GUYANA LAST CHANCE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

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“Most of the growth that took place was based on old investments, investment brought in by the PPP” … was what forced us to look into his statement…that and the fact that there is supporting documentation, in addition to plain old sentiment, that Jagdeo was the worst thing that ever happened to Guyana.

Because he, Jagdeo, emphasized the investment brought in by the PPP ,“ it’s imperative to put it all in to perspective…because when he explains, the racialization of the politics degenerates into the imbecilic finger pointing to deflect egregious loss and indefensible mismanagement.

We will stipulate that “brought in by the PPP” was expressly devoid of a sense of national effort but the statement in its entirety is the kind of flagrant falsehood that goes unchallenged and as a consequence makes its way into the history of political contribution.

Scheming politicians may be mesmerizing but politics is more than the Government and its Opposition and it’s dispiriting to hear people dismiss the execution of their politics with a shrug of disinterest and an expression of disengagement.

By now you’d think that they’d know their role in the theater of Guyana’s politics. They are more than just plebians watching these patricians make promises then break them with calculated disregard, knowing that accountability is not the forte of the people watching.

By now, too, you’d think they’d know the results of their civic inaction.

History damns the architects of deception as equally as it damns those who submit.

And this is no fancy political poetic justice.

It’s just a matter of practicality, as evidenced by the standard of living of those not associated or affiliated with the ruling class.

So, when Jagdeo makes these brazen statements that may be preserved as a record of truth because they’re never confronted on the record and remain unchallenged, we, as Guyanese with undying patriotic interest, resolve to set the record straight and more so now, in the age of Oil, remembering that he and his Party have the reputation of siphoning patrimony through a maze of pipelines that have kept Guyanese, of non-ruling class, at subsistence level.

We understand that his daily flare-ups come with the territory he owns as Opposition leader but will not pretend that we don’t know his reference to the Guyanese people” is an illusory collective pronoun poorly disguised as some unity. All the stuff he spouts to his dozens of outlets and proactive communications team – and we say this with envious lament because of the stark absence from others – has very little to do with making Guyana a better place.

It is not about the discharge of power but the acquisition of it.

And that’s where we’ll begin the examination of claims a la Bharat with the diligence of the substance that we employ over here.

The Statement that caught our eye reads in its entirety as follows:

“While you are talking about growth rates, it should come with increased jobs, we are losing jobs,” he said, adding that a comparison of the productive sectors’ performance in 2014 and 2018 would show clearly that many of the major sectors are down. The Opposition Leader said, “Where are the taxes coming from? It is from VAT on water, on electricity…. look at the growth trajectory. Most of the growth that took place was based on old investments, investment brought in by the PPP…the APNU has no new investments.”

We’ll jump right in and look at the growth trajectory he dared us to visit… and do so from 1992 when Cheddi Jagan took Office but noting that before 1964, the PPP’s Cheddi Jagan was Chief Minister from 1953, then premier from 1961-1964.

It’s compulsory to see it this way since the defenders tend to point back to the PNC tenure without looking further back to the Party that the PNC took over from…PPP, 1953 –  British Guiana’s first political leadership of nonresident Colonials.

From the time Cheddi took office as President in 1992 through the Administration of Janet’s alleged election in 1997 (the illegality of which is etched in the annals  of the country’s High Court) to when she hoisted Jagdeo into the feeding chair of leadership in 1999  Guyana’s unemployment rate spasmed from 11.9 to 11.88 peaking at 13.33 in 1998.

Bharat’s tenure 1999-2011 saw unemployment stumble from 11.88 to 10.78 peaking at 12.44 in 2005

For context, the unemployment rate is the number of people available to work in the workforce, who are actively looking but for whom no work is available – and we say this because in Bharat bemoans the loss of jobs during the 48 months of a comparatively new Administration that has spent less than 25% of the time his 23 year old Administration spent mucking up the country; as if ‘job loss’ were a phenomenon unheard of during his Party’s rein and particularly during his oversight.

In all fairness though, these figures, however condemnatory, should be considered in the revolutions of the economic activity at the time.

And though we don’t profess to be professionals of the workings of an economy, we understand the universal equation of Gross Domestic Product, GDP and its role as the health barometer of an economy.

GDP is essentially the sum of the market values, or prices, of all final goods and services produced in an economy during a specific period of time. It is calculated by taking Consumption expenditure adding it to business investment plus government spending then adding that to exports minus imports and is calculated as  private consumption + gross investment + government investment + government spending + (exports – imports) Formula looks like this C + I + G + (X – M) and can be calculated along a very wide economic spectrum, given its components.

So there are a couple of things we will examine and comparatively.

Between 1992 and 1999, spending remained on an upward trajectory peaking at 18.98 % when Jagdeo took over. After that, it soared to 28.05% in 2003 when unemployment was at one of its lower numbers 12.16 which means more people were working then but public spending was up.

Why we mention this?

Because public spending is supposed to grow jobs and what does the record show for 2003? …the lower end of a slump…56% of employable people in the work place, down every year since PPP took over in 1992 except for a .15 uptick in 1993 then every year, thereafter, was a decline in job availability as spending sky rocketed.

