Score ten points, opposition Frankly Speaking...
By A.A Fenty
Stabroek News
September 19, 2003

Related Links: Articles on governance
Letters Menu Archival Menu

Not as close to the (consequences of the al-leged) action - or inaction - as I ought to be, I caught the draft report on the “technology.” I mean the bit about the World Bank indicting the PPP/Civic Guyana Government for a real or perceived “crisis of governance.”

The Stabroek report is predictably (?) complete, fulsome. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)’s views are carried in sentence and substance. Many months ago my layman’s comrade-in- the-street reaction would have been fully sympathetic to the Civic. But whilst I feel that the World Bank’s views are somewhat unfair, I think that the government, in this specific instance, has been out-manoeuvred by the opposition propaganda capabilities. Especially the PNCR onslaught.

As a matter of fact, the critique I first thought, could have been issued by the Cases, Carberrys, Ellises or Alexanders - advised closely by Consultant Dr Clive. Great stuff opposition, influencing an important international institution.

For I’m feeling that the Bank’s assessments and conclusions are not based only on its own findings but on the relentless submissions by opposition and opposition-friendly sources.

The government’s front-line fellows must be recalling, knowingly, Mr Burnham’s feisty nickname for the International Monetary Fund - the IMF. Did the opposition provide the Bank with lots of hard, verifiable evidence, case-studies? Obviously, the Bank does not stand alone in its published views on the government’s performance. But how fair has it been?

Reportedly, its draft report “sought to provide an up-to-date, integrated assessment of Guyana’s development policy agenda, with main focus on Government, growth and poverty alleviation.” It uses the opportunity to lambast the government’s handling and management of the country’s political economy, tracing every failing to the “crisis of governance,” outlining all of the administration’s inabilities and certain other popular perceptions and some realities.

I understand that the charges and counter-changes are flying thick and fast, at home and elsewhere. Hardly necessary for me to attempt to enter the more technical or professional debate.

Rather, I can’t resist making two general comments on the matter. One has to do with the opposition technique which entails writing international institutions like the Bank. I once remarked on a section of the PNCR calling on those institutions to stop assistance to the Guyanese people through the state. Well, the World Bank has offered its own comments on charges of “bank-rolling” and how accountability for the use of donor assistance should be monitored.

The opposition’s ten points could now include joint management of international funding (?) What a novelty in national economic management!

But let the aid continue opposition. Your people are involved too. Remember who suffers most in these crises. Note what the Bank says about the funding for poverty reduction - whose poverty? You may use the Bank’s sanctions as political leverage and endorsement but consider what are the consequences of suspension vis-a-vis accountability.

And be honest with yourself. If that’s politically possible. What did you, the opposition, do differently? What would you do now if in government? What happened under your watch? Which brings me to point two - and the ‘Civic.’


I can’t catch all of the government’s reactions to the report. However, I expect that a Government-Freedom House think tank would have fashioned structural responses by now.

Couldn’t the President and Prime Minister and, say, Comrades Rudy, Odeen, Clement, Moses, Gail (and Kit) come up with masterly and masterful responses to this damaging report? Backgrounding their responses with the state of poverty under previous administrations as declared by people like Sir Allister McIntyre, then they could point to current positive endorsements by the IMF other IFIs and the bank itself. Go to it Civic!

But, oh boy. Having once associated with the old PNC and its new leader, I still marvel at the propaganda coups my erstwhile comrades still pull off. I mean the innocent and uninitiated are bound to believe that racism, discrimination, corruption, electoral rigging, crime and poor governance began and end with the PPP/C! Score a perfect ten today, opposition.


I’ve come across issues of a much different kind (to the use of donor funds) recently. Out of New York, USA, news has come about a judicial ruling which now allows survivors of victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, to sue agencies like the airlines whose planes were hijacked, and even the MTA - the New York public transportation agency. How these agencies are liable boggles some minds.

Then a law suit against McDonald’s was just thrown out. Consumers were accusing the fast-food giant of causing their obesity by not warning them about certain nutrients in their age-old popular meals. The fast-food companies were sure that they would be made the new victims in much the same manner that cigarette manufacturers were made to pay billions for causing ailments among “unsuspecting” smokers.

And a New York City councillor was shot dead right in his council a few weeks ago. Naturally (?) his mother has just sued the city for its lax security. She is asking for one million bucks. Talk about accountability.


(1) Is the PPP/C government paying for its being too “soft” or scared? Its indifference? Incompetence?

(2) Berbice chairs are available in New York, New Jersey and I suppose, anywhere they’re needed.

(3) Just saw a piece on the passing of Edward Teller, the Hungarian scientist who gave America the atomic and hydrogen bombs, especially when the Soviets threatened in 1949. There was the Manhattan Project with Oppenheimer to give America its eventual nuclear power.

Raises the “beautiful” debate about weapons for peace - or for war or defence.

(4) I like a General Wesley Clarke (Dem) to challenge (my favourite) President GW Bush.

(5) How is Mr Hardy, the leader of the GAP, which party nullified the UF and rescued the WPA?

(6) Thanks to Universal Airlines for offering the cook-up show that trip to Ghana. Laziness made the popular show miss out ...

(7) In one literary sense - without my being “foreign-minded” - Guyana has arrived! Robert Ludlum, in his Prometheus Deception mentions “Chris Edgecomb, a lithe tall man with mocha skin and green eyes, born in Guyana...”

‘Til next week!

Site Meter