The perception of the public is that Govt. is making itself accountable
February 7, 2004
MR. Lincoln Lewis in his letter in Kaieteur News of 5th February captioned, "Each government should account for its stewardship," in response to a Stabroek News editorial "Economic Genocide" of 3/3/04 again seeks to evade the reality and to pull the wool over the eyes of the public.
Lewis claims that he holds no brief for the PNC/R but this is the 'perceived reality' of the general public.
He tries to shift the goal posts by telling us that we should examine the Cheddi Jagan tenure prior to Burnham and Hoyte where "we will also find periods/instances where his stewardship was wanting and could have impacted negatively on the Burnham/Hoyte era."
Which gives me the opportunity to remind him and the public that Jagan held the Premiership from 1957 to 1964 with the British Government still in final control as the country was still a colony, while Burnham was in full control when the country became Independent in May 1966. The PNC continued to be in control when Hoyte joined him and then assumed the presidency on his (Burnham's) death in August of 1985.
Under Jagan there were free and fair elections, which the British were supervising, and strict accountability and transparency.
Burnham and the PNC were fond of stating that they restored peace in the country when they came in to office in 1964. But the fact of the matter is that they were the originators of the communal violence to destabilize the PPP government so as to get in to office. Once they took power, with the help of Britain and the United States, the violence ceased.
The same thing started to happen in 1992 when they lost office, when we saw a resurgence of violence in the country. One can bet one's bottom dollar that violence of any kind linked to supporters of the PNC will cease if they were to return to office
Hoyte was, and Lincoln Lewis and others are, fond of pointing to those investments which started to come into the country near the end of the PNC's tenure. The naked truth is that Guyana was becoming an attractive investment destination with the widely expected and impending departure of the authoritarian, dictatorial PNC regime and the return of the PPP to office and the reversing of authoritarianism and the return of democracy.
Remember that elections that were to be held in 1990 were postponed by Hoyte. They were held only after it was clear that another rigging would not be possible, since the international community was adamant about the Hoyte administration relinquishing its hold on the electoral system, and after the international community withheld the disbursement of financial and technical assistance to Guyana. Before he died, the Hoyte could boast being the only President of Guyana to serve a seven-year unbroken term of office!
Among the investments Lincoln Lewis did not mention was the sale of the Guyana Telecommunication Corporation (GTC). This corporation was sold hastily and without transparency or accountability to the public, for US$16.5 million, to meet a commitment to the IDB which they missed by one or two days but were not penalized for their default.
Every year since 1993, the Auditor-General's Reports have been laid in Parliament for all and sundry to scrutinize. This had ceased from 1982 to 1992, covering the entire tenure of Hoyte's presidency, 1985 to 1992. Lincoln also conveniently did not mention anything about a few other legacies of the PNC - an international debt of US$2.1billion, a deteriorated physical and socio-economic infrastructure and Guyana overtaking Haiti by being named the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere in the McIntyre Report.
While the point was made by Stabroek News that the necessary economic restructuring was driven by the poor state of the economy and badly-run state enterprises, and that this affected mostly the urban communities which are largely made up of Afro-Guyanese, statistics compiled by international institutions showed that under the PPP/Civic administration over the last decade poverty was reduced in the country but mostly in the same urban areas that are made up largely of Afro-Guyanese.
John Da Silva