With a loose curiosity – because we’re amateurs here – about how this wild spending was meshing with relatively high unemployment, we took a layman’s glance at Guyana’s inflation chart during Jagdeo’s tenure, just to see if his words matched his deeds back then… you know, high unemployment, high government spending, would have necessitated some constructive government intervention…both prudential and philosophical… with Bank of Guyana suggesting some monetary policy – the Bank’s  proper business and Jagdeo instituting some fiscal policy, which is inherently political.

Could be that he wasn’t as astute then as he was when performing one of his self-massaging interviews for his friendly media outlets but inflation (getting less for more money) continued unabated with per capita (per person) spending on human necessities at a dismal low.

In a country where amputations because of diabetes are exponential, mental health considered an epidemic, maternal mortality rate of up to 239 deaths per 1000 women dying during and after childbirth are recorded, topping the list as the country with the highest rates of suicide during his tenure, it was jarring to note that Jagdeo spent a whopping USD 41.45 per person in 2000 rising to USD 169.03 in 2011, adjusted only because of inflation.

Why are we citing these facts?

To counter the degraded ethno nationalist politics that remains Jagdeo’s weapon of choice.

And did he say something about the major sectors that are down in this Administration of 48 months?

Let’s be reminded that Sugar took its last breath over the course of PPP 23 years without any meaningful post -industry planning for displaced workers…

…and was on life support for Jagdeo’s eleven years at the helm losing 50% GDP value moving from 35.01% in 1999 to 18.76% in 2011.

A snap shot of the other sectors as main indicators shows the feebleness in the economy under this agitator whose leadership is really a misnomer.

And do not celebrate the spattering of economic growth that occurred during his 1999 to 2011 stay in office without looking at the negative growth of 200, 2003 and 2005 and the sudden upturn of numbers from 2006 through 2011 the lower recording in 2008.

By then, Guyana was such a thriving narco state, trafficking in guns and humans, that it became the ward of he anti-money laundering watch dog Financial Action Task Force and its Caribbean counterpart, CFATF which gave it clean- up deadlines to remain a part of civil society. Government was forced to enact Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Act of 2009, Interception of Communications Act of 2008, Criminal Law Procedure Act (revised in 1998), and Narcotic Drug and Psychotropic Substances (Control) Act of 1988 under directive of the United States to regulate the flow of guns and drugs and terrorists.

And with all that came a thriving shadow economy boasting rates as high as 36% of GDP under Jagdeo’s watch. There was Education spending recorded as part of GDP but we recall the regional shame of 85% nurse examinees failing their exams and the scandal of tax dollars paying for illegally copied text books and sold to students for profit .

“You have to understand that there is no clear-cut text book policy in Guyana Education Minister Shaik Baksh – exposed only when Ramotar was President which puts Jagdeo squarely in the midst of the fraud. The minuscule fraction of GDP spending is reflected in the tottered school houses, inherited from the 1960’s with classrooms packed beyond fire warning capacity.

And lest we forget to mention it, concurrent with the shadow economy was the establishment of the Pradovilles during Jagdeo’s seat in office , lands bought at 2000% below market value by he and the unscrupulous, where utilities were enjoyed gratuitously on the backs of people who live at poverty level…just about the time the country began its starring role on Corruption and Transparency indices.

Now, Jagdeo who said he is not a “cut and paste economist” – one ist we would not have called him – did make a swipe at Value Added Tax on water and electricity which is unconscionable even if cut from 16% to 14% .

And his statement did force us to look at the tax base he oversaw and wondered what were the 35 taxes that comprised the tax base and why rates during his time were as high as 39% in 2005, if as he now pontificates “ I don’t manage for ratios. Behind numbers are people….” with all the conviction of a charlatan.

What’s obvious is, we’re in the age of oil. Politics has become center stage for every polemicist.

Even the has-beens like Memorandum of Understanding Scoundrel Henry Jeffery and Ralph Ramkarran ,both diligent doers of PPP deeds that sank Guyana to socio economic depths, are auditioning, albeit ,under a different assembly of letters as if that were a disguise

Every day comes with fresh tidings of how bad the Coalition will be and Bharat, with a veritable track record of uninterrupted failure, pledges to deliver the country into the Promised Land of Pradovilles with a geographically defined racial divide and oil coming through the stand pipes of communities that will not say his name in vain.

The blessing in disguise is that, the treachery to poach the reprobate MP who flagrantly flouted the rules of Parliament and callously disregarded the sentiment of his constituents brought opportunity for the electorate to select from a variety of candidates – and not just the traditional behemoths with their either /or variety and vaulting campaign promises that over leap themselves and fall on the other side.

But he is not to be taken lightly, this Bharat, even if his natural concerted malevolence is repeatedly outdone by his gift of incompetence. His more functional strength is lying which- though without mastery – he does with ease and predictability. And that’s all he needs to lead the hundreds of thousands who follow him with doting devotion.

Truth lies in the eyes of the beholder. And he is beheld by many.

For Guyanese to make a difference now, they’ll have to vote tactically. The either/ or mentality has to go.

The political menu is now a buffet and there are choices outside of the traditional two-course meal.

Good thing is, there’s a cheat sheet and that’s the recent departure of the Jagdeo- overlorded PPP with a map to its historic disservice all the way back to 1992.

The tactic would be the strategic selection from amongst the others.
The objective should be to ensure that every party that runs gets seats in Parliament so that Government would reflect less tribalism, with wider representation which would lead to it being held to real and not symbolic accountability.

This is the age of oil and voters have run out of elections to waste.


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