economic situation on
behalf all ethnic groups and it took courage, everyone remembers mo fiah and
slow fiah but do they remember his supporters calling him Desmond Persaud
because of his even handed policy of sharing the wealth in this country? There
is absolutely no possibility of anyone calling this president Bharat Smith,
Hoyte's agenda was not to control everything in the country like Jagdeo,
Broadcasting, central tender board, judicial system, privatisation of
everything, religion, economy, sugar expansion, cable operators, monopoly of
radio, vendors etc. it was to manage the economy equitably.
The result is that at the end of Hoyte's presidency the country had a
legitimate growth rate of 7% which by 1999 under the PPP slowed to 3%, if that.
There are men in this country who are top economists and accountants who query
this 3% growth rate, and since Jagdeo has now been labelled a man who produces
junk economics and lies, we have to ask ourselves where is this growth? We do
see a lot of buildings going up all around us, but how much of it is being done
from the proceeds of drug runnings and how much from legitimate businesses? The
fact is, we just don't know!
It is certainly not from any agricultural enterprise, the Bank of Guyana tell
us that in 1999 when Mrs Jagan demitted office due to ill health what our
production in the various sectors were expressed as GDP at the 1988 prices, I
want to stress this, ladies and gentlemen these are the dollar value of our
products expressed at the 1988 prices, so they may seem low but it gives us an
idea of where our output is improving and where is falling behind; in Agriculture
Forestry and Fishing was 1.7 billion in 1999 but in 2009 after 10 years of Jagdeo
micromanaging this economy it dropped to 1.5 billion, so we dropped behind in
agricultural output in those 10 years; how did we do in mining let's see,
mining and quarrying was 591 million in 2009 it dropped to 437 million in 2009.
In manufacturing sugar, rice, other was 654 million in 1999 and dropped to 627
in 2009. But construction rose from 424 million in 1999 to nearly 700 million
in 2009! Services which include things like distribution, transport and
communications, rental of dwellings financial services, Government costs etc.
was 1.1 billion in 1999 and rose to 3.1 billion in 2009! Do you see why you
have to pay Vat and other taxes to cover all of this government expenditure in
the face of falling production? In conclusion therefore all production is
declining but the cost of running the country is escalating completely out of
control. So it is a myth that we are growing, if the price of gold had not gone
through the roof in the last three years I can't tell you where we would have
been, so we were lucky but can anyone run a country depending purely on luck?
Gambling with people's taxes hoping for a miracle? If this situation was
managed by 10 competent men led by a President committed to managing fairly and
equitably ensure that contracts are awarded to competent contractors in a
non-corrupt manner and other expenses are kept in control, we would be able to
do away with Vat completely and that is what I want, no VAT!
Which is why as a manager I have been looking at the economic situation with a
view of running a tighter ship, not to deprive the country of anything but to
pay public servants a better salary to improve the standard of education rather
than building and rebuilding inferior school buildings which do not last, to
put a proper commissioner of police in the saddle and give the police better
wages, conditions, and incentives so that they can do their jobs with
dedication, if we can't offer proper salaries to compete with the drug trade bribes,
we have something better, land! For example any police officer who works
dedicatedly for 10 years, we give him or her a free house lot, we must stop
them from functioning as they are now around the country with only 42% of our
people expressing confidence in their performance, deliberately harassing the
public on the streets whether they are traffic police or not demanding a lef or
So now we come back to the Third Force in 2003 I did a comment in which I
declared my intention to join the United Force and closer to election time I
would try to see if it is possible to get control of it and collate it with the
other smaller parties to see if it was possible to make a third force in
parliament, I never did, since by the time the 2006 election approached I was
helping to form the AFC, since I am serious, I do not have any political
ambitions I sure as hell don't want to be President but after the AFC was
formed, I saw some strange and disturbing developments in that party which I
will not go into here but I decided to leave the AFC, and Stanley Ming asked me
to Join the one Guyana platform which I did.
