First, let’s understand that the unemployment of the ninety two doctors who were trained in Cuba could never be the fault of the current government, as the news papers that lean in favor of the Opposition, claim.
The simple, uncomplicated, reason would be because this government is just five months old. But in politics nothing is elementary and people look to the government for answers to situations that propaganda by mandate, distorts and disfigures.
The obligation of State Media, Guyana Chronicle, should be to reconstruct what the propaganda defaces. In this case it would be the mechanics of planning in the context of our economy which would not only be a teaching, informative, moment, but would derail what the PPP’s propaganda train.
So, let’s do some historic recall of politics to, not only make this simple but to shine light on some political facts that the pro Opposition news organs are deliberately blotting out.
When Cheddi Jagan won elections in 1957, two years before Fidel became President, he was an overt sympathizer with Cuba which was in the throes of its anti Batista revolution.This didn’t only disconcert neighboring Brazil and Venezuela, which were already in frontier and territorial dispute with Guyana but alarmed the US and England to the extent that there was interference into national politics to, shall we say, ease Cheddi out of the leadership chair. Forbes Burnham then became Prime Minister and subsequently President and then became politically aligned with Cuba. Cuba had established itself as a resource provider for training, in many areas.The Burnham government then established a scholarship program for all of the disciplines needed to meet Guyana’s needs, with the Cuban government; some of which were Doctor of Medicine and an assortment of Engineering skills. This happened around 1972, when the Guyana government established diplomatic relations with Cuba.
This has been particularly underscored here because the establishment of the training scholarship agreement with Cuba was not the work of the PPP, especially Bharaat Jagdeo, who was, according to their data born in 1964 and would have been twelve years old at the time of this historic establishment.
It was the work of the PNC, under leader Forbes Burnham and I say this not as a partisan but as a person interested in accurate political recall; especially in the face of cheap, flimsy spin that goes unanswered by the government’s media machine.
Now, when whole governments make the decision to train teams of doctors on regular rotation, it is, generally, because there has been some social forecasting that is tied in to Economic Planning. This would mean that doctors will be trained to accommodate elements of society that are in constant metamorphosis. The number of candidates for training would be selected on the basis of population growth, disease containment, research program needs, preventative care and generally, along the spectrum of anticipation in accordance with the principles of Economic Planning.
So, it follows that, an increase in doctors should match the projected increase in population and the exigencies in medical occurrences, like Ebola. It follows, too, that an increase in population and an upsurge in diseases would prompt governments to increase hospital availability and all of its related parts like equipment, ambulances, staff, to ensure the provision of optimum care.
And with all this, comes the need for efficient administration – timely translation of certificates of returning interns which are written in Spanish, swift dispatch of the returning interns to their training locations and yes, money, a salary that will keep them engaged.
Another bit of pertinent history to note here is that after Cheddi Jagan became President, he made no effort to befriend Cuba. It maybe that he had learned his lesson after the orchestration of his ouster from government by the US and England.
Whatever the reason, Cheddi Jagan made no visits to his old friend Fidel nor did he post an ambassador to Cuba. It was only after his death, after Janet Jagan was awarded the Presidency, diplomatic relations were restored and she appointed Rita Ramlall in the capacity of Charge D’Affaires to Cuba.
The two preceding paragraphs are important for two reasons.
The first reason is that it shows, with evidence, that the Medical Scholarship Program was the initiative of President Forbes Burnham under the political party PNC, unequivocally.
The state organ, Guyana Chronicle, has failed to uphold this.
The second reason is that it shows that the PPP and Bharaat Jagdeo continued to send scholarship recipients to Cuba for eighteen years without upgrading the framework to absorb them in to the economy; especially after Jagdeo’s triumphant trip to Cuba to secure five hundred Scholarships per batch which was heralded with much pomp and ceremony but with no concurrent expansion in industry to absorb graduates.
The State Organ, Guyana Chronicle, failed to highlight this as defense to other media claims that the government was responsible for the state of employment of the new graduates being in limbo.
What the PPP did was politicize the awarding of scholarships at the expense of our national economy and even more indefensible, even more repugnant, at the social expense of returning graduates who are left swimming in a pool of uncertainty because of poor government planning, which starts with improving the efficiency with which the Medical Council of Guyana processes these new graduates.
When Bharaat Jagdeo’s quixotic jaunt to Cuba netted him five hundred scholarships per year to Guyanese, it was a political play to position him and his party as the team that had the interest of the country at heart. What Bharaat hadn’t calculated – as the skilled economics graduate from Moscow U – was that he was growing health practitioners and all of the other graduating disciplines without concurrent expansion of facilities or modernization of equipment. What he has preempted, in fact, is a climate for these qualified graduates, doctors, engineers and everything in between, to seek employment elsewhere which would create a drain on the resources that are needed.
The purpose of State media is to inform the state; be the first to do so and when they miss that opportunity they have an obligation to ensure that their information, though late, is commanding and robust enough to relegate every other, to slots below theirs.
Having headlines that claim joblessness and an article that selects the Minister of Presidency’s recognition of the program as an inheritance from the PPP, without hastening to construe those suggestions with necessary accuracy, is allowing the detractors to frame the image of the government; to present the government as limp and dependent on systems inherited from their predecessor.
And this is not promotion of central planning or an advocacy for government talking points. This is not an argument for organized media trolling or anything remotely related, at all.
By definition, State media is expected to report on State activity and its achievements; highlighting its positives and offering a commonsense explanation on anything that is not.
Minister of Information Moses Nagamoottoo has recently signaled that National Communications Network, NCN, “needs new energy- new direction”.
Hopefully, he reads a Chronicle before he starts the process.