King was not the first approached
Guyana Chronicle
January 14, 2002

I WOULD like to offer a few comments on the letter by Emile Mervin in Chronicle, January 9, 2002 issue headed "passion may be the key ingredients." [ please note: link provided by LOSP web site ]

Nearly all Guyanese, I think, welcome the appointment of Dr. Kenneth King as Guyana's Ambassador to Brussels.

It is irrelevant if he was once aligned with the PNC. What matters most are his outstanding qualifications for such a post and his dedication and patriotism to the welfare of his fellow citizens and the development of his country.

He is not the first non-PPP/Civic person who was approached for important government positions.

Several individuals who were approached for high government offices expressed reservations because of the high level of hostility engendered against the PPP/Civic administration by the PNC. They did not want to become the targets of street-mobs or irresponsible talk-show hosts or letter-writers and this was indeed understandable. The PPP under the late Dr. Cheddi Jagan, his wife Janet and other colleagues was always a party, which sought to promote unity and social cohesion, and after it returned to office in 1992, with its Civic partner, made it clear that it had no intentions of indulging in recriminations or witch-hunting.

It was a party that was always committed to private sector development and the development of individual enterprise from the 1950's.

It was responsible for the building and development of Industrial Estates and for having tax regimes that encouraged production and small industries such as Cottage Industries.

Since 1992, when the PPP/Civic came into office after free and fair elections, the first since 1968, it made its position clear in relation to the private sector which was miniaturised under the PNC administration which caused many small and medium-size businesses to close and the owners and their families to emigrate because of the hostility of the administration.

Under this present administration the private sector has been coming back into its own with tax incentives and other concessions but this could not happen overnight.

There can be no successful contradiction that in addition to exogenous factors such as falling prices for our export commodities, the El Nino/La Nina weather phenomena that the slow fire/more fire mantra of the PNC with concomitant street protests and violence did little to encourage business activities for foreign and local investments. It also resulted in the burning down of several businesses with the resultant loss of hundreds of much-needed jobs.

Mervin asks if there is a lethargic spirit blanketing the administration and goes on to suggest that to shake off such lethargy in government, a determination has to be made as to the root cause.

However, such an exercise is not called for as nobody can successfully justify such a charge against the PPP/Civic government.

What I would like Mervin to tell me is what the PNC did during their extended seven-year term of office, from 1985 to 1992.

I can remember what they did. How many schools, health clinics, hospitals were built or renovated. How many roads were built or restored, how many pipes and water systems were laid or built? How many people were employed? Was electricity supply improved?

Most people can remember of this time is that the Finance Minister went into Parliament each year with his brief case and introduced "scud missile" Budgets which eventually resulted in Guyana over taking Haiti to become the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

John DaSilva