Poverty has been reduced To the Editor
Guyana Chronicle
November 1, 2001

EVERY citizen should be free to exercise his or her opinion on any topic, providing that these are within the confines of responsibility. But when a letter writer by the name of Linsday Davidson writes a letter entitled “Examples should have been included” [ please note: link provided by LOSP web site ] (Guyana Chronicle October 30, 2001), it leaves one to wonder exactly how much background and information are sufficient when making an editorial comment. The facts you gave are indisputable and need explanations only to the uninitiated. Mr. Davidson wants you to spoon-feed him with information to support your editorial opinion of Sunday, October 28, 2001. From his prose, I can only deduce that he has a high IQ but his knowledge of local affairs is struggling to catch up. I am sure that when you were penning your editorial you never envisioned that there were readers whose understanding of the local economy was so rudimentary. It is a good thing that ignorance of issue is not contagious.

I will advise Mr. Davidson to examine the economic growth rate of all the countries of Caricom over the last eight years and he will see that on average, Guyana has been one of the fastest growing economies in the Region.

For his edification, he should be advised that there is nothing contradictory about Guyana receiving benefits under HIPIC and at the same time reducing its debt servicing/revenue ratios. In fact, it is normal for there to be such a link, in the same way as it is expected that any reasonable person should understand this. Debt relief under HIPIC involves savings in debt servicing to the tune of US$25M per annum. The overall consolidated effect of all the debt forgiveness operations means that Guyana’s ratio of debt servicing to revenue ratio will be further reduced once enhanced HIPIC terms begin to flow. A precondition for the latter is the approval of the PRSP for which consultations have just concluded. The INTERIM PRSP has already been sanctioned. The matter has to be taken to the Boards of the IMF and World Bank for approval. I hope that I do not have to remind Mr. Davidson that the annual meetings of the two institutions were postponed because of the September 11, 2001 attack in the United States, so there may be some delays due to unfinished business.

Yes, poverty has been reduced to below what the Chronicle Editor says it is. His figures were no doubt gleaned from the 1999 Income and Expenditure Survey but those numbers do not take into account the huge increases gained by public servants in that year and 2000. Therefore, that 35 per cent may be six percentage points less today. What Mr. Davidson does not realise is that comparatively speaking, poverty has been reduced; but this does not mean that this is satisfactory. In order to obscure the progress made, he skillfully asks what is the benchmark, hoping to throw the readership off on a tangential argument about the adequacy of the benchmark.

As regards investment, I urge Mr. Davidson to read the Annual World Investment Report for the date he seeks in relation to investment. I urge him to take some time to study the profile of foreign direct investment. He will note that the bulk of these investments are speculative flows and transnational mergers. All things taken into consideration, Guyana did not do too badly considering the fact that it did not have any transnational mergers.

I think that Davidson’s letter falls with a particular genre. While I respect his right to pursue his misguided agenda, the realities of the world today should awaken him to the fact that we have to stop being our own worst enemies. No one is asking him to like the government. I can assure him that there are many persons out there who are still traumatised because the party they voted for lost the election. However, beating Guyana into the ground will not do us any good. Look up to the skies, thank God for his blessings, and let us move on. Make your criticisms and make it stridently, but please do not allow the country to suffer. We have much to be thankful for.
Paul Newman