After the Gumite and Chantal Smith fiascos and after a public statement by
Ramjattan that he would never join the PNC in a collation all my doubts about
the AFC were confirmed, I have written before on the lack of support from the
AFC which further weakened an already weak opposition, for example the PNC-R
one G asked them to give support to boycott the first day of Parliament when
Jagdeo was slated to speak to the house since we were forced to contest an
election with a flawed list, they undertook to join us in the boycott but
whilst 21 of us PNCR-one G members were sitting in Congress Place, Clarissa
Rheil was in Brickdam checking out the Parliament and at 5 minutes to 2PM she
called to tell us to get down there quickly since the AFC were going into the
house, if the PNC were not there Trotman would have been made the leader of the
opposition, you ladies and gentlemen tell me what this means? At numerous
select committees which selected the members of the service commissions Sheila Holder
voted with the PPP and did not support the opposition. Now we are told that of
the 4 existing companies which will benefit from Jagdeo's reorganisation of the
telecommunications sector Ms. Holder's husband's company will one. And what was
to me the most vile betrayal of the opposition is this; since getting into
parliament Jagdeo formed the integrity commission, now anyone with one cataract
infected eye can see that the PPP functionaries and cronies are building mansions
in this country and expressing other sorts of inexplicable wealth given their
salaries, so the opposition expressed no confidence in the Integrity Commission
and we decided that none of us would produce any information about our assets but
the PPP functionaries' assets were growing alarmingly and this Integrity Commission
said nothing! So our position was that until we saw a properly constituted and
autonomous Integrity Commission we would not recognise it or file, on the 6th
of March 2011, I read that Ramjattan had again broken ranks with the opposition
and agreed to supply his information. To my mind, and I could be wrong, I think
that the AFC is far more likely to join the PPP than to join the opposition
against the PPP. Their performance so far shows this quite clearly. I saw it
before the 2006 election and that's why I left it.
we come to the PNC they had a perfect candidate in Winston Murray but for some
reason they did not want him, so they put him in a presidential candidate race
which he did not survive, I cannot begin to tell you how hurt he was that he
was forced to run all over the country campaigning against Granger, it was
unnecessary and it was ridiculous. But we all know what happened, next they had
5 candidates and at the end of the process Granger supported openly by the PNC
and Corbin emerged as the winner; but how did he win? Well, only 42% of the
delegates said that they wanted Granger, 58% voted for someone else, Basil
Williams 88 votes, Harding 20, Bond 13 etc., and Granger only pipped Greenidge
by around 13 votes, therefore given this very slim margin especially since it does
not account for more than 50% of the delegates' votes, right then, at that same
congress, there should have been a run off between these two men Greenidge and
Granger but the PNC in their wisdom did not allow such a run off so Granger [and
I have nothing against him except that he apparently does not fully understand
his situation] given his backers in the PNC, is not a popular candidate, so
supporting the PNC is not an option at this time.
The PPP has the same problem there is division in the party, the selection of
Ramoutar and the subsequent discontent among the supporters of the PPP who
wanted other people had left the Donald in a vulnerable situation; now I want
to say that I like Donald Ramoutar for example we are both big guys over 200
pounds, so our backs really gave us problems in those uncomfortable chairs in
the parliament, one night at the 8 PM break I told him that I am going home
since my back was killing me, in the next sitting one week later Donald brought
photocopies of more than 20 pages from his yoga book to show me how to exercise
to get rid of my back pain.
But the perception of his candidature is that the old guard is back in the saddle
with all of the graft and corruption that goes along with it, he even extended
an invitation to Jagdeo to join his cabinet; given the present feeling about
Jagdeo and what he has done in this country making the PPP for the first time,
since it was formed, vulnerable in an election was a really bad move. And to
stand on the achievements of the PPP as a political platform is not a great
campaign tactic in view of my statistics from the BOG given above.
His statements about his not being responsible for the sad state of GuySuCo since
he was only a director is not compelling, since, as he says, the Board of
GuySuCo do not make day to day decisions; but the Skeldon expansion which is
the single biggest mistake in this country's history was a policy decision of
the Board and he must share in the blame for it, he must also share in the
blame of allowing Robert Persaud to make major administrative decisions given
that he has no experience to do so; the board should have seen disaster in that
situation, and let Tate manage the place unencumbered by an incompetent, but
arrogant, Agricultural Minister.
So here is the situation we now have three choices in this upcoming election
it's called Hobson's choice since we seem to be given a choice between the
devil, the deep blue sea and the AFC!
I have come to the conclusion that Guyana's only hope of progress, development,
healing and unity is in something new, made up of major but uncorrupted elements
of both the PNCR and the PPPC uniting us at last into one people!